Everywhere we look right now there’s a National Hunt venue reopening after the summer break and Wincanton joins the party on Thursday.
The Somerset venue is the local track of Britain’s champion jumps trainer Paul Nicholls and they open with a seven-race card from 13:30-16:52.
We’ve picked out three to follow across the afternoon including one for the Ditcheat maestro Nicholls.
14:35 – Moytier @ 12/1
French import MOYTIER perhaps didn’t achieve as much as might have been hoped in four runs for Syd Hosie earlier this year but his final effort at Warwick in May was more promising than what had gone before.
That 2m3f good-ground maiden contest saw him finish second behind even-money favourite Our Scholar, the winner going on to win his next two over hurdles and one on the Flat last month at Southwell for good measure.
Moytier has gone up in the ratings for that silver medal but this mark of 102 isn’t prohibitive and, in a first-time tongue-tie, Michael Nolan’s partner might well hit the ground running on this return from 148 days off, especially given the positive mark he left last time out.
15:45 – Inca De Lafayette @ 7/2
Champion trainer Paul Nicholls is always a force to reckon with at his local track and he’s got plenty opportunities to get on the scoresheet on day one of the new season at Wincanton.
Amongst them is INCA DE LAFAYETTE, the bottom-weight in the Lester Aldridge Handicap Hurdle over just shy of two-miles.
A bumper winner in his native France in November 2021, he made a winning start at Taunton (2m½f, good to soft) the following February having moved to Ditcheat.
He was late coming back in last term, failing to get home upped in trip at Chepstow in February after 302 days out, but he wasn’t beaten far on his final appearance at Taunton in April
He has undergone a wind operation over the summer and has scope for better now from what is a workable mark. Harry Cobden rides and, with a good record when fresh, they can make the most of this opportunity.
16:52 – Bensini @ 15/8
The finale on the card is the Somerset Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Chase over three-miles and a furlong and it’s a race in which BENSINI can break his duck over fences.
The Dr Massini gelding didn’t achieve a lot last season after leaving Fergal O’Brien following one bumper start.
He was never a threat in five hurdles outings but returned at Worcester (2m4f, good) in July to open his account in a Conditionals contest.
He ran well in two subsequent starts over timber and has been second-best in both starts since going chasing.
He was the closest pursuer of Toad Of Toad Hall at Fontwell (2m5½f, good) in September and then went within a neck of a win at Southwell earlier this month over a furlong shorter, losing a bit of ground at the last before rallying strongly in a three-way dive for the line.
He’s off the same mark now and that run was a hint that better days are to come over this sort of trip for an in-form Robbie Llewellyn team.