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Everything posted by Darran

  1. It should be a good night of action to conclude the 2023 hunter chase season and hopefully it can be a profitable end as well. David Kemp has had a hell of a season with a very high strike rate and I am hopeful that will continue this evening. As for the going they are putting even more water down this morning so it might end up being on the slower side of good. Prices right as of 8.00 5.35/8.40 Magic Saint/Old Guard 1pt double @ 3/1 with Bet365 6.05 Rebel Dawn Rising 2pts @ 5/2 with everyone (take up to 2/1) Normofthenorth 0.5pts @ 10/1 with everyone (14/1 with Bet365 and take up to 7/1) 6.35 Quintin's Man 3pts @ 5/4 with everyone (take up to Evs) 7.05 Law Of Gold 4pts @ 9/4 with everyone (take up to 5/4) Clara Sorrento 0.5pts e/w @ 10/1 with everyone (take up to 8/1) 7.35 Caryto Des Brosses 3pts @ 11/8 with Bet365 (take up to 6/5) Sixteen Letters 0.5pts @ 7/2 with the majority (take up 11/4) 8.05 Captain Biggles 1pt @ 7/4 with everyone (take up to 6/4) Runwiththetide 0.5pts @ 8/1 with everyone (take up to 6/1) 5.35 Capitaine - Passed the post in 1st in this race in 2021 only for Sam Waley-Choen to weigh in light. Won the 2m hunter chase at Leicester last year, but was a well beaten 5th in this. Only run since then was in a Newbury handicap on New Years Eve and he pulled up. This is his trip, but it is a stronger race than 2021 so I'm not sure he will be good enough. Magic Saint - Good 2nd to Bennys King at Hereford and than was value for more than the 13L winning margin over Diligent at Wincanton in March. Bit disappointing in the Aintree Foxhunters when only 13th and was 4th at Cheltenham last time behind Paloma Blue. He travelled into the race really well, but I don't think he quite saw the trip out up the hill in what was a good race. Coped with this sort of trip earlier in his career and a leading chance. Kaproyale - Ground will be ideal for him which it wasn't when he was 2nd to Sine Nomine here in April. Been very good in points having won 8 of 11 and finished 2nd on two occasions including to Famous Clermont on New Years Day, albeit he was well beaten by him. Was impressive at Huntingdon last week although the race did fall to pieces and a maiden ended up finishing 2nd so the form is open to question. Like I say though the ground is ideal for him and this trip should be fine as well so he's one of the possible winners. Avoir De Soins - Hasn't been seeing 3m out in points this season so the drop in trip should help, but his only win came off 91 over 2m4f at Lingfield in November 2020 and I doubt he will be good enough. Due Reward - Had been struggling on ground which wouldn't have suited this season including in a hunter chase at Ludlow where he pulled up behind Fix It All. Finally got quick ground at Mollington a month ago and won over 2m4f having been well backed. The form isn't overly strong as the 2nd is only rated 82 under rules, but he did win on his next start which does boost the form a bit. Wouldn't rule him out for a top trainer and Gina Andrews is on top. Flaminger - Another one who hasn't been staying over 3m in points and was also well beaten over 2m4f at Tabley in April. This trip will suit better, but he looked regressive when last seen under rules and its hard to see him being good enough. Le Correzian - Was very well backed last time at Bitterley where he clearly didn't stay. There was also a bit of support for him on his debut for current connections in a Mixed Open at Buckfastleigh where he was still travelling well until unseating at 5 out. His win in France was over 2m1f so clearly this trip didn't suit. Didn't show too much in a couple of starts for Henry de Bromhead in Ireland, but I suspect that connections have been waiting for this race given his lack of stamina and the fact they must think he's good because of the money for him. A bold showing wouldn't surprise. Rewritetherules - Was 75L behind Magic Saint at Wincanton and hard to give him much of a chance on that let alone what he has done since. Sending Love - Struggled all season and likely to do so here. Verdict - A few of these have need dropping in trip as they haven't been staying in points, but then you have to work out if they are actually good enough to win. Le Correzian is interesting as he is likely to improve for the trip from what he has shown so far. Due Reward has a chance on his favourite going and Capitaine can't be ruled out completely given he 'won' this 2 years ago. I do think though that Magic Saint is the one to beat. He's shown strong form this season and even the 4th at Cheltenham last time is better than what anything else in the race has achieved of late. He didn't stay that night and this trip should be ideal for him and I expect him to be ridden more prominently as he was when winning at Wincanton. Kaproyle is the main danger with the ground in his favour, but this will be tougher than Huntingdon. 6.05 Envious Editor - Ran as well as could have been hoped at Cheltenham behind Fier Jaguen and Caryto Des Brosses and it was an improved performance from Ludlow. Still not sure he's in as good form as he was when winning at Taunton in the first hunter chase of the season for his former trainer though. Bold showing wouldn't surprise, but happy enough to take on. Shantou Flyer - As good as ever at 13 having run a stormer to finish 3rd at Cheltenham behind Premier Magic. He then went on to easily beat Singapore Saga at Exeter. Given he hadn't stayed 4m last season I was surprised that they gave him another go in that race at Cheltenham last month and he's run well enough to finish 2nd behind Law Of Gold. What surprises me here though is they are dropping him down in trip to 2m6f which I'm not sure will suit on quick ground round this sharper track. I'd have chanced my arm by running him in the big race. Clearly has the ability to win though if he gets away with that. Solomon Grey - Didn't stay at all in the big race on this night last year when he finished 5th behind Vaucelet which came on the back of a very good win at Cheltenham. Trainer never has them ready 1st time out so the 6th at Taunton can be ignored. He then injured himself and returned with a decent enough 2nd at Ludlow to Secret Investor. After that he tried to keep hold of his Cheltenham crown, but it probably came a little bit too soon even so it was a very good run to finish 3rd. What surprises me is 8 days later they ran him at Peper Harrow and he was just beaten by Count Simon who he was 23L in front of in that Cheltenham race. I'm not sure why they ran him in that, but he would still rate a contender in this. Dandy Dan - Did really well to beat Caryto Des Brosses at Cheltenham last year and then followed that up with a good 3rd in the big race behind Vaucelet. This season hasn't been so good though. He wasn't fit first time out at Garthorpe when 3rd to Law Of Gold and then the ground went against him at The Festival. What was most disappointing was his run in the race he won last year as he was well beaten in the end when 4th. He did win a point a couple of weeks ago, but he was 1/5 and the time was very slow which shows how much better he was than the opposition. The ground should be ideal and if he was in the same form as last year then he would have a chance, but I do suspect that the trip will be sharp enough anyway. Normofthenorth - Has a superb record in points over here having won 9 of his 14 starts including both starts this season at Kimble and Godstone. Both were small fields, but he did beat a horse at Godstone who has won 5 times this season including on his next start. He had a serious injury so he was lucky to even see a course again and this was the target after he won at Kimble. His trainer also mentioned they had planned to run him in the race last year, but he had a hard race when winning at Fakenham. It is hard to know what he achieved that day because the unexposed 2nd hasn't been seen since and it was a weak race. This is quite a strong renewal, but he is one of the possible winners. Rebel Dawn Rising - A new personal best by someway at Cheltenham last time when 2nd to Premier Magic. He was the only one to give The Festival winner a race and he just didn't stay up the hill. The biggest worry about him could be the last fence because he ran down it at Fakenham the time before when he had the race won and threw Alex Chadwick over the fence as he jumped it. He looked like he just thought about it at Cheltenham as well although it could have been more because he was tired. Alice Stevens is a cracking booking for the horse and this shorter trip should be perfect for him. Has a massive chance for me. Say About It - Won the Restricted race on this card last year when he outstayed the 2nd. Hasn't done too badly this season running against some good horses, but bumps into some good horses here as well and hard to see him winning this. Minella Encore - His jockey Talor Hopkins has little experience, but she has done well on this horse who used to be trained by Dr Newland having won 3 times on him this season. His worst run of the season was when he pulled up behind Shantou Flyer at Chaddesley Corbett over Christmas, but Talor said he hated the sticky ground that day which won't be a problem here. Still got a rating of 128 under rules and whilst he probably isn't up to that anymore this test does look ideal for him so a bold showing wouldn't surprise. Wheesht - Been well beaten in a couple of hunter chases this season and whilst he did win a point over 2m4f at Eyton over Easter I doubt he will be good enough here. Verdict - This is a decent race and I'd only really completely rule out Say About It and Whessht. Having said that I am very keen on Rebel Dawn Rising. He looks an improved horse this season and would have bolted up at Fakenham had he not messed around before the last. He was the only horse to give Premier Magic a race at Cheltenham and this trip should be much more suitable for him. Shantou Flyer clearly has the class, but I think they have him in the wrong race again and he will be tapped for toe round here over this trip. I am going to have a small e/w saver on Normofthenorth as this race has been the target and he has looked a progressive horse. Solomon Grey would be next in line. 6.35 Brave Starlight - Was a pretty weak maiden he won over in Ireland, but the 3rd in a Tipperary hunter chase on his next start wasn't a bad effort. Even so he wouldn't appear to be good enough for this on his first start for David Dennis. Dunworley - Would be some feat if he were to win this as a maiden and I guess given the prize money on offer they may as well have a go as even if he finishes last he gets £306. Was very well backed at Huntingdon last week which seemed bizarre given his form, but he ran well to finish 2nd. I do think that race fell apart a bit though and I'd be surprised if he was up to this. Matthews Hill - Was 2nd in the Bishopscourt Cup at the Punchestown Festival, but given the race conditions for that contest it is one of the worst races of the season. On the back of that though he was sent off favourite for a maiden hunter chase at Downpatrick a couple of weeks ago, but his jumping wasn't great and he came down at 4 out. Hard to say how he would have got on but it wasn't a strong race and it would be a bit disappointing if he was able to beat the best of the British. Precious Bounty - Is a front runner and likely to make the running. Has got ground to make up on Sine Nomine based on their run over 2m6f here in April, but the rain got into the ground which wouldn't have suited him. He then dropped down to 2m and ran as well as could have been expected behind Fier Jaguen. The problem for me is I'm not sure he wants this much of a stamina test. Quintin's Man - Loves a stamina test as he showed when winning the Intermediate Final at Cheltenham last month. He was really impressive that night and although I wondered beforehand if the ground would be too quick, he handled it fine. He had been 2nd at Exeter the time before and that form is working out very well as I pointed out when Workin Out won at Cartmel on Monday. With Slievegar winning at Kelso on Sunday that is two hunter chase winners that he's had behind him in his last two starts. He's the one they have to beat although the one concern I would have is the quick ground as connections seem to think he doesn't want it too fast, but there is no doubt he has the best form coming into the race. Sine Nomine - Jumping had looked a big issue especially when she ran in last year's Intermediate Final when finishing a well beaten 3rd, but she has turned that around in some style this season as she was very good when beating Kaproyale by 12L hard held. Now she was the only one of the fancied horses who wanted the rain softened ground, but even so it she did it in good style. She went to the mares race on Cheltenham hunter chase night and didn't quite see it out as she was beaten 0.5L by Miss Seagreen. For me she almost travels too well. What I mean by that is that you wouldn't call her keen as such, but she looks very enthusiastic and I just wonder if that left her slightly lacking in the finish. Clearly a big player in this though. Verdict - The two horses with the Irish form don't look anything special, Dunworley is still a maiden and Precious Bounty would be a stamina doubt so that leaves the race between Quintin's Man and Sine Nomine. Whilst I do have a slight concern about the ground for the former I do think he is the one they have to beat. He is the strongest stayer in the field and I think he is the best horse in the field. There should be a fair gallop set by Precious Bounty so that should help him as well. 7.05 Cheltenham De Vaige - Ran well on the Cheltenham hunter chase night for the 2nd year running when 3rd to Law Of Gold, but that shows how much ground he has to make up on him and I can't see him reversing the form. Clara Sorrento - Had a great season having won 4 on the bounce in points and he's clocked quick times as well. He might be 12, but he hasn't had much racing and didn't run from November 2018 in a Grade 3 at Cork until last March, a break of 1224 days! I suspect last year was about getting him back and after losing first time out this season he hasn't looked back. He is the yards 2nd string, but I think he can give it a bold show from the front given the form he's been in this season. Fr Humphrey - 15yo but he seems to be in the best form he's ever been in having won 3 of his last 4 races including causing one of the shocks of the Irish pointing season when he beat Rocky's Howya in April. He's won both point starts since although he was well beaten by Annamix in hunter chase inbetween those two victories and he really shouldn't be good enough to win this. Law Of Gold - Loves it at this meeting having won the John Corbet Cup in 2019 and then landed this race in 2021. Last year he had to settle for 2nd behind Vaucelet, but that came on the back of having had a hard race at Cheltenham where he didn't go a yard and jumped terribly. This year he comes into this race having finished 2nd to Premier Magic, winning a point and then having a break before returning in the 4m race at Cheltenham again where he travelled and jumped like a dream the whole way round and always looked like the winner. Apparently the first time cheekpieces were to blame for his run their last year and he looked a different horse this time around. He has a great chance of reversing last year's form with Vaucelet. Not A Role Model - Has won his last two points but both on soft ground and didn't beat Back Bar by anywhere near as much as Clara Sorrento did. Would be surprising if he was good enough. Secret Investor - Won 3 hunter chases this season and its hard to know how much he has achieved in doing so as he hasn't beaten a great deal. Dieu Vivant is a very beatable horse who he beat at Bangor. At Kelso he had a very simple task and then at Ludlow he beat Solomon Grey by 17L, but he would have needed the run. We would have learned more at Cheltenham but sadly he fell at the first. I won't be backing him, but he is clearly one of the possible winners. Steely Addition - Just hasn't been in the same form as he was last season and the Perth form has been shown up big time in recent days. The Kelso win last year he only beat Graasten so I just can't see him being good enough. Vaucelet - Didn't think he was overly impressive when winning at 4/9 last year, but he got the job done in the end beating Law Of Gold by 4L. He was ante-post favourite for Cheltenham on the back of that and was sent off favourite on the day, but he just didn't see it out when finishing 7th beaten 10L. I suspect a lack of a recent run, he hadn't run since wining at Down Royal on Boxing Day, didn't really help, but the trainers horses all seemed to have an issue at the time. He then went to Punchestown where I thought he would win, but fair play to Its On The Line who just kept finding and finding and he couldn't get past. After that it was another match up against Billaway at Downpatrick, but he jumped terribly and I thought his jockey made a strange move to go and take up the running. That just seemed to leave him as a sitting duck for Billaway to go past and score comfortably. I wondered if he would come over after that, but I guess as its the end of the season they may as well take their chance and he is 2/2 here having won the 2021 John Corbet. Wagner - Was outclassed at Aintree and will be the same story here. Singapore Saga - A very likeable mare who has had a good season having won a hunter chase at Exeter when outstaying Viroflay on soft ground. She was put in her place by Shantou Flyer and was then only 3rd in the mares race at Cheltenham and those two efforts suggest that this should be too tough for her. Verdict - I am really confident that Law Of Gold can get his crown back off Vaucelet tonight. He was so good at Cheltenham and that should leave him spot on for this. Crucially he comes here on the back of a better run and he has had fewer runs so should be fresher. I would have him as favourite. Vaucelet just seems to be making heavy weather of things this season although he is a danger. I'm not sure what Secret Investor has achieved in his 3 wins this season, but again I respect his claims. If there is to be one at a bigger price hitting the frame, then the selections stablemate could be it as Clara Sorrento has shown good form in points this season. 