It’s a big day for Ffos Las as the west Wales track hosts the £31,000 William Hill Welsh Champion Hurdle and the William Hill West Wales National. Both races have attracted big and competitive fields with trainers anxious to get a run into their charges following the big freeze, though the going will be heavy on both courses with the hurdles races having been switched to the Flat course to ensure the meeting gets the go-ahead
We’ll concentrate on the feature over the smaller obstacles in which the weights are headed by Oscara Dara. Nicky Henderson‘s eight-year-old landed a gamble in the Lanzarote at Kempton three weeks ago and fully deserves his current mark, though whether there is much scope for further improvement now is open to debate. McCoy‘s mount has been installed at a best 9/2 with Boylesports but may not start favourite given he’s conceding 19lb to Tanerko Emery.
David Pipe‘s gelding is clearly on an upward curve having won three of his four starts this term and finished second in the other. Two of those victories have come on heavy going so conditions at Ffos Las won’t faze the seven-year-old, who gives every impression he’ll appreciate the step up in distance. However, he’s gone up a further 11lb since winning easily at Lingfield and he’s never competed at this level before. Tanerko Emery is 4/1 with bet365, Boylesports and Paddy Power.
Medinas is going to get my vote as I believe he’s overpriced at a general 9/1 considering he was trying to give 9lb to the smart winner At Fishers Cross when fourth over 3m at Cheltenham last time. Second at Cheltenham and Kempton in the autumn, Robert Thornton may have preferred Balder Success (10/1 with most layers) but Wayne Hutchinson is a very able deputy and has ridden several big race winners for Alan King in recent seasons. Balder Success, in any case, looks held by Double Ross (10/1 with Stan James) on their run together in the Ladbroke Hurdle at Ascot before Christmas, though did beat Hollow Tree at Haydock earlier.
Of the remainder, Patrick Corbett’s 7lb claim will aid their cause of The Romford Pele (12/1 general) and he makes more appeal than stablemates Peckhamecho and Boyfromnowhere (16/1 general and 18/1 with Skybet respectively) while it would be no surprise to see the mare Miss Milborne run well at a big price. She can be backed at 25/1 with Paddy Power but rarely lets down supporters and was carrying a huge weight when only fourth at Kempton last time. Her stable is going well again now and she will be staying on here when others have cried enough.