Wetherby and Wolverhampton previews: Jim has a Big chance
David Metcalf | February 23, 2016
Big Jim tough to beat at Wetherby
Big Jim scored in terrific style last time out and can make light of a rise in the weights to follow-up in the 2m handicap chase on today’s card at Wetherby (15.50).
The Alex Hales trained gelding was a bumper winner who has shown progressive form in three outings over fences this season.
After finishing in the frame in two runs at Uttoxeter, Big Jim got off the mark over the larger obstacles with an emphatic win at Warwick.
The seven-year-old jumped well and made virtually all to forge clear and beat Morning Reggie by eight lengths off a mark of 111.
It was a most taking performance, and one which suggested Big Jim needed keeping firmly onside.
Although 9lb higher in the weights, the son of Revoque is clearly on an upward curve and should have plenty of improvement left in the locker after just three starts over fences.
Granted a clear round, Big Jim is going to be very hard to beat.
Vegas value on handicap debut
In the 2m hurdle that opens proceedings (14.10), Leaving Las Vegas is a fascinating contender on handicap debut and can go well at a big price.
The gelding shaped with plenty of promise when finishing fourth on two occasions in Irish bumpers when trained by Sandra Hughes, and has shaped better than the bare result in three quiet runs in class 4 novice hurdle contests since joining Bill Kinsey.
Leaving Las Vegas particularly caught the eye last time out at Uttoxeter when travelling strongly in mid-division until weakening two from home to finish a 37 length fourth to Will O’the West.
The five-year-old was never put into the race at any stage and given a very tender ride, and it was an effort which suggested Leaving Las Vegas was being brought along with handicaps firmly in mind.
Leaving Las Vegas looks a potential improver now going down that route, and an opening mark of 100 looks exploitable now that he drops down into class 5 company.
14.10: Leaving Las Vegas (NB)
15.20: Born Survivor
15.50: Big Jim (NAP)
16.25: Zephyros Bleu
17.00: Oscar’s Prospect
Dragon ready to roar at Wolverhampton
Eastern Dragon can take advantage of a drop in the weights to score an overdue success in the 7f handicap that opens proceedings on today’s card at Wolverhampton (13.50).
The gelding is on a long losing run, having not scored since landing a class 5 contest at Brighton back in October 2014 off a mark of 73 when trained by Michael Scudamore.
Since then the six-year-old has had spells with two different trainers, and Eastern Dragon now makes his debut for Seamus Durack off a mark of just 54 in what is not the strongest of class 6 contests.
That is a a career-low, and a massive 19lb lower than when last victorious.
It gives Eastern Dragon outstanding claims from a handicapping perspective on the pick of his form if the change of yard has sweetened him up.
Eastern Dragon is also at his best when coming off a strong pace, and with the likes of the trailblazing Cadeaux Pearl and Smalljohn in the line-up the son of Elnadim looks sure to get the race run to suit.
Basingstoke poised to go one better
Basingstoke has run well to finish runner-up on his last two starts and looks decent value to gain a deserved success in the 7f handicap (14.20).
The seven-year-old kept on well to be beaten four lengths by Stun Gun at Southwell on his final start for Simon Hodgson, and shaped with plenty of encouragement for new handler Mark Loughnane when chasing home Eium Mac at the same venue 13 days ago.
Although now 2lb higher in the weights, Basingstoke remains well-treated as his revised rating of 54 is still 8lb lower than when last successful.
Connections are also now fitting the son of Elusive City with the blinkers for the first time, and if the headgear has the desired effect Basingstoke looks weighted to run a huge race for a yard that remains in good form.
13.50: Eastern Dragon (NAP)
14.20: Basingstoke (NB)
15.30: Dove Mountain
16.00: Archie Stevens
16.35: Dark Side Princess
17.40: Big Shoes