7.35 Cat Tiger - Non runner for the 2nd year running. I K Brunel - Had nothing go right at Cheltenham or Aintree where he pecked on landing at Cheltenham and unseated Izzie and then at Aintree he was brought down. Not surprisingly he won a match at 1/8 at a point 4 weeks ago which old us nothing, but the crucial piece of form in regards to this race is the win at Taunton where he beat Not That Fuisse. Now he got the best ride in the race, but even so he was well on top at the line so there was every chance he was the best horse in the race anyway. This test should be ideal for him and he is a leading contender. Caryto Des Brosses - I bet connections were delighted that the handicapper decided to put him down 4lbs for his 2nd at Cheltenham to Fier Jaguen. They had said that this race would be the target after that one and I have to say I think he looks the best handicapped horse in the race. He nearly won the big race here in 2019 when just pipped by Wonderful Charm and the year before he had won over this trip on this night in really good style. As evidenced by his 2nd to Dandy Dan at Cheltenham last year he hasn't been the strongest stayer at further than 3m, but he's a real strong traveling horse whose best trip is probably this one. He won on his return this season at Southwell, but the ground went against him at Newbury. He dotted up at Garthorpe just before the Cheltenham 2nd where he proved the drop down in trip to 2m wasn't a bad thing, he was just beaten by one of the best pointers around right now. If he doesn't go close to winning I will be shocked. Zamparelli - Was 2nd beaten a neck in this 2 years ago and then went one better last year when winning very easily and he has never been out of the first 2 now in 5 runs here. The big problem for him is that he has only managed to have two starts this year and he pulled up both times. A lack of a recent run is a big concern for me and there is no doubt that this race is much stronger than last years so he has a tough task for me. Peacocks Secret - Trained by Dale Peters who rides Caryto Des Brosses which suggests to me he knows who has the better chance. Was 3rd in this last year behind Zamparelli. Was a well beaten 3rd behind Bennys King at Fakenham on Gold Cup day, but has won a point since at Higham although more needed in this for me. Sixteen Letters - I think he has the potential to be well handicapped as well, but I do worry slightly if he is quite as good as he was. To be fair he was never going to beat Famous Clermont first up on New Years Day and then he was a good 2nd to Viroflay who is better than he has been able to show in his hunter chases to date. He then had a simple take to win a point before falling in the Aintree Foxhunters. What concerns me is his attitude in his two runs last month as he has hung both times. He won the first of them, but was 2nd last time beaten 7L. On last season's form he would be thrown in off 110, but I wouldn't be so confident about that on this season's form. Santon - I guess you could argue given how close he got to Time Leader at Leicester that he is well handicapped even allowing for the fact he is 5lbs out of the handicap, but I'm not so sure myself. He never got into the race at Cheltenham as he found it happening a bit too quick for him and the step up in trip will help, but I think Caryto Des Brosses will have the beating of him again at these weights. Verdict - An unique contest on the calendar as it is the only handicap hunter chase of the season. As soon as they mentioned this race for Caryto Des Brosses after he was 2nd at Cheltenham I thought it was the ideal race for him and I can see him making all. I will have a saver on Sixteen Letters as he could well be the next best handicapped horse in the race off a mark of 110. I K Brunel would be next best. 8.05 Raleagh Flora - She had a very simple task in the end at Fakenham last time as I'm not sure any of the others really ran their races in the ground, but even so she won by 49L and you can't knock a winning margin like that. She had disappointed in a handicap at Sedgefield off 95 in February, but that was her first run since June 21 where she had finished a 4L 2nd to Kaproyale. Clearly the move to Andrew Pennock's yard has improved her though because the Restricted win at Godstone hinted that might be the case. The quicker ground shouldn't be an issue based on her efforts in 2021 and she's got a really strong chance in this. Between You And Me - Took 6 goes at trying to win a Restricted and ten only won a slowly run 4 runner race. On his next start he was stuffed 35L in a 4 runner Intermediate. Would be a surprise winner for me. Captain Biggles - Used to be trained by Olly Murphy and back in November 2021 finished a 0.5L 2nd to Time Leader in a novice handicap hurdle when he was rated 118 and the winner just 94. He showed ability over hurdles, but was a bit disappointing on his one chase start to date last year at Uttoxeter. Olly recommended him to the Ellis' to send pointing and it has worked a treat for the horse. Initially connections were a bit disappointed he was beaten on his debut for them at Chaddesley Corbett over Christmas, but he was beaten by a good horse and the 3rd has done well since as well with none of the other 9 runners finishing the course. He duly won his maiden on his next start at Garthorpe by 10L, the following month he won his restricted by 6L at Brafield and then was well on top when winning a conditions race at Fakenham. He looks progressive and has done it all very easily so far. Fortunes Hill - A little bit of a dark horse because he has only run 3 times. He was a close 4th on his debut in an Irish point last May and then he won a 3 runner restricted at Thorpe Lodge on Easter Monday. He won easily, but it was a very weak contest. He then ran in a conditions race at Charm Park and was beaten 7L into 2nd. It wasn't a strong race though and Pillowman who was 7L further back in 4th was stuffed at Cartmel on Monday to give some idea as to what sort of form we are dealing with. Like I say though given he has only run 3 times there might be scope for better, but for me the form he's shown leaves him with a fair bit to find. Marton Abbey - Somehow went off just 7/1 to beat Time Leader over course and distance and was duly stuffed 61L. He's been beaten in two restricted's since and they suggest he shouldn't be good enough to win this. Minella Jab - Pulled up on his only start in Ireland in November 21, but has looked fairly promising in 3 starts so far. He won his maiden with ease over Easter and then won his restricted at the start of last month. Neither races were over strong and I would say his best piece of form was when he was a 3L 2nd to a horse called Ed The Red 3 weeks ago because that horse has had a very good season. A bold showing wouldn't surprise. Mountain Assault - Clearly had his problems as he wasn't seen in 2022 after he won his maiden in May 2021. On his return though he just won his restricted at Garthorpe in February and then took his Hunt Members at Dingley over Easter by 9L. He then went to Fakenham and was beaten 10L by Captain Buggles after getting outpaced and given this race is over shorter round a sharp track as well it is hard to see how he can reverse that form. Ultra Viers - Ran a couple of fair races in two hunter chases in February at Leicester when 4th behind Time Leader and then 2nd behind Santon. Was beaten a head on his next start at Kimble and then finally managed to break his maiden when winning by a neck at Garthorpe. He was beaten 7L in his first restricted at Edgcote 3 weeks ago by a horse who Captain Buggles beat 10L earlier in the season, but he helped set a pretty fast gallop with another horse and they had quite a big lead at one stage. The fact he still managed to keep going for 2nd deserves a bit of credit. He can be keen and I will imagine he will make the running here and could give it a bold showing from the front. Urban Gift - Won a maiden at Didmarton and then a restricted at Edgcote, but neither were very good contests and he was beaten in an intermediate last month. I suspect he wont be good enough. Runwiththetide - Was really struggling under rules for Dan Skelton, but looks a changed horse for Kelly Morgan in her two starts pointing winning both in March over 2m4f and on Easter Monday over 3m. There was nothing overly impressive about those performances, but she clearly has improved. She then went to Cheltenham for the Intermediate Final and briefly threatened to get involved, but in the end pulled up before 2 out. I'd imagine this test will suit better and has a chance here. Verdict - Not a race I want to get as heavily involved in as others on the card. I will have a small bet on Runwiththetide as I think she is capable of better than she was able to show at Cheltenham. Minella Jab could go well and I can see Ultra Viers running well from the front, but I suspect one of the front two in the betting will land the spoils and I just favour Captain Biggles out of the two. He was capable of a fair level of form over hurdles in the past and looks as if he's improved on that this season. Raleagh Flora might have been a bit flattered by the winning margin at Fakenham, but clearly it would be no shock if she won. 8.40 Achtung Baby - Was 3rd in a point bumper at Bangor in March when after being held up in last for half the trip he then moved forward and was 2nd with a couple of furlongs left before finishing 3rd. He was 4L behind Thank You Ma'am who finished 3rd in the Exeter contest. That would suggest to me that he won't be good enough for this and he showed little in a 2m4f maiden over Easter when pulling up. Old Guard - Won a point bumper at Bonvilston 3 weeks ago over 1m6f and still looked a bit green so he should come on again for the experience. Hard to know what he has beaten as they were mainly all newcomers, but has an obvious chance. Supreme Johnson - Was beaten 90L in the Exeter version and pulled up twice back in points as well as 3rd after that. Then went to the Aintree version and he ran much better to finish 4th especially as he got hampered and slipped. If he can run to that level again then he has a chance in this. Did wear a first time tongue-tie which must have helped. Fountainspinklady - Was a well beaten 5th in point bumper last April, but showed the benefit of that experience when winning a point bumper at Milborne St Andrew just under a year later. She showed a nice turn of foot to go on and score from Blazing Litten who was beaten 14L into 4th in the Exeter one of these. The winning time was 4 seconds quicker than the other division and she clearly has a chance. Penniless - Won her first 2 starts over here at Charing and Parham, but don't think either were strong races and the 2nd ran out at 2 out in the latter win and it would have been a good race between the 2. The winning time that day was very slow and she wasn't great at High Easter the next time. She was last turning for home at Aintree, but she did stay on to finish 6th about 4L behind Supreme Johnson. Clearly enjoyed the long straight at Aintree so might struggle here if running in the same style. Musique De Fee - Finished 2nd in a point bumper at the start of April. The winner was unsold at £9k at the sales after that which doesn't say much, but the 3rd who was 7L behind her has run OK in a Fontwell bumper since which helps add a bit of substance to the form. She looked very green in the finish and didn't really seem to know what to do as she had ample chance to go past the winner. The trainer won this race last year, but I suspect this one may need a bit more time. Theweddingcanwait - Got very tired on debut in a 2m4f point at Bonvilston a month ago and ended up being beaten 50L in 3rd. Did travel quite well into the race so this lesser test might suit better, but still hard to see him winning this. Verdict - Paul Nicholls has bred Old Guard and it was he who suggested they go down the pointing bumper route. I would imagine he will be going back to Paul after this and he could have the beating of these
  2. We go to Hamilton on Tuesday morning for the next jumps meeting. There are 5 races on the card with 2 divisions of the maiden hurdle, a handicap hurdle, a maiden steeplechase and a handicap steeplechase. It's not the easiest punting card, but we have some very competitive races. Also as Oddschecker doesn't have the meeting up yet these are all Bet365 prices and bigger might be available elsewhere. Race 1 Abreed was a bit disappointing on debut, but that was a hot maiden and he was much better at Casterton a couple of weeks ago when a good 2nd to Killourney having been on the pace for most of the race. Chance the Heavy 10 ground was to blame at Pakenham, but he has won on a Heavy track before so that shouldn't be an issue. Field If Lights made his hurdles debut at Warrnambool 2 years ago and was beaten just 0.4L into 3rd place. He clearly got an injury because he wasn't seen for 101 weeks. He seems to have been working his way to fitness and was a good 4th in the Casterton Cup 2 years ago. With that good run behind him he is a chance based on his hurdles debut. Frankenstar is making his hurdles debut and he won a BM58 over 2440m at Geelong a month ago. He did win a hurdles trial at Terang just before and jumped well in that and although he was 6th in a trial at Warrnambool a couple of weeks ago he wasn't really asked for an effort. King's Charisma ran well to finish 2nd to Pure Deal at Warrnambool on his hurdles debut and he has won a trial back there since. He lost to Pure Deal that day and whilst he was beaten last week at Sandown I still think that was a good effort. Saint Eustace was 5th when Pure Deal was 3rd at Pakenham on his hurdles debut and hasn't been seen anywhere since. His trainer/jockey said he would look to ride him closer to the pace in future and given his flat form it would be no surprise if he improved from that effort. The last one to consider is The Rattlin' Bog who was beaten 8L by Teofilo Star into 2nd place on his hurdles debut at Warrnambool. That's looking a good run given how impressive Teofilo Star was at Sandown last week. I think this is a tough race to call as you can make a case for any of the above, but I think at the prices Saint Eustace is worth a small bet. He has top class flat form and it was a solid debut at Pakenham last time. If Pateman rides him closer to the pace then I am expecting improvement to come. Saint Eustace 1pt @ 6/1 with Bet365 Race 2 Australian middle distance flat racing often gets rubbished on Twitter by people who know little about it and they always highlight something like Zaaki suddenly winning Group 1's. What they don't realise is numerous horses go from here to Australia and the vast majority don't do very much and Dashing Willoughby is firmly in the later camp. He won the Group 3 Henry II Stakes in July 2020 at Sandown and was sent over for the Caulfield Cup and the Melbourne Cup. He was last at Caulfield and beat 2 home at Flemington. In 11 runs since he has been terrible and not beaten very many horses. I watched his last hurdles trial, and he didn't jump well to start with, but got better the longer the trial went on. It will be interesting to see how he gets on, but it is no surprise that True Marvel is the long odds on favourite. 2 starts back he finished 2nd in the Group 1 Sydney Cup at 150/1. That clearly was a huge run and he was OK last time when 8th in the Andrew Ramsden. I liked the way he jumped in his hurdle trial at Terang. He's too short to have a bet on, but he really should be winning this based on his flat form. Race 3 I guess there is a chance Bell Ex One has gone the wrong way and I can't be as confident as I was ahead of his Casterton run, but he has to be the bet here. Just to remind people that he finished 3rd in last year's Fred Winter at Cheltenham and was superb in his hurdles debut in Oz last August. For me the Casterton effort looked a fitness run and hopefully he can show how good he is here. Even with top weight he will win this if at his best. Post Guillaume is favourite, but he's been a bit disappointing the last twice and I want to see more before he is of interest. Twin Spinner is fairly consistent and although he was a well beaten 3rd behind Teofilo Star last weekend, it was a fair return to hurdles. If Abreed wins the first then that will be a big form boost to Killourney who put in a nice performance to beat him at Casterton. Even so I'm not sure he warrants being so short here. Bell Ex One 1pt @ 19/5 with Bet365 Race 4 There are only 2 maiden steeplechases during the season and this is the first one. There is a few in with a chance in what is an open race and I will take two against the field. Granted Tom Foolery was really pushed out in his trail at Warrnambool a couple of weeks ago and Furioso wasn't given as a strenuous ride, but he was still impressive in beating him by 18L. I really like the way he jumped the fences though and I thought he ran a nice race last time when 3rd behind Killourney at Casterton. Given Furioso is the favourite I think the value certainly lies with Tom Foolery The other one worth a small bet is Mighty Oasis. He was 2nd behind Historic at Warrnambool in March and then was a bit disappointing when 6th at Pakenham. The run that caught my eye though was at Warrnambool when he was just getting himself into contention when he fell at 3 out. Obviously hard to know where he would have finished, but that was a strong race and he has run a nice race on the flat since so seems in good form. Tom Foolery 1pt @ 19/5 with Bet365 Mighty Oasis 0.5pts @ 9/1 with Bet365 Race 5 Competitive handicap chase this. Riding High has top weight and he ran well to finish 2nd in the Australia Chase last weekend and he'd run a solid 4th in the Brierly prior to that. The issue is he has never been placed in 6 starts on a Heavy track and that might stop him along with the weight. Historic won this race last year and having won a weak race at Warrnambool in March he finished 2nd to Casterton specialist Elvison a couple of weeks ago. For me though this race is stronger than last year's running and he might be a bit too high in the weights to win a race like this now, but he should run his race. Roland Garros would be an apt winner given the French Open is going on at the moment. He has been a bit in and out over fences, but although he was 14L when 3rd behind Tolemac and Under The Bridge at Warrnambool, I thought it was a nice run for his first start over fences this prep. You would imagine he will come for the run and he has won a trial since. Castrofrancaru won both hurdle starts last season and it is interesting they are going straight over fences with him this season. He comes here in good form as he won a BM58 on the flat at Kyneton earlier in the month. He then had a first steeple trial at Traralgon and whilst he jumped well on the whole he did jump out to his right a bit. It wasn't really bad, but against some experienced chasers it might not help him first up over fences in a proper race. I really liked Hurry Cane's win at Pakenham where he beat Grand Annual winner Rockstar Ronnie. He was only 6th behind him at Warrnambool, but he just didn't stay the 5500m trip. He drops back to 3400m here and he thrives on a Heavy track so has plenty in his favour. The other one to consider is Under The Bridge who ran a solid race on his chasing return over 3200m here in April. He then went to Warrnambool and was 2nd to his stablemate Tolemac who franked the form at Sandown last weekend. He was 8L in front of Roland Garros that day and whilst that one does have the scope to improve fitness wise, I still think Under The Bridge has a very good chance of upholding the form. So from those 6 I am going to whittle it down to two. Hurry Cane just didn't stay in the Grand Annual and I think his Pakenham win should make him favourite for this. The other one to back is Under The Bridge who has run really solidly in both starts this season and given what Tolemac did at Sandown, there was nothing wrong in being 8L behind him. Hurry Cane 1pt @ 5/1 with Bet365 Under The Bridge 1pt @ 19/5 with Bet365
  3. Race 2 The Australian Steeplechase is almost a re-run of the Brierly at Warrnambool with the first 4 home all taking each other on again here. Britannicus came out on top that day after a superb move from his jockey when they took the sharp turn back onto the course proper. He won this race last year, but it wasn't a strong contest at all and I'm not sure he's a true stayer at this trip. The ground was pretty quick last year as well and I think it will be a bit softer this time around. He also received 3kg from Flying Agent 3 weeks ago and now he only gets 1kg and there was just 1.75L between them. Flying Agent made the running that day and had a decent lead at one stage before being over taken at that turn. Down the straight he dropped to 3rd behind Valac, but found more on the run to the line to get closer than seemed likely to finish 2nd. I think this trip will bring added to the weight turn around will mean Flying Agent will come out on top here. I also get the feeling he might find more improvement from that run. Valac was 3rd at Warrnambool, but this trip stretches him so he's not for me. There is one horse who didn't run in the Brierly who has to be considered and that is the winner of the BM120 Chase at the meeting, Tolemac. This race is obviously stronger, but he was really well backed and bolted up on his chasing debut. At this stage I still fancy Flying Agent to be the better horse, but it wouldn't surprise me if he went close. Flying Agent 1pt @ 2/1 with Paddy Power and Betfair Race 4 This is a fascinating BM120 hurdle and a really strong contest. The 3 maiden hurdle winners from Warrnambool all line up here and Impulser is the favourite. He was the big talking horse going into the contest and he made all to win comfortably enough. The ex Joseph O'Brian son of Frankel should come on for the experience, but I wasn't as wowed as I thought I would be by his win. Pure Deal won division 1, but he did so in the slowest time of the 3 and he has already finished behind, albeit just, Teofilo Star at Pakenham in April. Teofilo Star actually clocked the fastest time of the 3 winners and I was really impressed with his 8L victory. His jockey can claim which will come in handy and for me he is the one they have to beat. The other one to consider is another son of Frankel in the shape of Nelson, who won his first 2 starts over hurdles. He was then soundly beaten by Circle The Sun in the Champion Novice though when a 5.25L 2nd. Circle The Sun had just got the better of Teofilo Star at Pakenham so on a line through him he should have the beating of Nelson. Teofilo Star 1pt @ 11/5 with Bet365 Race 5 Amazingly given how often he wins Saunter Boy is usually a backable price and he was certainly superb value when winning the Galleywood a couple of weeks ago. Blandford Lad who had beaten him at Pakenham could only finish 4th at Warrnambool, but that race was set weights and this is back into a handicap so in theory that gives him a chance a again. Even so I think Saunter Boy can land this race for the 3rd time running as for me he improved from Pakenham to Warrnambool and he loves it at Sandown. The interesting one is Circle The Sun who jumps up into this company having won his maiden and then impressing in the Champion Novice at Warrnambool. He's only 5 and he might well win one of these one day, but I'm not sure he's quite up to it just yet. Saunter Boy is too short to back on this occasion though so it will be a sit and watch race and hopefully we see another special performance from the grey superstar.
