Market Rasen preview: Wintour Leap poised to follow-up
Wintour Leap scored in good style last time out and can make light of a rise in the weights to follow-up in the 2m handicap hurdle on today’s card at Market Rasen (14.45).
The Robert Stephens trained filly showed progressive form in her first four outings over the obstacles, running really well to finish runner-up in the last two.
In the last of those at Worcester, the four-year-old stayed on well from off the pace to be beaten 3 3/4 lengths by Taradrewe.
It was an effort which suggested there was better to come, and Wintour Leap duly went one better to open her account over the obstacles when running out the ready winner of a handicap at the same venue off a mark of 104.
After being held-up, the daughter of Nayef came with a sustained run and only had to be driven out after the last to take up the running 100 yards from home and win going away by 1 1/4 lengths.
The runner-up went on to score next time up, and the third home Fairy Alisha has since run well to make the frame off a mark of 103.
That gives the form a solid look, and suggests that a 7lb rise in the weights may not be enough to stop the unexposed and lightly-raced Wintour Leap going in again.
Closest Friend posted a much improved effort when runner-up on his first start for trainer Dan Skelton and can go one better to land the 2m 2f novices’ hurdle that opens proceedings (14.10).
The six-year-old raced keenly and held every chance on the home bend until being unable to find any extra and weakening after stumbling at the last to be beaten six lengths by Francis Of Assisi.
It was an excellent effort following 444 days on the sidelines, and the winner is a useful sort who has gone on to score again since.
Closest Friend looks sure to come on a bundle for that outing, and another plus is that he hails from a yard that are in good form at present and have a strike rate of just over 27 per cent at the venue.
14.10: Closest Friend (NB)
14.45: Wintour Leap (NAP)
15.50: Ready Token
16.25: Butlergrove King
16.55: Alf ‘n’ Dor