Towcester 3-10
Pagano 5 7/2
Tampa Boy 6 7
Spider Boy 7 12
Daryal 8 12
Smoothly Does It 8 7
Holethelonely 9 5
(Pickamus 10 7/2 N/R)

I’ve realised that handicap hurdles are something of a crap shoot and, true to form, all the runners in the Towcester 3-10 got a rating. That said, I ruled out Faversham as the lowest scoring and neither Mujamead nor Approved Force made the odds cut (both 12/1 in my book).

A clear bet in Daryal at 14/1. Good trainer comments and conditions to suit. I favour horses near the top of the handicap when the going is good so am happy with this bet. Spider Boy the only other overlay but near the lower end of the card and, despite good recent form I see him as placing only.

I nice start to the week then, no complications, traumas or rushing, just straightforward value.

Post-race: Well, I picked the wrong one – Spider Boy, the other overlay, won at 9/1, Tampa 2nd 5/1 and Smoothly 3rd 7/1. I’ll await the Racing post’s comments before too much of a post-mortem; Daryal ran poorly belying the trainer’s reported comments that he would strip fitter for his first race. Is this the ‘bounce’? Whatever, Spider Boy made all and it seems his light weight told.