  4. Last race at Aintree is a point-to-point bumper for horses that have run in British points. I have gone through every runner. Achtung Baby - Was 3rd in a point bumper at Bangor in March when after being held up in last for half the trip he then moved forward and was 2nd with a couple of furlongs left before finishing 3rd. He was 4L behind Thank You Ma'am who finished 3rd in the Exeter contest. That would suggest to me that he won't be good enough for this and he showed little in a 2m4f maiden over Easter when pulling up. Cadell - His owner was training him for his two point wins in March and April both at Overton. Comments after the race mention that he has been very slow to come to hand and he has shown that in both his races so far. In his Maiden win he was outpaced before finishing strongly to win. The 2nd has done nothing at all for the form since and sadly had to be put down last time, but the 3rd was Baron Briggs who you may remember ran in the Buccleuch Cup at Kelso last month and showed he had an engine, but jumped terribly and he finished 3rd. He only had one rival last time and did look in trouble turning for home, but he won easy in the end and took some pulling up. That rival though was pulled up in the Heart Of All England at Hexham last week so it doesn't really tell us much about how good he actually is. I suspect he is good enough to win this, but given his greeness so far you just have to wonder if in a bigger field over a shorter trip if he might get going when it is too late. Douglas Longbottom - Had 1 run in a Larkhill bumper last year when a well beaten 5th, but has clearly needed time as he was off for a year until finishing 3rd at Badbury Rings. He was really well backed that day though from 10/1 into 2/1F so obviously he was expected to go better. That was over 3m and he dropped back to 2m4f when he finished 3rd again the following month. He didn't look a natural over fences in that race, but it was clear he had an engine. Easter Monday he finally broke the maiden tag at Cothelstone and again he didn't jump efficiently, but he beat the even money favourite by an easy 10L in the end. This race was mentioned as the target after that win and I do get the feeling he will be seen to better effect without any fences in the way at the moment, so for me he is a possible winner. Fly Awhile Johnny - Has shown very little to date and would be a shock winner. Grandpa's Folly - Was a promising 2nd when making his debut in a point bumper at Brafield in March when a 3L 2nd to Roseburg. He stayed on nicely that day, but he didn't build on that when going over fences in a 2m4f maiden at Dingley 3 weeks ago. Maybe bumpers will be more his thing and if he was coming here on the back of the debut effort, he'd be a shorter price. It's Unbelievable - Was a 20L 4th in debut at Alnwick and then showed wayward tendencies when a 15L 2nd to Take It Upstairs at Mosshouses. He went hung badly round the bend out of the straight and you do wonder if he might do the same tonight. It was a fair effort, but the winner quickened away from him very nicely in the closing stages and even under these very different conditions (Mosshouses is a testing track and the ground was testing as well) I can't see the form being reversed. Supreme Johnson - Was a tailed off 7th at Exeter and in 3 runs since over 3m he has pulled up twice and 3rd of 4 in between those two runs. Tongue-tie goes on for the first time but it would need to work a miracle for me. Wottinger - Looks a bit short in the betting to me based on what he's done so far. Ran wide at a bend on debut in a bumper at Alnwick in January and ended up finishing 3rd. Has been 2nd in 2 2m4f maidens since, both last month, but he looked in need of further not shorter and others have shown better form so far. Penniless - Won her first 2 starts over here at Charing and Parham, but don't think either were strong races and the 2nd ran out at 2 out in the latter win and it would have been a good race between the 2. The winning time that day was very slow and she wasn't great at High Easter last time. I suspect she wont be good enough. Roseburg - Was a well beaten 3rd behind Clover All Over who did win the Exeter contest and she looked like she would benefit form the run which is exactly what happened when she won at Brafield in March. Her jockey said she has a high cruising speed and that he was expecting them to get to him, but she found more again. Her trainer expects her to keep improving and will be an even better horse next year, but she might well land this first. Delilah Bucks - Was promoted to 3rd on debut at Sandon over Easter and given there were 4 horses separated by a length it is hard to know what the form is worth. The winning time was 7 seconds slower than the first division though and all 4 horses were carrying 13lbs less. Maybe she wasn't able to show her true ability because of that, but for me the percentage call is to oppose. Hazels Delight - Won a 2m4f mares maiden in comfortable fashion at Cothelstone in March, but it wasn't a strong contest despite the big field and she was given a pretty low rating on the back of it. The time was slow as well. You always have to respect a young horse from the Poste yard, but I prefer others to win this. Saunton Surf - Only had 3 rivals to beat on debut at Maisemore at the end of March but she did so in dominate fashion. Hard to know what she beat in that bumper, but the 3rd had finished a good 2nd on debut so that adds a little bit of substance to the form. Clearly the trainer knows what he's doing and I did like the way she quickened away from them. Looks a leading contender. Take It Upstairs - Got hampered at about half way at Alnwick on debut and then still looked green in the finish when finishing 2nd. They pulled a long way clear of the 3rd and then as mentioned above she quickened away in really nice style to easily beat It's Unbelievable at Mosshouses. On balance I think it was probably the most impressive performance I saw whilst looking at the videos, but this will be a very different test as both those tracks are undulating and have stiff climbs. Verdict - I think this could be a decent renewal of this race and there could be a few horses worth following going forwards. Take It Upstairs, Saunton Surf, Roseburg, Douglas Longbottom and Cadell look the ones to concentrate on for me. Cadell could win, but he's priced up on connections rather than what he's actually achieved so I'm happy to look elsewhere. As I say just above I did think Take It Upstairs put in the most impressive performance and whilst this will be a different test I have to have her covered. I think Douglas Longbottom is the one that is really over priced at double figure odds as he has clearly been showing plenty at home given the way he has been backed in points. The way he jumps fences though is hindering him at the moment and this test could be much more suitable at this stage of his career. Roseburg is next on the list as she looks progressive and will continue to improve with experience. Saunton Surf just misses out as I think she is about the right price now. Take It Upstairs 1pt @ 6/1 with most bookies (Hills are 13/2 and take up to 9/2) Douglas Longbottom 0.75pts e/w @ 14/1 with Bet365 (take up to 9/1) Roseburg 0.5pts e/w @10/1 with most bookies including Bet365 to 4 places (Hills are 11/1 for 3 places take up to 7/1)
  5. Casterton is the venue tomorrow morning. We have two divisions of the maiden hurdle, a handicap hurdle featuring Cheltenham 3rd Bell Ex One and then a handicap chase over their hedge fences. Race 1 A few of these ran against each other at Warrnambool last week and for me the two to focus on are Quiet Escape and Carisbrook who finished 2nd and 3rd to Impulsar and there was just 0.25L between them. There is an extra 300m to go in this race and the ground wont be so testing, but both horses seemed to stay on well enough and it is hard to split them. I think one of them will win and both are bigger than they should be so I will split my stakes and back them both. Booker Tee was 5th in that race and did stay on, but his jumping was not good and he might need more experience. Killourney was 6th in one of the other maiden hurdles at Warrnambool, but he's starting to look a bit exposed with that being his 5th hurdle start. Abreed made his hurdles debut at Pakenham and didn't really travel at all after knuckling on landing at the 1st. He is probably capable of better, but not sure he can beat the two at the head of the market. A shade of odds on coupled seems fair enough to me. Carisbrook 1pt @ 13/5 with Bet365 Quiet Escape 1pt @ 14/5 with Bet365 Race 2 Vividredsky is favourite for this, but that surprises me a bit because he was very ordinary at Warrnambool last week and it almost seems as if he's been put in as market leader just because he was short in the betting that day. Obviously there is scope for improvement, but he looks worth opposing for me. A couple who finished in front of him are much bigger in the betting although I'm going to look elsewhere. I thought that Fiorente Lass ran really well on her hurdles debut to finish 2nd at Pakenham. I felt she was running on the worst of the track as well and the front 3 pulled well clear of the rest. I'd have her as favourite for this so will take her to go one place better. Fiorente Lass 1pt @ 19/5 with Bet365 Race 3 A slight concern that Bell Ex One wasn't great on the flat last time, but that was his first run since Melbourne Cup day and I suspect he will come on plenty for it. He finished 3rd in the Fred Winter last season and then went to Australia and he was superb on his first start of hurdles at Ballarat where he beat Stern Idol. For me it was the best hurdling performance in Australia last season and whilst he has to give plenty of weight away here he is classy enough to still win. I was very impressed with his young jockey at Warrnambool and the 3kg he takes off will be very handy. Heir To The Throne ran OK on his first hurdles start of the season when 5th and this better ground should help him. Fabalot put a a disappointing run at Pakenham behind him when 2nd to Saunter Boy at Warrnambool last week. A repeat of that makes him the main danger, but I think Bell Ex One can win this despite the weight. Bell Ex One 2pts @ 15/8 with William Hill Race 4 Elvision loves this unique course and distance. He won all 3 races over this course and distance last season including this race by 25L. He did come into this having finished 2nd at Warrnambool, but even though he was only 6th last week he was running in the Brierly rather than the BM120 handicap and it was a perfectly good effort. It was a step forward from his return at Pakenham and I would be amazed if his trainer hadn't been working towards this race. Historic often chases Elvision home and he did win last time at Warrnambool back in March, but that race wasn't very strong and I don't see him beating his old rival here. Two chasing newcomers in Armansky and Rudimental are the slight unknowns especially the former who has shown a little over hurdles. If Elvision is in peak form though I don't see him getting beaten as he just thrives over the hedge fences here. Elvison 2.5pts @ 13/8 with William Hill
  6. I like West Lawn in the 7.40 at Hexham tonight and he was twice a winner over hurdles last year and I think there is every chance a mark of 85 over hurdles is a very kind one given he won off this mark here over hurdles back in June. He has had a couple of starts in points this year and at Alnwick in January he looked in need of the run when finishing a well beaten 4th. It could be there was an issue because he didn't run again for another 3 months at Corbridge on Easter Monday. He was really well backed that day from 10/1 into 3/1 and he bolted up by an easy 12L. He won't mind what the ground is and he clearly stays well. It isn't the worse race you will find for the grade, but he looks well handicapped to me so looks a solid e/w bet. Without Conviction is the favourite and he had come down the weights and started to run well again before winning in good style at Ayr last time off a mark of 94. He has been raised 8lbs for that and the jockey can only claim 5 now not 7 plus he has struggled off marks in the 100s before. Ex S'Elence looked well handicapped off 77 based on his two pointing wins earlier in the year and so it proved as he won over 2m4f here in heavy ground (it was Cheltenham week and I missed seeing him running that day). He was pulled up next time, but has been 2nd twice and won again at Newcastle since. The last 2nd was over course and distance a couple of weeks ago and he is should go close again. Dolly Dancer has been backed, but I am struggling to fancy her. She does have a fair record here having won 2, finished 2nd twice and 3rd once from 10 starts, but she needs to improve a fair bit on her two runs so far this year. Event Of Sivola was 3rd just behind Ex S'Elence 12 days ago, but ran as if he needed the 4m he won over here in November and will need lots of rain to make it a real test of stamina. Skyhill won 3 times last season and loves a test of stamina. Has gone up 7lbs for the last win 3 weeks ago at Sedgefield, but that wasn't much of a race and I think he needs plenty of rain again. Eveque could be a danger as he was 4th in the Ex S'Elence race here 2 weeks ago which was a big improvement on his 1st two runs after a year off. He is 0-14 under rules, but cheek pieces go on for the first time and that might just eek out some more improvement. Another danger could be Robert D'Ores especially if he is backed. He won an Irish point by 16L in December and he has got himself handicapped by running in maiden and novice hurdles over 2m and 2m4f. He now steps up to 3m and goes over fences for his first run in a handicap off a mark of just 79. Now he was slightly fortunate to win that point as the leader fell at 2 out and then the next leader fell at the last, but it was still a run good enough to suggest he might be well handicapped. I will have a bit on Robert D'Ores as he has been backed as well. Eveque and Ex S'Elence are also dangers, but the main bet I have is certainly going to be on West Lawn who if he runs as well as he did at Corbridge will see him bang there. West Lawn e/w @ 11/2 with William Hill
  7. Must admit it was worse than it usually is, but was confident he would have the class to win anyway and so it proved. I don't think he was at his best, but that was a top class effort because the 2nd is a good horse.
