Wednesday May 25

Happily, the handicapper took the view that a 14lb hike for Primitivo was sufficient for the time being and even though he was impressive in supplementing Newbury gains at Sandown last time, he was racing off an 8lb lower mark before his new figure kicked in, so the official assessor has left him alone.

Primitivo remains on a mark of 95, which would have earned him second top weight in last year’s King George V Handicap at Royal Ascot, so it must be tempting for Alan to run him at what is his favourite Flat meeting of the year next month.

Meanwhile, we have four runners over jumps today, three at Newton Abbot tonight and one at Market Rasen this afternoon. Alan said:”Mia’s Storm carries her penalty in the opening mares novice hurdle at Newton Abbot. She is a classy individual and was much happier when we found some good ground at Wetherby three weeks ago than she had been in the testing conditions she encountered at Sandown in February.

McCabe Creek has topweight in the two and a quarter mile handicap hurdle. He was still bang there when he found himself tight for room at the second last and got squeezed out at Kempton last time. The handicapper clearly felt he would have gone close as he put him up 6lb, so it makes sense to put up Jamie Insole, whose 10lb allowance will be a big help.

Devil to Pay was unlucky to suffer a couple of falls at Leicester and Kempton, both times when still in contention, so it was very pleasing to see him get round safely at Fontwell last time. That will have done his confidence the world of good, so even off a 2lb higher mark he should go well in the two miles and five handicap chase.

“Up at Market Rasen, we have Lady Persephone having her first race in a handicap in the mares hurdle. She won well in novice company at Wincanton last time, and, while that was not the strongest of races, hopefully she’ll run well here.”