There is some competitive action over jumps at Hereford and Wetherby on Wednesday and Racing Post tipster Graeme Rodway returns with his best bets across the two cards.
Dynamite Kentucky @ 11/2
Milkwood @ 4/1
Xcitations @ 5/2
The Jackson Property Novices’ Handicap Chase (2.30) at Hereford is a hot little contest, but Dynamite Kentucky was different class to these over hurdles and is worth another chance over fences.
The eight-year-old hasn’t always looked the most fluent in three starts at the discipline so far, but he showed promise when fourth on his chasing debut at Chepstow in November. He stayed on strongly from the rear of the field to take fourth after making some early mistakes.
He has failed to build on that twice since, but those runs have come in stronger races than this and he takes quite a drop in class. There is every chance that will help him with his jumping.
He has to carry top weight, but runs off a mark 11lb lower than his hurdles rating and is evidently well treated if he can put it all together. This might just be the day that he does so with trainer Richard Newland replacing blinkers with cheekpieces in a bid to sharpen him up.
The Frank Dawn 90th Birthday Celebration Handicap Hurdle (3.15) at Wetherby is a cracking feature race at Wetherby and the drying conditions should be ideal for classy hurdler Milkwood.
He is just 1lb higher than when landing the Grade 2 Scottish Champion Hurdle a couple of years ago and he went on to a second in the Galway Hurdle next time off 4lb higher than this.
Cheltenham Festival: Rachael Blackmore raises the bar for female jockeys
Milkwood has been lightly raced since and seems to show his best after a break nowadays. That was certainly the case when he returned from a 155-day absence to finish second to Effernock Fizz in the Welsh Champion Hurdle at Ffos Las on his reappearance in October.
You can ignore his last of four in the Grade 2 Elite Hurdle at Wincanton last time when he was outclassed and wasn’t coming in after a break. There is every chance he can bounce back to form here following a 102-day absence in what is without doubt a significantly easier race.
The Racing TV Handicap Chase (3.50) at Wetherby is another hot race and it’s worth backing Xcitations to bounce back from a below-par run at Doncaster last time for trainer Pam Sly.
Sly has saddled more winners at Wetherby than at any other track in the last five seasons and her nine winners here have come from just 39 runners, for a healthy 23 per cent strike-rate.
It therefore looks significant that she brings Xcitations to this track in a bid to bounce back from his disappointment last time when a subsequent vet’s check revealed him to be lame.
It’s worth putting a line through that run and Xcitations is better judged on his impressive victory at Sandown in January when he won a more valuable race than this by a wide margin.
He is 7lb higher than for that win here but Jack Andrews, who rode that day, is back in the saddle claiming 3lb and there is a good chance he can return to his best now down in class.