  8. Cheltenham Hunter Chase night is here and as usual I have previewed the whole card with something about every horse running tonight. The bets are at the top for easy access and the previews below that. Hopefully it will be a good and profitable evening and Bradley Gibbs might well end up with a 4-timer. List of bets 4.50 - Fier Jaguen 5pts @ 4/5 with everyone apart from BetVictor and Coral who are 5/6 (take up to 8/13) 5.25 - Theshoddytradesman 1pt @ 3/1 with everyone apart from Hills who are 10/3 (take up to 5/2) & Lift Me Up 0.5pts @ 5/2 with eveyone apart from Hills and BetVictor who are 11/4 (take up to 2/1) 6.00 - Marcle Ridge 2pts @ 2/1 with everyone apart from 365 who are 15/8 (take up to 6/4) & Trio For Rio 1pt @ 3/1 with everyone apart from Bet365 who are 7/2 (take up to 5/2) 6.35 - Premier Magic to beat Dandy Dan 1pt f/c and Dandy Dan 0.5pts e/w @ 7/1 with William Hill and BetVictor (365 are 15/2 and take up to 6/1) 7.10 - Highway Jewel 3pts @ 10/11 with everyone (take up to 8/11) & Sine Nomine 0.5pts @ 10/3 with everyone apart from Hills and BetVictor who are 7/2 and 365 who are 3/1 (take up to 5/2) 7.45 - Law Of Gold 2pts @ 13/8 with everyone apart from Hills who are 7/4 (take up to 6/4) & Step Back 1pt e/w @ 12/1 with everyone (Paddys and Betfair are 4 places and take up to 8/1) 8.17 - Solomon Grey 1pt e/w @ 7/1 with everyone apart from 365 who are 13/2 (take up to 5/1) & Fix It All 1pt @ 4/1 with Skybet, Willam Hill, BetVictor, Coral, Ladbrokes and Betfred (take up to 3/1) 4.50 Envious Editor - Looked like winning this race last year as he cruised into contention only to then get outbattled by Envoye Special and I never thought I would see a horse get outbattle by him. Landed the first hunter chase of the season by beating Singapore Saga which is decent enough form. He then disappointed at Hereford before running as well as could have been in the Walrus at Haydock when an 18L 2nd to Famous Clermont. After that run he left Joe O'Shea's yard and ran no more than OK at Ludlow when 3rd behind Fix It All and Espoir De Teillee. I wouldn't rule him out totally, but I don't think he has the class of a couple of these and hard not to have his finishing effort last year in the back of your mind. Caryto Des Brosses - Has been one of the best hunter chasers around when he's not been injured over the years. He was beaten a neck by Hazel Hill on this card in 2019 and then lost out by the same margin in the Stratford Foxhunters to Wonderful Charm. He then only had 1 run in 2020 and 2021, but returned last year in good form and looked the winner on this card last year until Dandy Dan came through with a late run to beat him. This year he returned with a solid win at Southwell, before running below par at Newbury when 5th behind Lift Me Up. I think the ground was the big issue that day though and I'm prepared to look over that effort. He had a perfect prep for this when bolting up at Garthorpe a couple of weeks ago in a quick time. It is interesting they are dropping him back to 2m and he was certainly speedy enough for 2m4f in his younger days and I think he will be fine over it. Santon - Looks like he doesn't really stay 3m as he was beaten at Garthorpe a couple of times a year ago in Opens and in his last run he was beaten when falling at the last in a 3 runner Ladies Open at Shelfield Park in March. Prior to that though he ran well to finish 2nd to Time Leader and then won over 2m4f back at Leicester the following week. That was a weak race though and he can make mistakes which would be a concern round here. He would need the two leading horses to run below par to have any chance. Takethepunishment - Another horse who has had his issues over the years as he has only run 17 times and is 13. Made a winning hunter chase debut when landing last year's Buccleuch Cup at Kelso with ease. That wasn't a strong race though and he was only 3rd to Point The Way at Perth following that. Has won both points this season although they backed up my view point that he looks a horse to have plenty of stamina. The race he won last time at Overton took 6m 53s to run and he got himself outpaced between the final 2 fences before staying on to win. So I have a big concern about the trip and I doubt he would be good enough anyway. Famoso - Ran in this race last year when a well beaten 5th. He has been beaten 6 times in points this season and remains a maiden. He doesn't look to even stay 2m4f so the trip is right, but he will be outclassed again. Fier Jaguen - Clearly you all know what I think about this horse and he was a bit unfortunate at Aintree as he just pecked on landing at the 7th which is the ditch on the run to Bechers'. Clearly jumping out to his right didn't help, but the fact he was so bold over his fences meant he just pecked and Bradley had little chance of staying on. He seemed to love the experience though as he jumped a fair few of the other fences with the field. I think he would have been 1st or 2nd if he had remained in the race and whilst I am a big fan of Caryto Des Brosses I just don't think he is as good as Fier Jaguen. His 3 pointing performances this year have been so impressive and in the last two the times he clocked were quick and the speed rating he received was very high. I don't have any concerns about the trip for him, because he has such a high cruising speed that he just going to blast off in front and it will be a case of catch me if you can and I don't think they will catch him. I obviously expect he will jump right again, but apart from Caryto Des Brosses is the only horse class who can get near him and I think he will still be more than good enough to win. Fils Spirtuel - Showed a bit of promise in maiden hurdles in the 19/20 season for Willie Mullins, but he hasn't progressed and has struggled in Restricted's for his new trainer. Does run like he needs 2m, but unlikely to be good enough. Josh The Plod - Won a couple of times last year in the South East which is pretty much the weakest area when it comes to pointing. Had 3 starts this season and run no more than OK. Makes the running, but that is unlikely to happen here unless he goes really fast and shouldn't be good enough. Precious Bounty - A solid pointer and his best run so far this season wasn't either of his wins, but his 2nd to Law Of Gold at Garthorpe. That was the only time Gina Andrews has ridden him though which might not be a coincidence. He is another one who tends to make the running as he did at Stratford last time when 3rd behind Sine Nomine, but he is unlikely to be able to do that tonight. I think the trip round here will be OK and whilst he will need the main two to disappoint he has a chance of being best of the rest. Reweritetherules - Was a 14L 3rd in this race last year, but was in better form then so might not be able to even repeat that effort let alone for 2 places better. Verdict - To me this is a match race between Fier Jaguen and Caryto Des Brosses and firm preference is for the former. I have made no secret of how much I think of this horse and whilst he wasn't able to show it at Aintree, I fully expect him to show how good he is here. Most of these won't be able to live with his high cruising speed and for me the only way he gets beat is he fail to get round again. I suspect Dale Peters will sit in behind Fier Jaguen and hope that he can pick him up on the run-in, but I don't think he will be able to. I'd be a little surprised if anything else won but Envious Editor and Precious Bounty would be my picks of the rest. 5.25 All Is True - The Eillis team have won 2 of the last 3 renewals of this so clearly he has to be respected as their chosen runner. He is 3/3 for them this season going through the grades and each time they have bene very complementary about him after the race. He won his maiden and restricted with ease both at Horseheath and then he beat Frisson Collonges by 22L at Garthrope in an Intermediate which is his biggest winning margin. That doesn't tell the full story though because he was in a great battle Lagan Valley until that one decided to run out at the last. I think All Is True had the upper hand at time, but it is good form because Lagan Valley has been in very good form this season and he won next time out. A leading contender. Bonamargy - Did win his Intermediate last time, but that was his 23rd start and if he is good enough then this race has much less quality than I think it does. Camdonian - Is 3/3 since going pointing for new connections, but I'm not sure there is a huge substance to his form. He did beat a Tom Eillis horse when winning his maiden at Charm Park, but that horse was well beaten next time and just getting the better of Red Opium last time doesn't scream winner of this to me. Frisson Collonges - Held by both Lift Me Up and All Is True and an unlikely winner. Lift Me Up - Luckily for him this is a race which doesn't carry a penalty for winning a hunter chase because he is the only horse which has done just that. I thought there was plenty to like about his Newbury win because he didn't jump very well and he showed greenness when hanging in behind the front running 3rd. Drop Flight was flying home to finish 2nd and he was 2nd at Hexham next time. He clearly is a very promising horse, but his jumping round here in a bigger field would worry me. He is named after Geri Horner's first number 1 solo single and her husband Christian Horner is the other owner with her. He has the best form in the race, but on the other hand he is the only one who has been able to show form like that. Clearly one of the possible winners though. Pyleigh Court - Chris Barber clearly didn't see much in him as he got rid after just 3 starts, but he has gone on to win 3/4 for his new yard. The only time he was beaten was 1st up this season when beaten 0.5L by Theshoddytradesman. He was getting 5lbs from the winner that day and whilst including jockey claims he gets 4lbs here Bradley is way superior to Ella Herbison. The race he won last time was only a match so told us very little. I think you have to give him some sort of chance given how unexposed he is and how close he got to Theshoddytradesman Quintin's Man - He clearly wasn't suited to 2m4f when he finished 16L behind Theshoddytradesman and Pyleigh Court at Buckfastleigh in March and he showed that by winning over 3m and 3m4f on his next two starts. Whilst he will get a stamina test here, I do think he wants softer ground. It was a fair run when 2nd at Exeter 2 weeks ago, but this race is much stronger than that one so I suspect he will find this hard enough with the ground not ideal. Slievegar - Does seem to have improved for the change of yard as he's done pretty well pointing this season, but he has been stuffed in the same Cartmel hunter chase twice and it is hard to see him having improved enough to play a part here. Tekap - Was 2nd in the Restricted Final at Stratford in 2021, but that was a shocking race and he's struggled on the whole since including being 23L behind All Is True at Garthorpe in March. The New Kid - Finished 2nd beaten 0.75L by Runwiththetide at Thorpe Lodge on Easter Monday and the rime was by far the quickest on the card, but that race of 4 was the biggest field out of the 5 races and I wouldn't want to read too much into the time. That was the 3rd time he has finished 2nd this season and he pulled up the other time. Theshoddytradesman - Is 4/4 since coming to the UK and interestingly given this race is 3m2f, 3 of those victories were over 2m4f. He was really impressive over Christmas at Chaddesley Corbett when bolting up by 30L and it was the same card Premier Magic and Fier Jaguen won on as well. He stepped up to 3m next time at Chipley and won by an eased down 30L again. I think this was probably his most impressive performance and he certainly wasn't stopping. His winning time was 10 seconds quicker that Quintin's Man in the following race. Last time he had to work much harder for his success at Buckfastleigh back over 2m4f and only beat Pyleigh Court by 0.5L. His jumping wasn't as good as it can be and I just wonder if he wasn't quite at his best. He always looked like he would always hold on though and the 2-month break isn't going to have done him any harm at all. He is the biggest price of the Gibbs 4, but he still has a massive chance. Red Opium - Does seem to have improved of late despite only winning 3 of her 16 starts pointing and hasn't been out of the first 2 in her last 5 starts including when winning at Overton on Saturday. He was a 3.5L 2nd to Cambonian in a race where they were the only 2 finishes. The time was decent and he will certainly stay as that race measured as 3m2f and he ran like needed 4m. Jockey change a plus, but whilst he is better than his official rating of 71 I would be surprised if he was good enough to take this. Runwiththetide - Was really struggling under rules for Dan Skelton, but looks a changed horse for Kelly Morgan in her two starts pointing winning both in March over 2m4f and on Easter Monday over 3m. Nothing overly impressive and at Thorpe Lodge she was beating The New Kid by 0.75L. I always respect the trainers runners and I suspect she would be very well handicapped off a mark of 94, but I'm not sure she is as good as some of these. Vedict - I am not sure there is as much depth to this race as the numbers suggest and for me the front 3 in the betting are the most like winners. I've had Theshoddytradesman lined up for this since he won at Chaddesley Corbett and whilst he has to go and prove he will stay I think he will. I suspect he wasn't quite at his best the last time and 2 months off will have done him good. All Is True is sure to give it a good go for the Ellis team, but I will save on Lift Me Up. I do have concerns about him jumping wise, but that was only his 5th start and every chance he would have learnt plenty from that experience and you would like to think his jumping and his greenness will be better tonight. Out of the bigger prices I am wary of Runwiththetide from a trainer perspective more than form, but Pyleigh Court could well have been slightly under estimated by the market. 6.00 Bloodstone - Finished 2nd in 3 Restricted's on the bounce before easily winning one at Lockinge. Even so that form is below what will be required to win this. Bobby Bow - Was missing for 21 months before a decent enough 2nd in the mud at Ffos Las off 106 in a handicap in January. Wasn't anywhere near as good next time though at Ayr and he was a well beaten 3rd of 3 on his pointing debut at Chaddesley last month. Not a total no hoper on the Ffos Las form, but hard to fancy on what he's done since plus the trip might stretch him. Fairly Famous - Showed the odd glimmer of promise in 4 starts for Olly Murphy, but has really found his form since joining current connections and has won 4/4. He is clearly progressive and this is usually the weakest race on the card, but when you look at the SPs of the last 3 wins (1/2, 1/4 and 1/7) you realise he hasn't beaten an awful lot. Hard to really put a handle on how good he is because of the weakness of the races he's won and I would rather have seen more substance to the form before backing him. Hidden Charmer - Was a 15L 3rd in this race last year and hard to see where the improvement is going to come to go 2 places better. Has run OK this season, but did go from being beaten a length by Forest Chimes to being beaten 13L by him last time. Let Me Entertain U - Nothing of the quality of the other two opponents he faced at Taunton last time, but he was well behind from a long way before pulling up and hard to have any confidence about him. Marcle Ridge - On his day has been a more than useful hunter chaser and pointer and took this race in very easy fashion back in 2019. In 2020 he ran a huge race from the front when finishing 6th in the race that was still known as the Foxhunter then. In 2021 he was a bit disappointing at Warwick and very disappointing at Worcester, but inbetween those two efforts he won the 2m5f race on this card. Last season he started the campaign by beating Famous Clermont at Barbury which even though he has improved since then was still a hell of an effort. He then went and disappointed a bit at Hereford. Maybe he wasn't quite right that day, and he has certainly been a hard horse to keep sound, because he wasn't seen again until this March when he won a Mixed Open with ease at Howick. No doubting that he has the best form in the race and if it is one of his better days then he will be hard to beat. Moratorium - Thought he had this race won last year until Trio For Rio came and mugged him late on. The 2nd to Not That Fuisse was decent at Wetherby and then he won at Alnwick. Not surprisingly found the Cheltenham Festival too tough, but he ran really poorly at Exeter after that. To be fair that came soon enough and he is better than he showed there and I'm sure he will put up a better showing. Trio For Rio - Has won this race for the last 2 years. In 2021 he was all out to just hold on and then as I mention above he got up on the run-in to beat Moratorium by a length. He came into that race on the back of a pulled-up effort and he's not coming into this in great form either. He's been outpaced in his last two races when a 17L 2nd and a 5.25L 4th last time. I suspect though his season has been all about landing the hat-trick in this and you couldn't rule him out from landing it. Verdict - If Fairly Famous did go and win then fair enough, but there isn't much substance to those 1's for me so I think the winner will come from the bottom 3 on the race card. Marcle Ridge has the best form and I would imagine this has been the target for him so he is the main bet. I will also cover Trio For Rio as you obviously can't knock his form in this race. 6.35 Dandy Dan - Great performance to win this race last year under a good ride from Laureen and the 3rd in the Stratford Foxhunters was good as well considering she got caught out a bit round the sharper track. This season he was behind Law Of Gold again on his return at Garthorpe in February where he looked in need of the race in the parade ring before the race. I put him up as a big price outsider at The Festival when James King took over in the saddle, but he struggled to get involved in ground that would have been plenty soft enough for him. As long as the ground doesn't get too soft here he looks the one most likely to take advantage if Premier Magic under performs. Myth Buster - Made Premier Magic work hard to win at Chaddesley Corbett in December when beaten 3.5L in the end. There was 5lbs difference in the weights that day and there is 4lbs difference today so fair to say that form shouldn't be reversed and he was well behind him at The Festival when unseating at the 2nd last. He has won over 4m this season and was entered in the 4m race tonight, but connections have opted to run Step Back in that (the right choice I hope). I can see him running well enough, but not sure he is good enough to win even if Premier Magic runs below par. Poludora - Was 