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Taunton best bets: Centara can give Harry Cobden flying start to Cheltenham Festival week

While most eyes are already turning towards the Cheltenham Festival, Monday’s card at Taunton looks decent enough to serve as a perfect warm-up act for the main events later in the week.

15:10 Taunton: William Hill Extra Place Races Handicap Chase (2 miles 104 yards)

Last-time-out winner Just Over Land emerged from wind surgery like a new horse on his reappearance at Lingfield a month ago, winning with 18 lengths in hand from the nearest of four rivals, Activist, who promptly went on to win twice in the space of three days at the end of February.

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He should go well again under Sam Twiston-Davies, although he looks likely to face stiffer opposition here in the form of the Paul Nicholls-trained Centara, who makes his handicap debut under Planet Sport Bet ambassador and aspiring champion jockey Harry Cobden.

The six-year-old gelding won his bumper debut this time last year and took his transition to hurdles in his stride this season, landing a 19-furlong novice at this venue just after Christmas, and should be able to bounce back from a less inspired held-up performance here five weeks ago.

Cobden boasts a 30% win rate at the Somerset track, while Nicholls is not far behind on 28% and it would be no surprise to see jockey and trainer bring better out of their charge over this shorter trip to start this important week on a promising note.

Suggested best bet: Centara in the 15:10 at Taunton


Elsewhere, Ca Plane Pour Moi makes his stable debut for Neil Mulholland and could be of interest if ready to up his game in a first-time hood, but our final nod goes to the only course-distance winner in the 12-runner line-up, Doyen Quest.

Dan Skelton’s six-year-old was quickly off the mark on his bumper debut in October, and made rapid progress over hurdles, winning on his third attempt over obstacles in a maiden over this trip 20 days ago.

The trainer’s brother and usual jockey Harry Skelton is on duty at Stratford, leaving claiming rider Tristan Durrell to bring his useful three-pound allowance to the saddle, making his fair mark look even more appealing. 

Next best each-way bet: Doyen Quest in the 15:10 at Taunton



READ MORE: Stratford racing tips: Best bets for Monday March 11

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