Towcester Preview: Knight Bachelor can rise to the occasion
Knight Bachelor posted an improved effort when runner-up last time out and looks a worthy favourite to go one better and land the spoils in the 2m 4f handicap hurdle at Towcester today (15.40).
The Warren Greatrex trained gelding made a winning debut in a bumper at Market Rasen last May, and shaped as if badly needing the experience when well beaten in his first two starts over hurdles.
Knight Bachelor then posted an improved effort to finish an eye-catching fifth of 10 to Definitely Red at Catterick, staying on without being unduly knocked about to be nearest at the finish.
The five-year-old was allotted an opening handicap mark of 105 on the back of that effort and heavily punted into 6/4 favourite to land a 2m 4f contest at Wincanton.
Although Knight Bachelor could finish only second, beaten seven lengths, the son of Midnight Legend posted a career best performance and shaped as if ahead of his mark.
That was also Knight Bachelor’s first run for 80 days, and he tired late on and made a mistake at the last to suggest that it may have been needed.
Even though Knight Bachelor has been raised 3lb for that effort, he remains unexposed and open to bags more improvement and is clearly going the right way.
His handler also boasts a healthy strike rate of just under 21% at the track in the past seven years, and with Gavin Sheehan in the saddle Knight Bachelor looks to have plenty going for him.
In the 2m handicap hurdle that closes proceedings (17.10), Diamond Gesture can take advantage of a drop in the weights to belatedly open her account.
The Fergal O’Brien trained mare is yet to win in 15 starts over the obstacles, but has run some solid races to make the frame.
They include when third of 13 to Trend Is My Friend in a class 4 contest at Perth last July off 92, where the seven-year-old stayed on strongly to be beaten 1 3/4 lengths.
Diamond Gesture got put up 6lb for that effort to 98, and has subsequently failed to five starts.
However, the daughter of Presenting is now able to race in this lower grade class 5 affair off a career-low rating just 89 as a result.
It gives Diamond Gesture every chance at the weights on the pick of her form, and the seven-year-old shaped as if coming to hand last time out on her second run back from a lay-off when fifth of 17 at Perth.
14.10: Horsted Valley
14.40: Little Mix
15.10: Thom Thumb
15.40: Knight Bachelor (NAP)
16.40: Vieux Lion Rouge
17.10: Diamond Gesture (NB)