30L behind Myth Buster in February and that pretty much sums up his chances here. Premier Magic - The Cheltenham Festival Hunters Chase is working out very well form wise. Its On The Line won at Punchestown last week, Shantou Flyer won at Exeter, Rocky's Howya has been focusing on pointing, Chris's Dream was running a huge race until falling at Punchestown, Famous Clermont won at Aintree and Vaucelet was 2nd at Punchestown. It was a massive shame that Premier Magic couldn't run at Punchestown last week, but seemingly he has this race at his mercy. The only thing that worries me is his trainer mentioned that he is a bad traveller so had sent him to Ireland early to settle in and clearly a trip to Ireland and back for no reason is hardly ideal. Apart from that though he should be hard to beat and on form he wouldn't even need to be at his best to win. Encounter A Giant - Was well behind Premier Magic and Myth Buster at Chaddesley over Christmas, but has got his act together in his last two starts winning a Mixed Open at Bangor and then landing the Lady Dudley Cup back at Chaddesley last month. That suggests to me he is in much better form than when he last raced against Premier Magic and Myth Buster and whilst he wont beat an on song Premier Magic he can run well. Rebel Dawn Rising - Not had any luck under rules so far this season as he was brought down at Fakenham on Gold Cup day and then he decided to jink right at the last back there on Easter Monday and unseat his jockey over the last when the race was won. He didn't really seem to stay when he pulled up in the Intermediate Final on this card last year and ended up pulling up. Maybe something came to light that day as they are prepared to give the course and distance another go. I think he's got a fair bit of ability though so if he does stay a top 3 finish wouldn't surprise. Trappist Monk - Landed a very weak hunter chase at Fontwell with ease back in March and has since had a walk over and a win at Parham. That along with a win at Charing means he has won 4 on the bounce, but it would be a big surprise if he made it 5 here. Verdict - This is Premier Magic's race to lose and the only way I can see him getting beaten is if the wasted trip to Ireland has left a mark. If he's in his usual form then it's his race to lose. Dandy Dan is clear 2nd best for me though and I am surprised he's not 2nd favourite so I will back him in the forecast and have a small e/w bet on him. 7.10 Sine Nomine - Jumped terribly when 3rd in the Intermediate Final last year, but clearly based on her Stratford win that has been fixed. She was very well backed ahead of that contest and the money was spot on as she travelled really well throughout the race. Her jumping was spot on and she always looked the most likely winner. I do think the soft ground helped because I think she is the only one who handled it, but given the ease of her success I suspect she would have won anyway. If she brings that jumping performance to this race then she has a leading chance. Singapore Saga - A likeable mare who ran really well behind Envious Editor in the first hunter chase of the season. She won her next two points and took advantage of Highway Jewel's fall at the 2nd to win the first of those. She then went on to win at Exeter where she outstayed Viroflay and then Darren Andrews did all he could to try and beat Shantou Flyer over the same course and distance last month, but in the end she was outclassed. Went back pointing a couple of weeks ago and toughed it out to win a Mixed Open. Bare form of that race is nothing special, but clearly has a leading chance in this. Highway Jewel - Was due to run in the Festival Hunter Chase the last 3 years, but in 2021 they forgot to enter her, she was injured last year and then this year they decided to skip the race after she fell at Chipley Park on her reappearance. Clearly that worked out well for the trainer given he won the race anyway, but it also proves how good they think she is. I thought she would have had a right chance in 2021 after she had hammered Hazel Hill in a point that season and she then finished a close 2nd to Latenightpass in a hot hunter chase at Warwick. That year she landed this race and bizarrely she jumped terribly and to her right given she had jumped so well on the whole at Warwick. That has to be in the back of your mind slightly. She had no trouble beating Singapore Saga in her only start last year and was 1/3 to beat her again when she fell. She went to Lydstep on Easter Monday and she made all to win with ease in a quick time. I think she would have been able to win both the races that Sine Nomine and Singapore Saga have won this season and for me she is the best of the 3 runners. They also have to give her weight as she doesn't have a penalty anymore. Kalabaloo - A former winner of this race 2019, but was put in her place by Feuille De Lune last season and she isn't as good as she was back then. Did win last time out at Charm Park, but would be a surprise if she was able to land this. Miss Seagreen - Was beaten 30L by Highway Jewel when 3rd in this 2 years ago and her running style suggests she might have been better off in the 4m race. She was ridden by an inexperienced jockey first time out when a staying on 3rd at Larkhill to I K Brunel, but it was a similar story at the same venue in February when ridden by tonight's rider. It happened again at Maisemore last month when 2nd to Another Venture and given she was staying on in this race in 2021 it seems she finds things happening a bit too quick for her over even this trip. Tangoed - Total no hoper in this contest. Verdict - I respect Singapore Saga and Sine Nomine's chances and would favour the Stratford winner over the Exeter winner. Highway Jewel has already beaten Singapore Saga and whilst she might have improved a little, I still think Highway Jewel is the better horse. Granted she will more than likely have to jump better than she did when she won this race 2 years ago, but that would appear to be an anomaly so I am happy enough to think she won't repeat that tonight. 7.45 Go Whatever - Clearly stays well as he landed the Sussex National last January, but he pulled up on his hunter chase debut behind Shantou Flyer at Exeter last month and whilst he might have needed it is going to take him to come forward a hell of a lot to get competitive in this. Shantou Flyer - Has had a hell of a season given he is now 13. Managed to beat Latenightpass at Chaddesley Corbett in December and then was 2nd to Famous Clermont at Wincanton. He then reversed that form by flying up the hill to finish 3rd to Premier Magic at The Festival to improve his fantastic record in that race. After that he won easily beating Singapore Saga last time at Exeter. Clearly quality wise he is one of the best horses in the race, but my concern is that he failed to stay in this race last year. He had only had one start that season 2 months prior so maybe he wasn't at peak fitness, but I am a little surprised they haven't decided to have another crack at Premier Magic instead of running in this. Cheltenham De Vaige - Ran well to finish 3rd to Dandy Dan in the feature race last year and managed to win a 3 runner handicap at Newton Abbot in August. Returned this season with a staying on 2nd over 3m6f at Cocklebarrow in January to Just Your Type and then the following month again ran like a stayer over 3m when winning at Badbury Rings. Might not be quite good enough to win, but ought to be staying on when some of these have cried enough and a place showing can't be ruled out. Law Of Gold - I still don't know how he finished 2nd in this race last year. He jumped terribly and I would go as far to say I have never seen a horse jump so badly, especially round Cheltenham, and still go so close to winning. Indeed, he looked like the winner throughout the home straight and fair play to the winner for finding plenty to hold him off. He had issues with his jumping ran he ran at The Festival in the past as well so you couldn't be certain he will show an improved round of jumping tonight, but it could hardly be any worse. After that he finished a very good 2nd to Vaucelet at Stratford. This season he has been seen just twice at Garthorpe and given he tends to need his first race there was certainly no shame in finishing a 14L 2nd to Premier Magic. He went back 3 weeks later and beat Precious Bounty in decent enough style. This and Stratford must be his two main targets and he gets round safely he is likely to go very close. Another Venture - Not sure he's ever been a horse who has struck me as needing 4m to be seen at his best and he has been well beaten in most of his hunter chase efforts to date albeit against some useful horses. Did win at Maisemore last time which was a decent enough effort, but has a lot of ground to make up on Shantou Flyer based on the Wincanton run. Desire De Joie - I must admit he is a tricky horse to weigh up for me. He wouldn't be out of this on his 2nd to Dolphin Square at Doncaster last season as he ran a hell of a race to be beaten a short head. He then was outclassed at The Festival behind Billaway and I suspect he wasn't at his best when last of 3 at Thorpe Lodge over Easter. He wasn't seen again until that same race last month and he was last again although he travelled well until tiring late on. The yard do very well with the horses they send hunter chasing so I am wary about him. Just Your Type - Clearly a horse who is all about stamina given his exploits under rules when with Charlie Longsdon and he has shown it again in points this season winning over 3m6f at Cocklebarrow and then landing the Grimthorpe Gold Cup over 4m1f at Sheriff Hutton a month ago. This race is clearly going to be tougher than either of those, but the fact he's a proven stayer ought to see him go well. Kilbrew Boy - Only rated 88 under rules and likely to be outclassed here. Port Of Mars - Was well beaten at Stratford by Sine Nomine last time and whilst this will be a very different test I don't think he will be troubling the main contenders. Potters Approach - Beaten 60L in a point 2 weeks ago and that sums up his chance. Step Back - I have been keen to see him run in this race for most of this season so am very pleased to see him turn up. He is an out and out stayer who likes to front run and it was only a year ago he ran a creditable 4th in the Bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown to Hewick. This season he ran well in a couple of handicaps before not running his race at all at Wincanton on hunter chase debut. He then went to Taunton and made the running before finding himself outpaced turning for him. He stayed on again though and ended up getting 4th beaten 15L by I K Brunel. 3m round their on quick ground would not have been ideal and he then went to Carlisle over 3m in heavy ground and he ran his best race of the season and only just being beaten by Billy Bronco who thrives in such conditions. I certainly wouldn't rubbish the form because the winner was well beaten at Hexham last time because the ground wasn't soft enough for him that day. He was never going to make the running at Aintree, but he got round safely which was the best connections could have hoped for. I think this race is ideal for him because he should be able to front run at a nice gallop and he will keep going over 4m. The only slight concern I have is if he is still good enough to beat something like Law Of Gold, but otherwise I think he has a great chance of hitting the frame at least. Sugar Baron - The yards 2nd runner and I suspect 2nd string despite the fact Gina is riding him. Ran a huge race at this meeting in 2021 to finish 2nd and then he went on to beat Captain Cattistock at Warwick the following month. Was only seen once in 2022 when falling at Cocklebarrow and in 3 runs this season the evidence suggests he isn't as good as he was at the age of 13. The Whistle Blower - Pulled up in the Intermediate Final last year and I was really surprised to see him go off at only 9/2 at Carlisle given none of his form gave him a chance of beating the leading horses and the ground was testing. He did bounce back at Hornby on Easter Saturday and he won on the card for the 2nd year running. He beat Black Op which was a bit of a surprise on the face of it. Given that track is a stiff test of stamina you would think 4m would suit, but he ran like a non-stayer over 3m2f last season and he's hard to fancy on the back of the Carlisle effort as well. Verdict - Shantou Flyer clearly has the class to win, but he didn't have the stamina to this race last year so he is very short in my view. Ideally Law Of Gold will jump better than he did last year, but the fact he still went so close suggests to me that he will go close again even if his jumping isn't foot perfect. We know Just Your Type will stay, but he wouldn't have the class of the other two so would need them to underperform to win however he certainly has place claims. I do think Step Back is over priced though as this race has looked the ideal one for him. I think he can get into a nice rhythm out in front and he will keep battling all the way to the line. The yard has won this race before as well. 8.17 Fix It All - Had shown nothing at all since coming over from France before turning up in a hunter chase at Ludlow last month when a big price at 16/1. He was held up out the back and even turning for home he had a lot of work to do, but he was relentless down the home straight and after the 2nd last I thought he was going to go and win the race. I know that Espoir De Teillee hung after the last, but for me Fix It All would have won anyway and he went on to prove that was no fluke when bolting up over the same course and distance a few days later. This is obviously a very different test, but he is certainly a leading player on those Ludlow efforts. Not That Fuisse - Heidi Palin gets back on top after Jack Andrews took over at Aintree where he ran a very creditable 7th. Heidi gave him a good ride at Wetherby when beating Moratorium although she got caught out at Taunton when she was stuck behind horses going backwards leaving the back and that was just at the time Izzie Marshall kicked for home on I K Brunel and that won the race. He needs the ground to stay fairly quick and I do think he needs further nowadays, but he might well get away with it at Cheltenham. If he has come out of Aintree fine then he goes on the list of possible winners. Solomon Grey - Won this race in really good style last year and has an obvious chance this time around. After that win he ran in the big race at Stratford and didn't stay the trip. This season we have only seen him twice. He was well behind Not That Fuisse at Taunton, but the trainers horses always get better as the season goes on. He then injured himself rolling around the field so wasn't seen again until last week in the same Ludlow race he won last year. This time he was a 17L 2nd to Secret Investor, but he ran with great credit before understandably getting a bit tired late on. I still wonder if he is going to be in peak form just 9 days later, but I certainly expect him to come on plenty for that run. Dogon - Looks like being one of the social runners on the evening as has little chance on form. Magic Saint - Ran a cracking race on hunter chase debut to push Bennys King to 0.75L at Hereford and he then backed that up with an easy success at Wincanton. He beat Diligent by 13L on that occasion, but was value for more. However it is worth pointing out that Fix It All beat Diligent by 29L at Ludlow and I think Magic Saint essentially had little to beat that day. I thought he might run better at Aintree than he did, but he was beaten 55L and finished 13th in the end. You can always forgive a horse a bad run round the Grand National course though and he has good form over this course and distance so another possible winner for me. Ballotin - Good hunter chaser for David Maxwell in 2019 and if in that form he would have a chance in this, but he is nowhere near that level at the moment having been beaten in a match, pulled up at Warwick and then a well beaten 3rd back in a point last time. Count Simon - Had a very good season pointing having won his last 3 points. The last two of those though came in the weak south east area and he finished last at Newbury behind Lift Me Up on his hunter chase debut. Would need to leave that form well behind to have any chance here. Dickie Diver - 1st time tongue-tie, but I am not expecting that to work the miracle that he needs to win this. Funky Sensation - Even though he finished 6th at Exeter 2 starts back it wasn't a bad run given I don't think he really stays 3m and he ran like a non-stayer. He won on Saturday at Flete Park where he just held on to win by a head. None of that form anywhere near good enough to win this, but I'd be tempted to go handicapping with him off his mark of 85 and it might go down more after this. Oistrakh Le Noir - Looked to have the race at his mercy when falling at the last in a point at Ffos Las in November and things haven't really gone his way since. He was stuffed by Viroflay in March and then last time he looked the winner until getting caught very late on. Solid enough horse, but this is a hot race. Paloma Blue - A more than useful horse under rules when trained by Henry De Bromhead and he was 4th in the 2018 Supreme and 6th in the following year's Arkle. He wasn't a prolific winner though and only won a couple of times over fences. It has been a different story since joining new connections though and he has won 4 of his 7 starts. He clearly still retains a fair level of ability, but I am not sure he has beaten a great deal and there are some good horses in this. Arguably his best run was when he was 2nd to Macklin a horse who has done well this season. I wouldn't want to say he can't win, but I am preferring the proven hunter chase form. St Barts - Been well beaten in points this season and looks one of the evening's social runners. What A Moment - Only managed to beat 3 horses home in points this season and this 13yo has no chance. Verdict - I think the winner will come from Fix It All, Not That Fuisse, Solomon Grey and Magic Saint and the two I will be backing are Fix It All and Solomon Grey. This is a different test from Ludlow for Fix It All, but it is no surprise it has been a target for him and whatever has clicked for him has seen a huge amount of improvement. The way he has finished off his races as well suggest that the hill will suit. I've a slight worry that Solomon Grey might need a little bit longer, but he won this race in great style last year and he will show the benefit of the Ludlow run where he blew up late on behind a good horse. If one of the other two win then clearly it will be no surprise. Paloma Blue is very short in the betting for me. He has the back class, but his pointing form doesn't really excite me and we have 4 horses who have strong hunter chase form so he will have to be running to a good level to win this.
