Rhys Williams is taking a two-pronged attack at Wincanton

Rhys Williams is taking a two-pronged attack at Wincanton

Smooth traveller starting to fulfil early potential

Wincanton 14:10: Salley Gardens 1pt win 7/2

Jockeyship can be crucial in amateur riders’ races and there are plenty of inexperienced jockeys in this race. One of the few jockeys for whom that isn’t the case is the reigning national men’s champion James King who rides Salley Gardens.

Salley Gardens caught everyone’s attention on the third start of his career at Warwick but only started to fulfil that obvious potential last season when a tongue tie was applied.

He won at Perth on his first start with a tongue tie on but being beaten at Huntingdon when the tongue tie was taken off and how much the 66/1 winner found late on may have caught out his jockey.

The tongue tie was back on and accompanied by first time cheekpieces on his next start at the same track and he got back to winnings ways, cruising to the front turning the final bend before idling in front and being driven out to an 8½ length success.

He followed that up with another victory seven days later at Fakenham where he won with plenty in hand having travelled well in behind the leaders for much of the race.

The way that Salley Gardens has travelled in his races suggests that he’s capable of further improvement and the tongue tie and cheekpieces combination is once again in use today.

He is returning from a 134-day break but he won off a 175-day absence at Perth and I expect he was given that break over the winter due to not wanting soft ground.

Most of his rivals in this race have reached a level and either look stuck at that level or are looking to bounce back from poor runs whereas he is still open to improvement and any 3/1 or bigger appeals.

Jockey’s claim generous against fellow amateurs

Wincanton 14:10: Butterwick Brook 1pt win 10/1

Of the jockeys claiming 7lb, the majority look accurately assessed by that claim but that isn’t the case with Freddie Gingell who has impressed in his first season in the saddle and him being able to claim 7lb against fellow amateurs increases Butterwick Brook’s chance in this race.

Butterwick Brook’s jumping over fences has become very unconvincing this season, even in victory at this track three starts ago, so the return to hurdling could see him in a better light as long as his confidence of jumping anything hasn’t been affected by that.

He may also find it easier to gain a prominent position early on easier than has been the case in his latest two starts and he seems a horse who is best when not crowded so trying to make the running could be an option, particularly with cheekpieces on for the first time on a horse who is proven over further.

It may be that Butterwick Brook is just out of love with racing at the moment and will put in another below par effort but I think the circumstances of this race give him a chance to bounce back and any 9/1 or bigger appeals.