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Carlisle best bets: Up Helly Aa King can challenge course specialist Houston Texas

A quiet Monday at the races includes just one National Hunt meeting at Carlisle, but there should still be some decent contests to enjoy, including this testing chase over an extended three miles.

16:00 Carlisle: Book Your Raceday Hospitality Now Handicap Chase (3 miles ½ furlong)

With five of the eight scheduled starters available at double-digit odds, the market suggests we’re in for a three-horse race that should be headed by course specialist Houston Texas.

Nicky Richards’ 10-year-old looked like a fish out of water when pulled up in the Rowland Meyrick at Wetherby on Boxing Day, but now he drops back in class on his return to a much happier hunting ground, having won all four of his previous Carlisle appearances, including over this distance.

Suggested best bet: Houston Texas to win the 16:00 at Carlisle


Jet Legs (three wins in six and runner-up last time out) and Shighness (winner at Catterick 17 days ago) are expected to lead the challenge under Callum Bewley and Brian Hughes respectively, but should any of those three market principals falter, then there are a few higher-odds candidates with an eye on the minor places.

Easy Street and No But I Will are both better than their most recent pulled-up efforts suggest, and the same argument can be made for Up Helly Aa King, who was last seen taking a tumble at the sixth obstacle at Sandown last month.

Veteran he might be, but his ageing legs have been treated gently in a lightly-raced career, and they were strong enough to land a six-runner event at Ayr on his penultimate appearance in early January.

That race was run over the same three-mile trip in similar heavy conditions to those expected at Carlisle, while four of his five rivals that day were rated higher than all bar the favourite in this handicap. 

With stable jockey Bruce Lynn bringing a useful three-pound claim to the plate, Nick Alexander’s likeable 13-year-old could well outrun his price to give another good account of himself here.

Outsider punt: Up Helly Aa King each-way in the 16:00 at Carlisle



READ MORE: Carlisle racing tips: Best bets for Monday February 19

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