Turf Talk: Sign Of The Kodiac predicted to repay autumn sales investment

Jonniesofa, ridden by Craig Nichol (left). PIC: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire
Jonniesofa, ridden by Craig Nichol (left). PIC: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire
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Sign Of The Kodiac cost a not inconsiderable 92,000 guineas at the autumn sales and he can offer an immediate return by winning the Betway Sprint Handicap at Wolverhampton.

The four-year-old is now with Tony Newcombe having racked up a reasonably impressive record, including four all-weather wins, when trained by James Given.

Sign Of The Kodiac has very much shown a preference for the Dunstall Park circuit, though, having won or been placed on all but one of his seven starts at the track.

He was most recently shaded by a neck in a similar heat to this back in October, when a high draw really put him at a disadvantage from the off in a 13-runner race.

He is drawn highest of eight again this time, but that hurdle does not look quite so insurmountable and he can make a perfect start for new connections.

Course form can be key at Southwell and given Star Ascending won there last time, he has to enter the reckoning for the Betway Live Casino Handicap.

He did not win a particularly strong heat at the start of the month, but he did well to recover after a tardy start and might have a little still up his sleeve.

Theclockisticking can mark himself as a true Festival contender with victory in the Sky Bet Supreme Trial Novices’ Hurdle at Ascot.

The five-year-old has made quite a splash in two hurdles starts so far this year, cruising to a 32-length success on his debut at Fakenham before following up by 10 lengths at Huntingdon last time.

While that first race was nothing to write home about, his second victory saw him account for the well-regarded Cause Toujours despite having to shoulder a winner’s penalty.

He travelled supremely well with the minimum of fuss that day and if were housed in one of the bigger yards rather than Stuart Edmunds’ eminently capable team, he would likely be a bit more prominent the ante-post betting for the Festival.

Jonniesofa always promised to be a good horse for Rose Dobbin and he can start to realise his potential in the Mitie Noel Novices’ Chase.

A suspensory injury sustained in the 2016 Albert Bartlett saw him miss the entirety of the last campaign, but he showed the fire still burns bright when winning on his reappearance and first try over fences at Carlisle in October.

While he was merely workmanlike that day, he did race a bit keenly in setting the early gallop and it was to his credit he managed to fend off all challengers at the finish.

Jonniesofa will have to improve again to win this Grade Two event, but progression looks a certainty.

Dubai Angel shaped with promise on his fencing bow and can get his head in front in the Jump To It And Join Racing UK Chase at Ayr.

Chef Des Obeaux has hit the bar on his last two starts but should be good enough in Uttoxeter’s Betfred TV “Hands And Heels” Maiden Hurdle.

TURF TALK TIPS

ASCOT: 12.45 Peculiar Places, 1.20 Divine Spear, 1.55 Theclockisticking (next best), 2.30 Jonniesofa (treble), 3.05 On The Road, 3.40 Strong Glance.

AYR: 11.55 Cool Mix, 12.30 Echo Express, 1.05 Nakadam, 1.40 Duke Debarry, 2.15 Dubai Angel, 2.50 Charmant, 3.25 Bullion.

SOUTHWELL: 11.50 Zaeem, 12.25 Best Tamayuz, 1.00 Compton Brave, 1.35 Casterbridge, 2.10 Iniesta, 2.45 Star Ascending, 3.20 Topamichi.

UTTOXETER: 12.00 Yasir, 12.35 Chef Des Obeaux, 1.10 Hadfield, 1.45 Whitsundays, 2.20 Matts Legacy, 2.55 Shanty Town, 3.30 Cloudy Glen.

WOLVERHAMPTON: 5.45 Poetic Imagination, 6.15 Racehorse, 6.45 Brigand, 7.15 SIGN OF THE KODIAC (NAP), 7.45 Jorvik Prince, 8.15 Diana Lady, 8.45 Zoffany Bay.

Trainer Joseph O'Brien, left.

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