Plumpton Preview: Virtuel can strike on handicap debut
Trainer David Pipe has his team in good form and Virtuel D’oudon can take advantage of what looks a lenient opening handicap mark to provide him with another winner in the 4.30 at Plumpton today.
The lightly-raced gelding has won on three of his four starts for the Pond House handler, kicking off with an easy success in a bumper at this venue.
Virtuel D’oudon then showed a good attitude on hurdling debut when beating Ballyheigue Bob by 3/4 of a length at Fontwell, and after being beaten just a head at Exeter got back to winning ways when only having to be driven out to land a 3m contest at Ffos Las.
The five-year-old has been alloted a mark of 127 on the back of those successes, but has given the distinct impression that he has plenty more to offer and is potentially far better than it.
The manner of Virtuel D’oudon’s successes have also suggested that the step up to 3m 1f should suit, and connections are now fitting the son of Network with cheekpieces for the first time.
That looks a shrewd move given that he Virtuel D’oudon has shown a tendency to idle when hitting the front, and although he has not been seen in action for 160 days the yard is going well and knows how to ready one to win first time-up after a break.
In the 2m hurdle (3.30), Kingscombe is an interesting contender on handicap debut and can go well at a big price.
The Linda Jewell trained gelding has shown little so far three runs over the obstacles, but is a six-time winner on the level who has been in good heart this year and could be potentially well-treated now going down the handicap route.
The five-year-old lanced a four-timer at Southwell between February an April, winning the first off a mark of 55 and constantly defying the assessor to score in the last off 70.
Kingscombe then got beat well beat when switched back to the turf in a class 4 contest at Newbury, and was susequently given a break to freshen up.
The son of Mizzen Mast then returned to the track last month, and has shaped as if needing the outings in flat contests at Kempton and Wolverhampton.
Those runs should have put Kingscombe spot on, and it’s interesting that connections are now switching his attentions back to hurdles.
If Kingscombe can translate the improvement in form he showed on the level earlier in the year to the obstacles, then his opening mark of 79 looks exploitable and a much improved showing could be on the cards.
*As today oficially marks the start of the UK Jumps season, Coral have bought back last year’s popular Faller’s Offer which saw customers benefit from a refund on 870 fallers.
If you place a bet on any UK jumps race and your horse falls, unseats or is brought down, Coral will refund the Win part of Win & Each Way Singles as a free bet up to £/€25.
Free bets will be credited by 12pm the day after the race.
2.30: Twelve Strings
3.00: The Omen
3.30: Kingscombe (NB)
4.00: Fergal Mael Duin
4.30: Virtuel D’oudon (NAP)
5.00: Catcher Star
5.30: Farasi Kubwa