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Wednesday, 1 February 2017

4.25 Towcester, Thursday, February 2

The Grimscote Handicap Hurdle (4.25) at Towcester on Thursday may not be as competitive as some of the weekend handicaps that constitute the ‘bread and butter’ of this column, but is nonetheless a lowly Class 5 affair, in which recent winning form is in short supply. Furthermore, although 2 miles 3 furlongs and 34 yards is hardly a marathon distance, the race is due to be run on a testing course on bottomless ground and could still develop into a war of attrition, which few survive.

With this in mind, we’ve tried to find one or two with stamina in abundance, who should be staying on when the others have cried enough. Thatchers Gold, for example, has troubled the judge just once in seven starts since winning a better race on soft going at Uttoxeter over two years ago, but at least we know he’s capable of winning a race and handling testing conditions, which is not something we can say for many of his rivals. His recent form is nothing special, but he drops into 0-100 company off a handicap mark 3lb lower than when last winning, so must merit consideration.

Frankly, most of these are poor or deteriorating, or both, but something has to win, so let’s row in with the lightly-raced six-year-old Scartare, who’s been well beaten at fancy prices on all six starts so far, but showed a glimmer of ability on his last outing, over 1 mile 7½ furlongs on this course seven weeks ago and may be capable of better on his handicap debut. His stamina needs to be taken on trust, as does his ability to handle heavy going, but a forward showing would hardly be huge surprise in a race ripe for a turn-up.

Selections: Towcester 4.25 Thatchers Gold, Scartare

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