  9. No idea on that one to be honest. Could be something to ask Betfair as to why that is the case.
  10. Day 1 was good and Day 2 was even better with both Tolemac and Saunter Boy winning and Under The Bridge even finished 2nd to his stablemate. Onto the final day of the Carnival and after the very wet and windy weather on Tuesday night into Wednesday morning we are looking at very testing conditions and the 5500m of the Grand Annual is really going to take some getting. The other jumps race on the card is the Champion Novice which gets the meeting underway. Race 1 Not surprisingly Nelson heads the betting for the Champion Novice having won both hurdles starts to date. Nelson was trained by Aidan O'Brien and was last seen for him in the 2018 Arc when finishing 8th behind Enable. He was then missing for a year and then ran 8th in a G3 at Caulfield. He then changed yards and didn't run until February 2021 when he finished 5th and 6th in a couple of Listed Races. Since then he has had another change of yards and another massive spell. He had a jump out and two hurdle trials before running in the Stony Creek Cup where he was 6th. I thought he had trialled well over hurdles going into his debut at Warrnambool and he jumped well on the whole that day when making the running and whilst looking in a little bit of danger entering the straight, he kicked clear to win nicely in the end. He then went to Pakenham last month and I tried to take him on because I was slightly worried about him on a Heavy 10, but he went through the ground absolutely fine and was a pretty impressive winner. Port Guillaume is an Ex French horse and until he won over hurdles at Ballarat last August his previous win was in a G2 at Deauville in August 2020 and that came on the back of him finishing 5th in the French Derby. It hasn't quite gone his way on the level in Oz, but he did it well at Ballarat and had Furioso in behind in 3rd. I thought his form on heavy ground might give him the advantage at Pakenham over Nelson, but he was only fair in being beaten 7L into 3rd. He didn't exactly look like he would be reversing the form anytime soon although you would imagine he will strip fitter again. Sky Hero is in single figures and won over course and distance in a Heavy 10 last June and got his 2nd win in April at Hamilton. As much as he's a solid enough horse he doesn't look to have the quality of Nelson. Cotton Eye Joe was also a winner at Hamilton of a maiden, but that form doesn't look as strong as Nelson's for me. Pure Deal (now a non runner) has to be mentioned as he landed the first race on day 1 and whilst I thought Pateman rode King's Charisma too confidently and that he might well have won if he hadn't, you can't knock the performance of Pure Deal and he built on his 3rd at Pakenham. This will be a tough test just 2 days later though with the ground much worse. What I don't understand is why the horse who beat him at Pakenham, Circle The Sun, is so much bigger in the betting. Teofilo Star bolted up in the 2nd division of the maiden to add to Pure Deal's win so the form of the Pakenham race looks rock solid. I do think he was racing on the better ground which helped, but clearly he looks overs here. I do think Nelson is going to be hard to beat and he is the main bet, but I can't help but have a small e/w play on Circle The Sun because I would have him shorter in the betting than he is. Nelson 2pts @ 11/10 with William Hill Circle The Sun 0.5pts e/w @ 10/1 with William Hill Race 7 The big race of the week is the Grand Annual and it sees the most impressive horse I have seen since focusing on Aussie jumps racing Stern Idol bid to win his first big one. He came over from France and looked some horse in winning his first two hurdles in Oz by 27L and 15L. He then went to Ballarat and was actually beaten by Bell Ex One who had finished 3rd at last year's Cheltenham Festival. Sadly Bell Ex One hasn't run at Warrnambool as I can't wait to see him back over hurdles, but Stern Idol has since gone over fences. He looked some jumper of a fence in his trials and he backed that up at Pakenham last month when beating a few of today's rivals with ease. The only question you can have over him is the trip as we just don't know if he will see out the 5500m distance. He didn't seem quite as keen as was last season at Pakenham which will help him, but if he stays he will win. Vanguard ran was the winner of the Brierly last year when just getting the better of this year's winner and his stablemate Britannicus. That looked a great prep run for this race, but he was very unfortunate to slip up less than half way during the race. He was injured in the fall as well so wasn't seen again until this year where he had some trials and a flat run leading into finishing 4th at Pakenham. He has been trained with this race in mind though and he won a trial a few days later. His trainer skipped the Brierly with him this year to focus on this race and it would not surprise me to see him run much better than he did at Pakenham. Crosshill was trained by Jessica Harrington in Ireland and was a winner at the Punchestown Festival a year ago when winning over hurdles over 2m4f. He beat Grand National 2nd Vanillier on his hurdles debut back in 2020 and ended up running the Grade 1 Novice over 3m at the Punchestown Festival that season and whilst he finished last behind Galopin Des Champs he was badly struck into that. He also ran behind the Cheltenham Gold Cup winner at Leopardstown in Christmas 2021 and he finished lame that day so again we can ignore the fact he was beaten 81L. Current connections paid £85k to take him to Australia and it was this race they had in mind. He had 3 runs on the flat and has run well to get his fitness up and there was plenty to like in his trail win over fences at Warrnambool where he beat Britannicus prior to finishing 3rd at Pakenham behind Stern Idol. I thought he was given a very quiet ride that day and he was never going to give a horse like Stern Idol that much ground and beat him. He should be spot on for today and whilst the trip in the ground is an unknown he has plenty of class. Police Camp deserves a mention as he ran so well to finish 2nd in this last year. He ran pretty well in the Brierly and whilst he might not be good enough to win if he did hit the frame it wouldn't be a surprise. Some might well remember the name Rockstar Ronnie who was trained by Dan Skelton over here until being sold to go to Australia after winning a Warwick handicap just under a year ago off 129. He's got a decent level of form over fences in this country over mainly 2m2f to think he could do very well in Australia. I was massively worried about the testing ground for him when making his Aussie jumps debut at Pakenham last month because he had been a non runner when the ground had turned soft over here and connections had been keen to keep him to good ground. I thought he came up a bit short in the ground at Pakenham when 3rd to Hurry Cane and with it likely to be even more testing here that has to be a big concern. Speaking of Hurry Cane he is the last one worth a mention. This ex New Zealand runner has been aimed at this race and I wasn't surprised he came on plenty for his hurdle run at Hamilton when beating Epizeel and Rockstar Ronnie at Pakenham. He looks like he will stay and a heavy track isn't an issue at all. He looks a player in this. Stern Idol could win this and prove himself to be the best chaser in the country, but whilst we have an unknown about the trip I don't see any value in backing him at very short odds. Therefore I will back a couple e/w to try and hit the places at least. Vanguard shouldn't be double figures for me because he looks all about stamina and the fact he won the Brierly last year proves he loves this track. Clearly very unlucky in this race 2 days later I think he can is going to come forward for the Pakenham run as this has been his target race. Crosshill is also double figures and I can't let him go unbacked either. His Irish form is good enough to make him a leading player in Oz and his run last time looked to be all about giving him a nice prep for this. Maybe it is futile trying to get Stern Idol beat and if he does win then I will certainly be saluting a champion. Crosshill 1pt e/w @ 20/1 with William Hill Vanguard 1pt e/w @ 11/1 with William Hill and Bet365
  11. A cracking 1st day with 3 of the 4 winners and I felt that if the horse in the 1st had been given a better ride he would have won as well. Day 2 sees a very competitive BM120 Chase and the feature hurdle of the week the Galleywood. Race 4 I don't think I have seen a BM120 have a maximum field since I started betting on Aussie jumps racing so this feels a bit unusual for me. Tolemac has been very well backed in the early markets as he makes his chasing debut. He was fairly consistent over hurdles last season just winning the once at Hamilton on a Heavy 10 track so we know he will handle the ground. He's had a couple of solid runs on the flat for fitness and he jumped like a pro in his trial here a few days ago. I suspect he has been lined up for this given connections. His train has a strong hand though and Count Zero is next in the betting. He took the opening chase of the season at Terang when I took him on because I didn't like how he jumped in his trials, but he still just about managed to beat So Belafonte. He jumped terribly again to start with in the trial here last month behind Roland Garros, but he did improve as the trial went on. I suspect he will need to improve on that to take this especially off top weight. Speaking of Roland Garros he is also near the head of the market. He won on his chasing debut at Coleraine last August when going well clear and just holding on. It will be interesting to see if similar tactics are used here as I just wonder if he will see the trip out in this ground if he does. He disappointed a couple of weeks after that win when pulling up at Ballarat. Under The Bridge is the 3rd Wilde runner and I fancied him to win at Hamilton on his chasing return, but in the end he failed to see the race out well enough have travelled nicely into contention having been held up out the back. He should come on for that and he has won here on a Heavy 10 surface as well. I think he has the form to go well in this as well. Lord Pierro looks the other one to consider and he was even more impressive at his fences than Tolemac in the same trial here a couple of weeks ago. The problem is Tolmac did have more speed for him on the flat and I do wonder if he is going to have the ability at this stage to win a race like this. He's only 5 and only had 10 races and the testing ground is an unknown as well, but his jumping will likely take him a long way. I'd be a bit surprised if anything else was able to win. The money for Tolemac is really interesting and I loved the way he trialed so I will have him as the main bet. I will also cover his stablemate Under The Bridge who should come on for the 2nd at Hamilton and at least we know conditions and track will hold no fear for him. Tolemac 1pt @ 3/1 with Bet365 Under The Bridge 0.5pts @ 6/1 with Paddy Power and Betfair Race 6 Saunter Boy won all 5 hurdle races he ran in last season including just getting up to win this contest. I thought he would cope with giving a huge amount of weight away to his rivals at Pakenham last month, but he couldn't quite see off Blandford Lad on the run to the line. Given this isn't a handicap he doesn't have to give anywhere near as much weight away to the 6 of the horses who ran that day and are also running in this. Based on that he really ought to have the beating of them. He is odds on, but he deserves to be odds on and I think he is still value at the current odds. Saunter Boy 3pts @ 17/20 with Bet365
  12. Really looking forward to the next 3 days of action at Warrnambool and the jumping action looks full of quality which is great to see. Tomorrow sees 3 divisions of the maiden hurdle and the feature is the Brierly which looks a high class and open renewal. Race 1 King's Charisma was trained by David O'Meara in this country and was a useful handicapper as well. Current connections paid £170k for him and whilst he's been running OK they would probably be a little disappointed that all he's done is win a Horsham Cup whilst in Oz. He's had 3 hurdle trials which have been fairly quiet, but he jumps well enough and flat wise he is the best of these. Vividredsky was 2nd in a BM70 at Moonee Valley in February so also has a fair level of ability, but he hasn't won for over 800 days. He didn't run very well on the flat last time, but did win a hurdles trial prior to that. His jumping wasn't great to start with, but he did warm to the task. Pure Deal was 3rd on hurdles debut last time at Pakenham and it was a solid enough run, but I do sense that King's Charisma would have been good enough to win that maiden. Summerhill looks a big price as he was better at Pakenham on his 2nd hurdles start when 3rd in the other maiden. King's Charisma's connections will be hoping for a strong carnival and I think he can get them off to a get start given his flat class and I saw enough in his trials to think he is good enough to win this. King's Charisma 1pt @ 5/2 with Paddy Power and Betfred Race 2 Teofilo Star is the favourite here on the back of a very good hurdles debut at Pakenham. Not sure this race is any stronger than that and with him racing in the worst part of the track down the home straight he was probably a bit unlucky not to have won. Maher & Eustace have a couple in this and Reserve Street is the more fancied one in the market. He's solid enough on the flat and runs in a lot of the Cups at the Country tracks. I wasn't a fan of his jumping though in his last trial recently and that puts me off here. Aquileon is the other one from the stable and he had 4 starts for Roger Varian in 2020 without success. He's won 3 races in Oz and I did prefer his trial to his stablemates. Half Mast is interesting as he is a rare horse who has never run in a race before going jumping. His trial wasn't bad last time so he might be OK. Killourney managed a couple of placings in maiden hurdles last year and might be capable of better this time around. He is quite short, but Teofilo Star does look the most likely winner for me with him being a bit unfortunate not to win at Pakenham. I don't think this race is any stronger so will take him to go one better. Teofilo Star 2pts @ 5/4 with William Hill and Coral Race 3 Impulsar has been the big talking horse ahead of this as Eustace put it up as a horse to follow on Saturday. There was plenty to like in his hurdles trial at Terang as he jumped well on the whole and wasn't extended at all as he allowed the winner to go past him. He did start life in Ireland with Joseph O'Brian and won on his 2nd start just 12 days after making his debut in October 2021. He went to Australia after that and has done well winning another 3 races in just 6 starts. He's by Frankel and he could turn into a top jumper. His stablemate Carisbrook might be the main danger as he has looked good in his trials, but clearly connections think Impulsar is the one to be with and I think he is going to be hard to beat. Impulsar 2pts @ Evs with Paddy Power, Betfair, William Hill and Coral Race 6 The feature race on day 1 is the Brierly and it is a cracking line up. Flying Agent has a cracking record over course and distance as he is 3/4 and he has a great record on a heavy track should they get lots of rain. He landed the Thackeray Chase here last July in really good style. He went on to win the Crisp Steeplechase at Sandown the following month and had Valac back in 3rd. After that he was beaten just 0.85L into 3rd in the Grand National Chase at Ballarat. He has had a great prep run on the flat at Bendigo early this month and he then put in a very impressive trial here on April 21st. He has a big chance. Inayforhay has only had one start over fences, but that was a win in the 2021 Grand National Chase so it was an impressive one. He then missed the whole of 2022 jumps wise and didn't return until November. He won at Bendigo in December and then he had another spell for 14 weeks. His flat run last month at Stawell looked a perfect prep for going back over fences, but I do wonder if he will need further. Even so he is still a possible winner here. Like Inayforhay, St Arnicca took last season's Grand National Chase on his chasing debut. He had shown good hurdling form prior to that having finished 2nd in the Grand National Hurdle. He's not shown a great deal so far on the flat this prep and was just fair in a trial on April 21st. Again, another with a chance, but he might need further. Riding High has a very good jumps record winning 5 times for 11 starts and won on his last start over fences which came at Pakenham last April. Obviously injured after that and has had 4 flat starts plus a couple of trials this year to prepare for this. Another one with a chance, but I just wonder if he will be quite good enough. Bee Tee Junior is a gallant old timer who ran well behind Stern Idol at Pakenham last time. I can see him running well, but I would be a little surprised if he was quite good enough. Britannicus ran a huge race in this last year and it was a great battle between him and Vanguard who just got up in the final few yards to beat his stablemate. He build up a big lead and he didn't handle the bend well after the Tozer Road crossing which probably cost him. He won the Australian Chase after that, but then finished lame after the Thackeray so was spelled. He has had a couple of flat runs and a few trials as a prep for this and his last trial here was very good last the other day. I don't think he wants it very wet, but otherwise he has a good chance. Valac is favourite at the time of writing and he was bang in contention in this race last year when falling at out. He then fell again at Sale, but finally won again at Pakenham in testing ground. He was 3rd behind Flying Agent in the Crisp and then 4th in the Grand National Steeplechase. I suspect he didn't quite stay in those two races and this trip is much more suitable. Sure to go close again if his jumping holds up, but I'm not sure I would have him as favourite. We saw a fantastic race last year and this looks a wide open and classy affair. I am going to go with Flying Agent to win as he has a great record here and looks to have returned in great form based on his flat run and his trial. I would make him favourite myself. All the horses I have named above have some sort of chance, but I will cover Britannicus as well. It was a huge run in this last year and as long as the going doesn't get too testing I think he will be primed to run a big race. Flying Agent 1pt @ 11/4 with William Hill Britannicus 0.5pts @ 6/1 with most bookies
  13. A very dramatic afternoon. Given we should have been in them with ease to then do it in the way we did was just incredible. As for Kiddie it is amazing as well given how poor you have been for most of the season. It sums the league up though because so many of the sides that were in play-off contention today have been pretty bad for a lengthy spell at one time or another. Whatever happens though I am just delighted we are in them.
