Summer Plate betting tips: Alcala appeals again in Market Rasen feature

Horsebetting.com give their 2018 Summer Plate betting tips for the extended 2m 5f feature race at Market Rasen. Alcala is our main selection for this hotly competitive Listed handicap chase, as he won the race last year and is rated just 1lb higher for this edition. Paul Nicholls stable companion Bagad Bihoue can give him most to think about, while Viconte Du Noyer appeals each-way in a typically wide-open renewal. Our 2018 Summer Plate betting tips preview has more!

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Odds
15/2
Selection
Alcala
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Odds
15/2
Danger
Bagad Bihoue
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Odds
10/1
E/W
Viconte Du Noyer
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Alcala has every chance of retaining Summer Plate

Paul Nicholls sends out Alcala in search of back-to-back renewals of the extended 2m 5f Summer Plate Handicap Chase at Market Rasen on Saturday (15:15), and the eight-year-old sets a clear form standard in this feature Listed contest off a mark of just 1lb higher than last year.

Victory 12 months ago was the third leg of a five-timer for this progressive type when Sam Twiston-Davies produced him to take it up over the final fence. All Alcala had to do then was be driven out by his rider – who partners him again over stablemate Bagad Bihoue – to score by three-quarters of a length from Wadswick Court.

Having landed the hat-trick, Alcala then destroyed the opposition at Newton Abbot next time out by 30 lengths and then won again before returning to Listed company at Chepstow. That was a small but select field of top prospect novice chasers and he was desperately unlucky to slip up when just hitting the front and exiting the back straight.

Racing fans were denied an intriguing battle between Alcala and the ill-fated Finian’s Oscar. Nicholls then sent his charge to Cheltenham to a class 2 contest at The Showcase, but he didn’t fire when a well-backed favourite and was a well-beaten 13 lengths, so his handler decided that was it for 2017.

Alcala shaped as if needing the run on his return to action when a 19 lengths fifth to Top Notch in the Grade 2 Oaksey Chase at Sandown’s Jumps Finale meeting at the end of April. He had raced in touch until pecking on landing two out and that was his chance gone.

The nature of Alcala’s defeat here doesn’t quite tell the full story, however, as he was only six lengths behind the fourth home, Double Shuffle, who had previously been runner-up in the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day.

That is the strongest form any horse has on offer in this, and it is worth forgiving Alcala his next run when quickly turned out at Newton Abbot – just a fortnight after the toughest test of his career. He returned to form when a 3 1/2 lengths second to stable companion Bagad Bihoue at that venue last time out.

Alcala tried to give that re-opposing rival 10lb there, but now meets him off 4lb better terms. Twiston-Davies has had the choice of riding either and plumped for the classier type, so there is every chance of the places being reversed and that marks Alcala out as a serious consider with leading claims.

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Bagad Bihoue challenging for favouritism

Nicholls has another major contender in the shape of the aforementioned Bagad Bihoue, who boasts an impressive five wins in nine over the larger obstacles, but it will take a career best to land the spoils here.

The seven-year-old won well after a break when beating Alcala last time out, but is now 4lb worse off at the weights. There was lots to like about they way Bagad Bihoue was ridden to take it up in between the final two jumps at Newton Abbot and he stayed on well to the line.

However, Twiston-Davies has abandoned him for Alcala and that may be an indicator one of the UK’s leading jockeys thinks he cannot confirm the form on the revised terms which the two stable companions meet. What you can say about Bagad Bihoue is when he hits form, he tends to go on winning streaks.

He has notched summer four-timers in each of the last two years, backing up his win on reappearance. That does not tell the full story, however, as it is highly questionable what Bagad Bihoue has beat when doing so and they are certainly not in the same class as the company Alcala has kept of late.

That doesn’t change the fact that Bagad Bihoue is a danger though, and he fits the age profile for the Summer Plate. Seven-year-olds have been the most successful in the race’s history, landing the spoils in eight renewals.

Bagad Bihoue has had plenty of support in the ante post betting and punters don’t seem totally sure that Alcala will get the better of their rematch, despite the 4lb change in his favour. Nicholls clearly wants another Summer Plate winner and could well get it.

Viconte Du Noyer an each-way punt

Top-class National Hunt races are a rarity at this time of year, so there are some high-profile entries like Calett Mad for Nigel Twiston-Davies, Isaac Souede and Simon Munir. Viconte Du Noyer, however, is the most interesting having run well behind Bagad Bihoue and Alcala last time out.

Trained by Colin Tizzard, the nine-year-old looks each-way value despite his last victory coming over almost a mile further than the trip. That was a Grade 3 handicap chase during The Open at Cheltenham back in November 2016 and Viconte Du Noyer is now rated 7lb lower on a mark of 141.

Connections (he is owned by Alan and Ann Potts Limited) obviously then trying him in staying chases without much success, but his best runs of late have been over roughly the Summer Plate distance. Viconte Du Noyer was a length runner-up behind Drumcliff over 2m 4f in a class 2 handicap at Uttoxeter in May before finishing third at Newton Abbot.

As he was just a nose behind Alcala last time out, he too is better off at the weights with Bagad Bihoue. Viconte Du Noyer was the one giving 3lb to the winner then, but he is now in receipt of 1lb.

While there still may be a bit to find on those two, it gives him considerable claims of making the frame. We just had to include Viconte Du Noyer in our 2018 Summer Plate betting tips here as, at the odds on offer, he looks each-way value a trip that seems to suit him best.

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