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Taunton Preview: Dell’ Arca primed to deliver

Dell’ Arca can make his class tell to defy top weight and return to winning ways in the 2m 1f handicap hurdle at Taunton today (3.45).

The gelding was purchased for 280,000 euro after showing fair very smart form over hurdles in France and created a big impression when winning the 2013 running of the 18-runner Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham on his first start for trainer David Pipe.

The six-year-old has failed to get his head in front since, but has run some cracking races in top class contests.

They include a 1 3/4 length second of 20 to Splash Of Ginge in a class 1 handicap at Newbury, and a fine fifth of 28 to Whisper in the Coral Cup at the Cheltenham Festival.

Dell’ Arca also ran very well to be beaten just two lengths into third behind Lac Fontana in a Grade 1 contest at Aintree on his final start of last season before having his attention switched to chasing at the start of this campaign.

The son of Sholokhov posted a solid effort on his second start at Newbury when a 1 1/2 length runner-up to Coneygree, but didn’t look a natural over the larger obstacles and connections have since decided to revert back to hurdling.

Dell’ Arca failed to trouble the judge when highly tried in contests at Ascot and Kempton, but showed that his time was near when going down by just 1/2 a length last time out at Cheltenham to a thriving sort in Light Entertainment.

Although now 3lb higher in the weights, Dell’ Arca’s current mark of 145 should be exploitable judged on his run in last year’s Coral Cup (off 141), and this looks a good opportunity for him to get back on the winning trail.

In the 2m 3f handicap hurdle (4.15), Ask A Bank is a fascinating contender now stepped up in trip.

The David Dennis trained gelding has been well beaten in three starts over hurdles, but hinted that there could be better to come last time out at Doncaster when sixth of 15 to Days Of Heaven over 2m 1f.
The five-year-old, who was sent off 100/1, made good late headway under tender handling to be beaten 37 lengths by a very useful sort and the runner-up has come out and won since to give the form a boost.
Judged on that effort, Ask A Bank could well have more to offer now tackling handicaps for the first time and this afternoon’s extra two furlongs looks sure to suit.

Selections:
2.10: Young Cheddar
2.40: Avispa
3.10: Lac Sacre
3.45: Dell’ Arca (NAP)
4.15: Ask A Bank (NB)
4.45: No Loose Change
5.20: Basilic D’alene