  14. 14 more points to add to the total after Fylde do the business (to win me a lot of money if you were following on Twitter!) and Kings Lynn finish 2nd which makes it a return of 85.25 to give a profit of 55 points. Quite a staggering return in what has been a rollercoaster few weeks where Tamworth especially looked like they had blown it.
  15. Yes I remember 5 years ago as well sorry didn't get chance to post as was so focused on Fylde winning the league to top 5 years ago and my own side Gloucester making the play-offs
  16. I rarely tip in Irish hunter chases, but we have the big one at Punchestown this evening and after the shambles of Premier Magic and Shantou Flyer not being allowed to run, we have an all-Irish affair. We have 4 runners from Cheltenham with the 2nd Its On The Line, 5th Chris's Dream, 7th Vaucelet and Billaway who fell. The last two finished 2nd and 1st in this last year and whilst a mistake at the last didn't help Vaucelet, I still think Billaway would have won. I think Vaucelet can get his revenge here though and looks the most likely winner to me. Going into Cheltenham I was concerned with the fact he hadn't run since Boxing Day and I think that told late on. Also, as we have seen the trainer's horses haven't really been seeing their races off and it is interesting to see the trainer say he came back from Cheltenham a bit sick. Given that was the case and he was only beaten 10L it was a huge run really. Billaway finally hit the deck at Cheltenham after so many runs of making mistakes and not falling. He then went to Fairyhouse and was 2nd to Annamix who caused a huge upset. I'm still not sure it was the pace that Ferns Lock and Billaway went that led to that result because Ferns Lock to me seemed to be doing what he had been doing the rest of the season. I suspect that he probably wasn't 100% and as I say the trainer's horses weren't finishing their races off. Granted Billaway might have paid for chasing him, but you just get the feeling he isn't quite as good as he was and I'd be a little surprised if Vaucelet wasn't able to finish in front of him. Its On The Line flew home to finish 2nd at Cheltenham, but this won't be as strong a test of stamina and he has been to Aintree as well where he fell at Becher's after being well back in the field. I think Vaucelet can reverse the form. I also think Chris's Dream can reverse the form and he might just end up being the biggest danger to the favourite. I thought he ran a cracking race at Cheltenham to finish 5th. That was only his 3rd run since January 22 so he may come on for it again as well. His young jockey is yet to have a ride over fences under rules, but he has ridden A Dream To Share very well to win here and at Cheltenham. Willie Mullins was shocked that Annamix beat Billaway and I'm not sure he will do the same here although it would be folly to totally rule him out. Lough Derg Spirit ran a cracker at Aintree when 3rd to Famous Clermont. I'm not sure he can win this, but it wouldn't surprise me if he ran on into a place. I'm going with Vaucelet to go one better than last year and finally give his trainer one of the big 3 hunter chases. I will also be having a small saver on Chris's Dream as there was plenty to like about the Cheltenham run and he could improve for it. Vaucelet 1pt @ 15/8 with Bet365 and William Hill (take up to 6/4) Chris's Dream 0.5pts @ 5/1 with William Hill and BetVictor who are 11/2 (take up to 4/1)
  17. Another 19 points added to the total with Tamworth winning the title today so returns are now 71.25.
  18. Wealdstone v Dorking Wealdstone have only picked up one point in their last 7 games and you certainly get the sense they have run out of steam after their flirtation with the play-offs ended. If there was one game I would have said wouldn't have ended goalless it would have been Gateshead v Dorking although with the home side having an xG of 3.14 it clearly shows it shouldn't have ended 0-0. Whilst Dorking may have had some good fortune in getting a point, it did continue their superb run of form where they have only lost to Woking in their last 7, winning 5 of them. In that Woking game they were unlucky to lose as well. Even though they have secured a 2nd season at this level I still think Dorking look value to win at a side badly out of form. Taunton v Worthing Taunton have not played well in their last 2 games and Worthing look well placed to beat them. Taunton have lost 2-0 to Dulwich and 3-0 to Hungerford, both sides in a relegation battle and in the case of the latter more than likely to go down. Worthing still need 1 more win to be certain of a play-off spot and if they can get 5th then they will be at home in the first round of the play-offs, so they have plenty still to play for. The other thing is they are clearly the better side so even money and a shade of odds on look worth taking. Alfreton v Blyth Spartans A huge game for both clubs as the home side are trying to get into the play-offs and the away side are trying in the division. Alfreton drew against Gloucester last Saturday, but were very lucky to get a point and I was told by mates at the game that they looked very tired. They then went to Banbury on Tuesday night and again got very lucky to get another point. They have had a tough schedule trying to play catch-up on their games and Blyth are giving themselves a great chance of staying up. Their win on Tuesday at Farsley was huge as they are now out of the relegation zone on goal difference on the same points as Farsley. Farsley don't often lose at home so it was a very good win. If they can carry that form into this then I think they have a chance of beating an under performing Alfreton. Southport v Kidderminster 6 defeats on the bounce for the home side and I really like Kidderminster here who look a great bet at odds against. Given how much they have struggled for wins and goals for most of the season it is rather surprising that they have managed to get themselves in with a chance of getting a play-off spot. They have only lost to Chester in their last 10 games and in that spell have conceded just 4 times. They have won 4 on the bounce including a huge 2-0 win at Fylde and they really ought to be winning this which may make things nervy for Southport depending on results elsewhere. Carshalton v Wingate & Finchley (Isthmian Premier) The home side have already announced that their manager is leaving after the season ends on Saturday. They haven't won in 6 games and they lost to Potters Bar last Saturday which takes some doing. I wonder how motivated the players will be given they don't have a manager to impress and with Wingate winning 3 on the bounce they might just have a chance of winning this. Merthyr v Hayes & Yeading (Southern Premier South) Hayes have had a really tough week. They beat Tiverton 7-0 on Monday, then had a cup final on Wednesday before going to Tiverton and drawing 0-0 on Thursday. That's a lot of football and with nothing on this game it would be no surprise if they are flagging a bit. Merthyr haven't played all week and on the whole they have been strong at home this season so I am happy to back them home team. Must admit I wasn't expecting the home side to be such a big price as I only checked Bet365 to start with and they are a fair bit shorter than everyone else. Kings Langley v AFC Rushden & Diamonds (Southern Premier Central) Two relegated sides and whilst Rushden conceded in injury time last week it still continued their good run. They did have to play on Thursday night and lost to Rushall which wasn't a huge surprise. Kings Langley haven't won in 7 games and have picked up just two points in that time. Rushden just look too big a price again to pick up a final 3 points of the season as they have been playing better than their hosts. Nantwich v Radcliffe (Northern Premier) Both sides need 3 points here as only a win will do for Nantwich in an attempt to stay up, but a draw on Thursday night has probably cost them their chance of survival. Radcliffe really should be in the play-offs, but too many draws has meant they are out of them on goal difference going into the final day of the season. That is highlighted by the fact they have lost 2 and drawn 4 of their last 6. I think they can win this though and possibly get themselves into the play-offs. Dorking 1pt @ 2/1 with Paddy Power, Betfair and Coral (take up to 13/8) Worthing 2.5pts @ 10/11 as sent earlier Kidderminster 3pts @ 11/10 with Skybet, BetVictor and Betfred (take up to 4/5) Wingate & Finchley 1pt @ 16/5 with Betfair and Paddy Power (take up to 9/4) Merthyr 1pt @ 21/10 @ Betfair and Paddy Power (take up to 6/4) Rushden & Diamonds 1pt @ 13/5 with Betfair and Paddy Power (BetVictor are 27/10 and take up to 15/8) Radcliffe 1pt @ 5/4 with Skybet, BetVictor and Betfred (take up to 11/10)
  19. Weston and Bishops Stortford both won their leagues tonight and with Warrington having already been placed it means the total returns stand at 52.25 with the total stakes having been 30.25. There will be more profit to come as well as either Fylde or Kings Lynn will win the NLN and Tamworth will be placed at worse.
  20. Must admit I have no idea why Crosshill has been confirmed as a place given the field went down to 7 and I was very surprised to see I had been paid out. I can only think that it in Australia the place terms when you put the bet on are honored, but I honestly don't know. Still I will take it and nice to have Hurry Cane win as well. Saunter Boy was a frustrating beat and Nelson was a deserved winner.
  21. The first all jumps card of the season comes from Pakenham and at this stage I have had chance to look at the non maiden races. Rather handily my mother in law lives in Pakenham and it was chucking it down with rain all Saturday evening and there is more rain planned during Sunday as well so I am expecting it to be Heavy ground. Race 3 The first winner of 1 of the season and I would be a little surprised if one of the ex classy European horses didn't take this. It hasn't gone well for Port Guillaume since he moved to Australia from France and a G2 win at Deauville 3 years ago remains his last win. When he first moved he was running in the big races but was nearly last in the Melbourne Cup and it has been downhill from there. He went hurdling at the last meeting of the season and despite not jumping all that well, his flat class told late on and he was a good winner in the end. This prep he has had a flat run and whilst he finished last he was beaten less than 3L. He then trialled over hurdles and his jumping again left a little to be desired although he did show a nice turn of foot at the end. Nelson was trained by Aidan O'Brien and was last seen for him in the 2018 Arc when finishing 8th behind Enable. He was then missing for a year and then ran 8th in a G3 at Caulfield. He then changed yards and didn't run until February 2021 when he finished 5th and 6th in a couple of Listed Races. Since then he has had another change of yards and another massive spell. He had a jump out and two hurdle trials before running in the Stony Creek Cup where he was 6th. I thought he had trialled well over hurdles going into his debut at Warrnambool and he jumped well on the whole that day when making the running and whilst looking in a little bit of danger entering the straight, he kicked clear to win nicely in the end. He trialled over hurdles again at Yarra Valley and his jumping actually wasn't as good, but they didn't go very quick which I don't think helped. Of the rest Cotton Eye Joe was quite well beaten by Port Guillaume at Ballarat last year and I'm not sure he's improved on what he's done this season. Fabalot bolted up on that Ballarat card, but it was a very weak contest so I wouldn't want to go overboard on that. Given we are looking at a heavy track and Nelson's only run on it was in the Ballysax Stakes back in 2018 when only 4 runners so I guess that is a little query whereas Port Guillaume's hurdles win was on a Heavy 10. I don't think there is as much between the two as the betting suggests, especially on the ground, so will have a small play on the ex-French horse Port Guillaume 1pt @ 9/4 with William Hill, Paddy Power and Betfair Race 4 Great to see the return of Saunter Boy who won this race last year and ended up being unbeaten in 5 races over hurdles last season. His rating obviously keeps going up and he has to give a lot of weight away to the rest, but I still think he will be hard to beat as he has trialled well and ran well on the flat at Bendigo as prep for this. Instigator was solid enough when last seen over hurdles in 2021 before missing 2022. He has returned in good form on the flat in 2 runs this prep including last time. Didn't show his hand in his hurdle trials and whilst he may have improved since 2021 I think he will need to if he is going to beat Saunter Boy. Heir To The Throne was 2nd in his first two hurdle runs last year and then won two on the bounce, but as impressive as he looked, they were pretty weak contests. He certainly won't lack for fitness though as he has already run 7 times on the Flat this and has been running well in decent contests. I'd say it is more his flat runs that have meant he is the price he is. It is hard to make a case for the others and I if he remains in the form he was in last year then Saunter Boy will be hard to beat. Saunter Boy 2pts @ 5/4 with William Hill Race 5 Some might well remember the name Rockstar Ronnie who was trained by Dan Skelton over here until being sold to go to Australia after winning a Warwick handicap just under a year ago off 129. He's got a decent level of form over fences in this country over mainly 2m2f to think he could do very well in Australia. The big concern for me though would be if the ground is confirmed as being very testing. He did win a novice hurdle on soft ground, but connections seemed very keen to keep him to better ground and the vast majority of his runs were on good ground. He was also a non-runner on soft ground so if the track gets into the heavy range then he might struggle. I thought Under The Bridge was going to win at Hamilton, but he faded on the run-in after making his move at about the 800m mark having been held up off the pace. That should have set him up nicely for this nicely for this and given he won on a Heavy 10 last year he won't mind what the weather does. They aren't messing around with sending Epizeel over fences after his two hurdle runs this season. He won first up in a maiden and then ran well enough to finish 2nd last time. I watched his steeple at Yarra Valley and he jumped well enough, but he did make one very bad mistake. I'd rather watch to see how he gets on than back him in this. In the same race Epizeel was 2nd in I put up former New Zealand runner Hurry Cane and like Under The Bridge he loomed large only to get tired late on. He now goes over fences and he should have benefitted plenty from that run which should give him a good chance here. I'd be surprised if anything else managed to win. It will be fascinating to see how Rockstar Ronnie matches up to the Australian chasers, but if it gets heavy then I think he is worth taking on and I will split stakes on Under The Bridge and Hurry Can who will both improve for their runs at Hamilton. Under The Bridge 1pt e/w @ 15/2 with Betfred Hurry Cane 1pt @ 18/5 with Bet365 Race 6 I've been really excited to see Stern Idol run over fences because his trails over fences have been really good. He came over from France and looked like the best jumper in Australia until Cheltenham 3rd Bell Ex One came over and beat him at Ballarat. As well as looking good in his trials he even won on the flat at Sandown last time and it is no real surprise to see him long odds on here. When Bell Ex One and Stern Idol were running last season I did mention that I thought we would see more European horses go over to Australia and as well as Rockstar Ronnie in the previous race we also see Crosshill here. He was trained by Jessica Harrington and was a winner at the Punchestown Festival a year ago when winning over hurdles over 2m4f. When I was looking back through his form though he beat Vanillier on his hurdles debut back in 2020 and ended up running the Grade 1 Novice over 3m at the Punchestown Festival that season and whilst he finished last behind Galopin Des Champs he was badly struck into that. He also ran behind the Cheltenham Gold Cup winner at Leopardstown in Christmas 2021 and he finished lame that day so again we can ignore the fact he was beaten 81L. Current connections paid £85k to take him to Australia which just highlights how much prize money can be won to cover that. He has had 3 runs on the flat and has run well to get his fitness up and there was plenty to like in his trail win over fences at Warrnambool where he beat Britannicus. Vanguard and Britannicus were 1st and 2nd in the Brierly last season and will no doubt be using this race as a stepping stone to that contest this year. Neither of those two are as good as Stern Idol and Crosshill for me though. I was all set to put up Stern Idol even at long odds on, but the value has to be with Crosshill who is an e/w price. His form in Ireland should mean he chould be one of the leading jumpers in Australia and given the flat runs for fitness he should be fit enough to do himself justice. Crosshill 1.5pts e/w @ 8/1 with Bet365
  22. As per the Cheltenham preview this year if you have enjoyed the preview and found it helpful then I am looking to raise some money to a charity close to my family's heart. As some will be aware my youngest son was born with what is still an undiagnosed illness and has various disabilities. Every Thursday he goes to a charity called Small Steps who work with children aged birth to 5 years who have cerebral palsy or other forms of motor impairment, syndromes or sensory impairment to help with their development and my son has benefitted a lot from the services that they provide. They need to raise £400,000 each year to survive. Obviously there is no pressure at all to donate, but if you can spare a bit of cash then it would be great if I help them raise some money towards their total. The link to donate is https://fundraising.smallsteps.org.uk/donation/donate
