Taunton Preview: Double chance for Nicholls
Champion trainer Paul Nicholls has a tremendous strike rate with his runners at Taunton and can further enhance it with a double on today’s card courtesy of Howlongisafoot and Tara Point.
The Ditcheat handler has been successful with 36% of his raiders at the track in the past 12 months (12 winners and 14 placed from 33 runners) for a £1 level stake profit of £7.35.
In Howlongisafoot he has a lightly-raced sort who ran a blinder when runner-up on debut over the larger obstacles and looks to have been found a golden opportunity to go one better in the 3m handicap chase (3.30).
The five-year-old battled on gamely to go down by 1 1/4 lengths to Generous Ransom over 2m 5f at Sandown earlier in the month after making a bad mistake two from home.
Howlongisafoot shaped as if ahead of his mark of 125 and looks sure to appreciate the step up in trip this afternoon judged on that effort.
With Sam Twiston-Davies in the saddle, the son of Beneficial looks the one they all have to beat.
Tara Point takes a drop down in class in the Listed 2m 1f novices’ hurdle (3.00) and looks a worthy odds-on shot to take advantage and get back on the winning trail.
The five-year-old mare looked a very smart prospect when winning a bumper at this track back in April and confirmed that impression on seasonal reappearance when scoring on hurdles debut at Exeter by an unextended by 15 lengths.
The daughter of Kayf Tara then lost little in defeat when stepped up into Grade 2 company and finishing a 1 1/2 length third to Vyta Du Roc at Sandown last time out, where she travelled like much the best horse for most of the race.
The winner has since gone on to finish an excellent second in the Grade 1 Chalow Hurdle at Newbury, and that gives the form an outstanding look in the context of this contest.
In the 2m 4f handicap that closes the card (4.00), the Nick Williams trained After Eight Sivola can take advantage of a drop in the weights to open his account.
The gelding is a lightly-raced an unexposed sort who stepped up on four quiet runs last season to finish fourth of seven to Bertimont in a class 2 handicap at Chepstow on reappearance in October off a mark of 118.
After Eight Sivola finished 5 3/4 length’s behind the runner-up Dawalan who has gone on to win at Aintree off 133, and just 3/4 behind the third home Manhattan Swing who is rated 130.
That is strong form in the context of this class 4 contest, especially as After Eight Sivola now runs off a mark of just 106.
1.30: Midnight Request
2.30: Valid Point
3.00: Tara Point
3.30: Howlongisafoot (NAP
4.00: After Eight Sivola (NB)