Warm Oasis finally got his head in front last time out and can kick on again in the Matchbook Casino Handicap at Kempton.
The four-year-old did not hit the track until last July when the 200,000 guinea recruit looked pretty disappointing in finishing down the field in a moderate event at Leicester, before another prolonged spell off the course.
However, he shaped with plenty more promise on his return in October, being beaten just half a length in second before again hitting the frame when fourth on his first all-weather outing at Lingfield, despite hanging in the finish. He won what was a muddling affair at Wolverhampton before Christmas by a neck, although that margin would have been bigger but for once more hanging in the finish. Clearly Warm Oasis is not totally straightforward, but he can certainly run and a 3lb hike in the weights is not insurmountable.
Helfire is worth noting as she returns from a lengthy lay off in the Matchbook Betting Podcast Handicap.
The five-year-old has not raced since last September, when she finished a three-quarter-length second in a reasonable heat at Sandown.
A thoroughly consistent type for Hughie Morrison last summer, she might still have a bit to give.
Princess De Lune impressed when winning a Newbury maiden on her racecourse debut last April but upped in company towards the backend of last year, she was thoroughly found out.
Twice tried at Listed level by Roger Charlton, Princess De Lune was not beaten too far on either occasion but she was never going to trouble the judge.
Switched to Archie Watson since that run, Princess De Lune should find the Better Odds With Matchbook Novice Stakes an easier task.
Dream Serenade likes a trip to Southwell and is the pick in the Betway Handicap.
Her three visits to the Nottinghamshire venue have yielded three places, and it is not too much of a stretch to think she can win a race like this here, even though she has had almost a year on the sidelines.
Siruh Du Lac can keep his recent momentum going in the Ryan Direct Group Chase at Wincanton.
Nick Williams’ runner fluffed his lines a bit on his fencing bow when racing a bit keenly and making some jumping errors at Kempton, but he has not looked back since being pulled up that October day.
He triumphed in gutsy style at Bangor on his next outing, while he defied a 6lb rise and again showed plenty of heart for a battle in winning by a length and a quarter at Exeter.
Siruh Du Lac has another 6lb hike to shoulder here, but he should be game for the challenge.
Unioniste suffered a shock reverse on his return at Taunton earlier this month but can right the record in the Stewart Tory Memorial Open Hunters’ Chase.
He failed by a nose to fend off the late thrust of Premier Portrait but his rider should be wiser to the threat of that rival this time.
The Vocalist impressed with her victory at Huntingdon recently and should be on the mark again in Ludlow’s starsportsbet.co.uk Mares’ “National Hunt” Novices’ Hurdle.
Nicky Henderson’s runner dived at the last but survived to win by four and a half lengths without Nico de Boinville really having to get too serious.
TURF TALK TIPS
KEMPTON: 5.55 Barnay, 6.30 Princess De Lune, 7.00 Mercers, 7.30 WARM OASIS (NAP), 8.00 Helfire, 8.30 Hewouldwouldnthe.
SOUTHWELL: 1.30 Something Lucky, 2.05 Dream Serenade (treble), 2.40 Ray Purchase, 3.15 Samovar, 3.50 Symbolic Star, 4.25 Zaeem.
TOWCESTER: 1.40 The Vocalist, 2.15 Magic Dancer, 2.50 Very Live, 3.25 Seaston Spirit, 4.00 Norse Light, 4.35 Steel Native.
WINCANTON: 1.20 North West Wind, 1.50 Siruh Du Lac (next best), 2.25 Dinos Benefit, 3.00 Azzerti, 3.35 Creep Desbois, 4.10 Unioniste, 4.45 Melchior King.