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Race of the Day on Sky Sports Racing: William Philo can keep improving in Lingfield handicap chase on Monday

Alan Thomson takes a close look at a 12-runner contest at Lingfield on Monday, with an each-way fancy selected, live on Sky Sports Racing.

There’s a healthy 12-runner turn-out for Lingfield’s Follow AtTheRaces On Twitter Handicap Chase (3.25), a class five contest run over a distance just short of three miles (live on Sky Sports Racing).

THE GROUNDWORK

Lingfield has been a happy hunting ground for Gary Moore over the years and, true to form, he saddled a double here on November 24. Chris Gordon was also in the winner’s enclosure and both trainers are represented in today’s chosen event. The track was racing on the soft side on that occasion but underfoot conditions should prove slightly less demanding. The official going was described as good to soft, soft in places on Sunday.

LEADING FANCIES

Echo Watt

Made a pleasing return to action following a 262-day absence when chasing home Coolvalla at Fontwell in early November. Richard Hobson’s grey, the mount of Lilly Pinchin, was placed here in the Surrey National on heavy ground last January when racing from 5lb out of the handicap. That’s one of the best pieces of form on display.

Reign Supreme

Has beaten only one horse home on his last three outings but this task is much more realistic, with the assessor dropping him 11lb. Won an Irish point 12 months ago and can give Conor Ring a good spin if tuned up arriving off a 194-day hiatus.

Waikiki Waves

Won here over hurdles on testing ground last December, showing some of the old sparkle which saw him score five times in 2019. Gary Moore’s nine-year-old was pulled up behind Coolvalla on his seasonal return last month but has little to find with fancied rival Ramore Will on their running here 20 days ago. One of the more obvious contenders.

Celma Des Bois

Returning from a long absence and Richard Rowe’s 10-year-old has undergone wind surgery since pulling up at Chepstow. Won at Leicester last January when returning from a 293-day break, so cannot be dismissed out of hand.

William Philo

Stan Sheppard’s mount caused a 33/1 shock when landing a Fontwell novices’ handicap hurdle last December (soft) and was sent off favourite at Wincanton in February when not beaten far in third. William Philo made a satisfactory debut over fences at Exeter three weeks ago, tracking a slightly wide course and getting a good view of his obstacles before staying on into fifth behind Alan King’s Midnight Glance and favourite Representing Bob. Still only a five-year-old, so there’s scope for improvement.

Ramore Will

Chris Gordon’s grey is a bit hit and miss but took the measure of Waikiki Waves here 20 days ago, leading before the home turn and staying on gamely. The 11-year-old won on soft ground at Plumpton in January 2020 but has been pulled up since on three occasions. Fred Gordon is proving good value for his 7lb allowance.

The Real Jet

Outran her 80/1 starting price when runner-up in a novices’ hurdle at Plumpton last January and Andy Irvine’s mare was a 28/1 shot when hunting up 18 lengths winner White Hart Lady here almost three weeks ago. The cheek-pieces worn for the first-time that day are on again.

Percy Veering

Kim Bailey’s five-year-old started at loud prices on all five starts over hurdles last season, showing little to inspire public confidence. It was something of a surprise to see him going off a well-backed 4/1 chance on chasing debut and he was still in contention when falling at the seventh fence in the race won by Ramore Will. This mark may underestimate his latent ability, so not one to write-off this early in his chasing career.

Bardd

Started off his racing life with Nicky Henderson, picking off a Sandown bumper and a maiden at Chelmsford City. He was placed on numerous occasions before joining Danni O’Neill and continued to rack up plenty of place money without poking his head in front. Off 227 days but has gone well fresh in the past, so no forlorn hope under useful 5lb rider Caoilin Quinn. Races off his lowest career rating today.

Allardyce

Pulled up behind Coolvalla at Fontwell last month but ran much better over hurdles at Plumpton (third) just 10 days later. The handicapper has further eased his mark, so not without a squeak under Tom O’Brien.

Melk Abbey

Needs to overcome a 306-day absence but Anthony Honeyball and Rex Dingle have worked the oracle in the past. The six-year-old has undergone a wind procedure since beating only one home at Exeter and this ex-pointer didn’t show much in Ireland when trained by Henry de Bromhead. She needs to have come on a bundle but today’s tongue-tie may make a difference.

Eaton Miller

Races from 5lb out of the handicap and Ryan Potter’s 10-year-old was beaten 38 lengths at Ffos Las 10 days ago. Scored on deep ground at Uttoxeter and Warwick in February 2021 and has cut out the running in the past. Bit to find.

THE VERDICT

Robert Walford’s five-year-old WILLIAM PHILO possesses scope for improvement over fences and gets the nod wearing first-time cheek-pieces. He should go off at an each-way price.

It will be no surprise to see Echo Watt showing up prominently.

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