Saturday’s Horse Racing Tips: Derham can make 260-mile round trip worthwhile

15 March 2024

Harry Derham learned plenty under the tutelage of champion trainer Paul Nicholls and boasts an impressive 25% strike-rate over his first two seasons with a license.

The most impressive skill that Derham has shown is his ability to pinpoint perfect races for his horses and hopefully we will see that precision on show this Saturday as he sends three horses up to Uttoxeter on a 260-mile round trip from his Berkshire base.

Punters may focus on his hat-trick-seeking Bolsover Bill late on the card, but it’s Monviel who has garnered my attention in the 2m4f handicap hurdle (1.50 Uttoxeter) under regular rider Paul O’Brien. It’s worth noting that O’Brien could have gone up to Newcastle to ride Brentford Hope but has chosen to venture to the Staffordshire course instead.

Monviel, a beautiful grey, won three of his first eight races for former trainers Philip Hobbs and Johnson White and simultaneously proved that deep ground was ideal for him. He ended his time with that partnership with two fifth-placed finishes, firstly in the 2023 Betfair Hurdle before filling the same berth in the Imperial Cup. Two creditable runs against talented rivals.

He had 224 days off the tracks before making his debut for Derham, where he shaped with great promise when second behind JPR One. Monviel was in receipt of 2lb from that runner but the form was strongly boosted when JPR One claimed a Grade 2 prize at Lingfield a couple of months ago.

Derham then sent him to Ascot and he was beaten a country mile in a small field, but I’m more than happy to put a line through that as the vet reported that he had an irregular heartbeat and he pulled off a shoe. Good ground wouldn’t have been overly suitable either.

Monviel shaped far better than many will assume last time out when eighth at Ascot and I’m excited to see him back on deeper ground in a weaker field. Jagwar and Canty Bay are unexposed and interesting opponents, but Monviel is overpriced at 8/1 and hopefully he can go close.

It’s off to Newcastle for my other selection, which is Young Jack in the 2m1f novices’ hurdle (1.27 Newcastle) for jockey Danny McMenamin and trainer Chris Grant. He deserves to be favourite and I’m happy to take a relatively short price on him.

An impressive winner of a point-to-point for Colin Bowe in May, Young Jack made his rules debut for his aforementioned connections in December and was very unfortunate not to win after making a horrific blunder at the second-last hurdle. He loomed up large but completely lost his back end and did well to regain momentum to push the eventual winner in the latter stages.

Young Jack made amends when romping home at the same track last month and he is open to significant progress for a yard who wouldn’t be overly keen to bottom their horses out early in their respective careers. I’m pretty sure he’s a lot better than his foes so hopefully he shows it.

Saturday’s Horse Racing Tips

Young Jack (1.27 Newcastle) @ 6/4
Monviel (1.50 Uttoxeter) @ 9/1

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