  23. Just the 2800 words to the Aintree Foxhunters' preview and quite a few of them are saved for the horse I think will win the race. Hopefully it will help you with you selection for the first race over the big Grand National fences this week. Ami Desbois - Had some good form last season wining a good hunter chase at Newbury and then finishing 2nd at Cheltenham over a trip that was too short. This season he pulled up behind Fier Jaguen on his return at Chaddesley Corbett and then got very tired at Southwell when a well beaten 4th. Looks past his best and I suspect he will get outpaced. Bennys King - Has more letters than numbers next to his name, but has looked very good in when winning two hunter chases at Hereford and Fakenham on Gold Cup day. He beat Magic Saint at Hereford and I think that is very strong form. He unseated in the Walrus when still going well at Haydock and then had little trouble beating a weak field at Fakenham. If he gets round he has place claims, but his jumping is a concern and he will do well to be in the front rank as he was in his previous 3 races. Coastal Tiep - Been behind Vaucelet twice and then well behind Ferns Lock this season after missing the whole of 2021. He didn't jump that well at Thurles last time and whilst he was a 17L 4th in this in 2019 it is hard to se him improving on that this time around. Cousin Pascal - Caused a massive shock when landing this at 66/1 in 2021, but was only 5th last year and he doesn't look in the same form coming into this year's race. He has won a couple of points, but he ran no sort of race when pulled up behind Bennys King at Hereford and then was a 41L 2nd to Espoir De Teillee at Leicester last time. Clearly he likes Aintree, but he I can't fancy him at all this year. Dalahast - Been well beaten by some of these already this season and has no chance. Dento Des Obeaux - Was being beaten in maiden hunter chases in 2021 before finishing 2nd a couple of times in handicaps off 104 and 95. Went missing for 569 days before return in February with 1 2nd in an Irish point. He then won a winner of two comfortably, but the 2nd has been beaten from a lowly mark over hurdles since. He then walked over before bolting up by 22L in a maiden hunter chase. As impressive as he looked at Thurles I do think that form is very weak and it turned out to be a real stamina test which is going to be very different to this. Dieu Vivant - A horse who often flatters to deceive as he promises a lot more than he actually achieves. The only hunter chases he has managed to win is when he race has fallen apart and he couldn't not win and he has finished twice again already this season. Whilst I can't possibly have him winning this does look the type of race he could run OK in so I wouldn't be surprised if he did outrun his odds. Dorking Cock - I suspect this test will suit him better than Cheltenham where he didn't really make much of an impact before pulling up. Even so it does tend to suggest he struggles at this level having been well beaten at Punchestown last year. If he could run up to his two efforts at Down Royal the last two seasons when winning and then just being pipped by Vaucelet then he would have a small chance. Drop Flight – Had some useful form in France, but also had some wayward tendencies which he did show prior to the start on his UK debut at Taunton where he ended up finishing a fairly well beaten 3rd although he did at one stage look like doing worse than that. To be fair he has been well behaved since and was a staying on 2nd to Envoye Special before filling the same spot at Newbury. You wonder if the big crowd might affect him mentally, but I would imagine he will take the fences and he can finish about midfield. Envoye Special – A quirky horse who tends to find little off the bridle. He was still able to win at Cheltenham last year when beaten fellow bridle merchant Envious Editor and then at Ffos Las when given a very good ride by James King. He was well beaten by Magic Saint at Wincanton last time though and that suggests he shouldn’t be good enough for this. Famous Clermont – Turning for home at Cheltenham I thought he was going to finish 3rd at worse, but after getting a fantastic ride by Will Biddick, he just failed to see out the trip on the run-in and he slowed so much he ended up finishing 6th. Crucially though his jumping was very good and the best I have seen him jump under rules so hopefully the Grand National fences won’t be an issue although you never know if a horse will take to the fences until they try it. This shorter trip is ideal for him and I can imagine that he will settle in just behind the leaders before trying to pounce late on. If he is over his Cheltenham exertions, then I don’t see how he isn’t involved in the finish. Fier Jaguen – The 2 best horses I have seen from the UK this season are Famous Clermont and Fier Jaguen. Obviously, the former could be seen by everyone, but Fier Jaguen will only have been seen by a few. I was lucky enough to see his seasonal return in person at Chaddesley Corbett over Christmas and his performance blew me away. It was just a staggering effort where he made all the running and to my eye wasn't exactly going quick, but he made every horse in the race pull up apart from 1 who plugged on for 2nd once the jockey saw others had pulled up at 2 out. The ground was only good to soft so it wasn't like it was bottomless conditions and it was a strong field. Ami Desbois tried to keep up with him and pulled up at 2 out, Al Shahir did the same and ended up bursting a blood vessel, Monbeg Chit Chat is a hunter chase winner and he was well beaten when he fell, Muckamore was a mid 120s horse under rules and he pulled up and finally Zee Man, who as has run well in a couple of hunter chases and won a point on Easter Monday, was another to pull up at 2 out. Some people tried to crab the performance because the time, but it didn't need to be for me to know what a good performance it was. On his next start this season at Revesby Park I didn't have the fortune to be there, but I have watched the video and whilst there was only 4 runners he still faced some decent horses in the shape of Dundrum Wood and Pont Aven who was 6th at last year's Festival. Well Pont Aven tried to go with him, but ended up pulling up at 2 out whilst Dundrum Wood was beaten 60L in 2nd. He boosted the form at Alnwick as he won a couple of weeks ago. This time though he wasn't just visually impressive, he also clocked a very high speed figure. In the Go Pointing email which the official website send out for free each week they have a speed ratings section and his figure was 141 and the author had to go back to 2003 to find another rating as high as that. He was due to run in a hunter chase at Leicester last month, but the meeting was called off so instead he ran in another point at Ston Easton and again he was really impressive making all and beating Luke Harvey’s Notre Pari, who won on Easter Monday, by 25L and it could have been further. This time his speed rating was 140. I backed him to beat Gats And Co at Chepstow on his only hunter chase so far, but he was just pipped in the final strides having jumped out to his right for most of the way. Clearly that is a concern here, but he is jumping straighter this season and he wings his fences so hopefully his jumping won’t stop him. What will help is that he will be making the running so will be out of trouble and it will just be a case if something is able to catch him on the run-in. I K Brunel – Was given a fantastic ride by Izzie to beat Not That Fuisse at Taunton, but she was then unseated from him at the 10th at Cheltenham. As much as the ride was good at Taunton I did think it was a very good performance from the horse at the same time. That might be a blessing in disguise as he didn’t have a hard race at Cheltenham and this contest might be more suitable for him. Alan Hill has done well in this race before with Clondaw Westie and he has more class than that horse so he is a live outsider for me Its On The Line – Ran a fantastic race to finish 2nd at Cheltenham behind Premier Magic, but everything points to him needing a test of stamina and whilst he might be running on again as he did at Cheltenham, it usually pays to be handy at Aintree so I suspect he will find himself too far back. Latenightpass – Was 2nd in this in 2021 after finishing 4th at Cheltenham so connections decided to skip Cheltenham last year and just focus on this race and the plan worked a treat as he beat Cat Tiger to win. He has just been kept to points again and was beaten by Shantou Flyer at Chaddesley Corbett over Christmas before winning easily at Alnwick. Last month he made slightly hard work to beat Royal Chant by a neck, but it was only a 3 runner race which wont have helped. On what he’s shown so far this season he needs to improve a fair bit, but clearly he has been trained with this race in mind and whilst I won’t be backing him he has a leading chance. Lough Derg Spirit – Was fairly decent for Nicky Henderson and did have one run for Paul Nicholls back in July 2020. Went missing after that until last February when hacking up in an Irish point. Been beaten on his first 4 starts this season though and only won a 3 runner point after that. Was flattered by his proximity to Ferns Lock at Gowran last time and he looks to have a bit to find for me. Magic Saint – Got up to a mark of 159 when a handicapper and ran OK off 143 on his first run of the season in January at Wincanton. Was then switched to hunter chases and ran well to just be beaten by Bennys King at Hereford, before winning as he liked at Wincanton. This will be tougher, but he travelled and jumped really well at Wincanton and he wouldn’t be a surprise winner. Matts Commission – Won a point last time, but as much as he has shown he might find a hunter chase at some point he has been beaten by horses who wouldn’t be winning this and will be outclassed here. Not That Fuisse – Has done well since going hunter chasing winning 3 times last season and then winning first time up at Wetherby. Didn’t get the greatest luck or ride when 2nd to I K Brunel at Taunton, but he may not have won anyway. This sort of trip used to be ideal, but I think he needs a bit further now and his hold up style doesn’t usually work round the Grand National course. Also the softer the ground the lesser his chance. Reikers Island – Finished a very creditable 7th in this race last year but was still beaten 39L and he was tailed off in a point last time so he is highly unlikely to improve on that 7th. Rewritetherules – Wouldn’t win even if he started now. Sir Jack Yeats – Been 8th and 6th in this race in 2018 and 2019 and then did well handicapping, but it is clear he isn’t the horse he was and was easily put in his place by Bennys King at Fakenham last time. Sixteen Letters – A very likeable and consistent horse, but he was well beaten by Famous Clermont last May and then again on New Years Day and whilst he should get round he shouldn’t be good enough to play a part in the finish. Step Back – Thought he ran very well at Taunton when 4th and looking like he needed a stiffer test of stamina which he got at Carlisle when finishing 2nd. He likes to make the running and I struggle to see him being quick enough to do so and that is going to harm his chances, plus he would probably rather they were running the Grand National trip. Time Leader – Won as he liked in two hunter chases at Leicester and Stratford and whilst they were weak races it was hard not to be impressed. Quite why his trainer decided to run him at Carlisle 6 days after the Stratford run I don’t know as he looked on paper like he would be a non-stayer especially in the ground and that is how it proved. His trainer did cause a shock with Cousin Pascal and this horse is a really good jumper. Whilst I don’t expect him to be good enough, he will certainly run a hell of a lot better than he did at Carlisle. Wagner – Did really well in the early part of last season for his previous connections, but he then found life a bit tough in the 2nd part of the season. Did win at 1/8 at Higham in February but has been well beaten either side of that and is unlikely to be fighting out the finish. Winged Leader – Was very unlucky not to win the Cheltenham Festival Hunter Chase last season when just getting pipped by Billaway at the end. David Christie reported he had been slow to come to hand this season so he has been kept to points so far and he has won all 3. Couldn’t really do anymore than he has, but apart from first up where he just beat Cheltenham 9th Le Malin, he has had very little to beat. Clearly a leading candidate and he’s one of the best horses in the race, but not been a great few days for David Christie with Ferns Lock and Ultimate Optimist both defeated. Write It Down – Got lucky when winning at Cartmel last year as the first past the post was disqualified for losing its saddle cloth and would need even Foinavon type luck to even get close to winning this. Verdict – Ever since I saw Fier Jaguen win at Chaddesley Corbett I thought he could win one of the big races and I am very confident that he is going to be hard to beat in this. His stablemate of course won the Cheltenham version, but I think Fier Jaguen is better than him and he can provide his connections with the Cheltenham and Aintree double. His main danger has to be Famous Clermont and it makes sense to cover him as well because for me they are the best two horses in the race. If he is over his Cheltenham effort then this race looks ideal for him and he will be involved in the finish. Of the others Winged Leader looks easily the best of the Irish, but I’m not sure he’s as good as the two mentioned above. Latenightpass has to be respected given his record in the race and it would be no surprise to see him in the first 4 again. Magic Saint and Bennys King chances are respected as well. At bigger prices a couple make appeal to outrun their odds. I K Brunel should be capable of running a good race and might be one to run into a place. The sneaky one though at big odds could be Time Leader. His trainer has already won this race with a 66/1 shot and Time Leader is such a good jumper of fences that I think that can take him a long way. I’m not sure he will be quite good enough to win, but you can put a line through his Carlisle run and this will be much more suitable. Fier Jaguen 4pts @ 6/1 with William Hill, Paddy Power, Betfair, BetVictor and Betfred Famous Clermont 1pt @ 5/1 with Bet365 and most other bookies
  24. Big day of racing in Australia with Day 2 of The Championships at Randwick and one of the leading fancies for the Melbourne Cup returns at Sandown. Plenty of ex Europeans as well as current Europeans are in action as well. Randwick R7 The Syndey Cup is a G1 over 3200m and the interesting thing to note is that 20 of the last 22 winners have carried 55.5kg or less to victory. It would be a huge effort if last year's Melbourne Cup winner Gold Trip were to land this carrying 59.5kg, but he clearly deserves it given his class. He ran a nice prep race for this to be fair last time and we know the trip and ground will be fine. I'm not sure he's handicapped to win, but I can certainly see him running well and possibly hitting the frame. Him being in the race though means all the others apart from Knights Order have to carry 55kg or less. His prep run came in the Tancred and that race was won in good style by Araphao who has a very nice weight here given the Tancred was WFA and he gets plenty of weight from Gold Trip who he beat. He was only 11th in the Melbourne Cup at huge odds, but he was settled right out at the back and didn't really have a hope from there. He enjoys a wet track and he has to be a player. Joeseph O'Brien runs two here, but clear preference is for Cleveland who ran a huge race to finish 5th in the Tancred on his first start in Australia. He was trained by his father when winning the Chester Cup last May and he then ran a cracking race to finish 2nd at Royal Ascot. It's staggering how he has got in on such a low weight and whilst the draw of 17 isn't ideal he does have Kerrin McEvoy on top which is a big tick. He won his maiden on heavy ground at the Curragh so there are no worries on that front and he has to have a big chance if he backs up his Tancred run. King Frankel was 3rd in the Tancred and got racing plenty soon enough so it was a big run. It is no surprise he is near the head of the market on the back of that effort. A few of these ran last week over 2600m here and I think High Emocean can be the best of them here. She was still in last passing the 600m marker and hit the line very strongly to end up finishing 4th. She was 3rd in the Melbourne Cup last year and that run last week was her best run of the prep so far. We know she handles quick backups as she won the Bendigo Cup 6 days before the Melbourne Cup and she has won twice on heavy ground as it was last weekend. She doesn't have a great draw, but surely must be capable of going close if overcoming that. Cleveland does look the one they have to beat for me as he looks very well handicapped on his UK and Irish form and ran a perfect prep for this in the Tancred. I will also be backing the winner that day Arapaho who also looks like he could be well handicapped on the back of that effort. Finally High Emocean is the other one I will be backed. She ran a huge race last week and can go close on the 7 day back up just as she did at Flemington in November. Cleveland @ 7/2 with Paddy Power, Betfair and Unibet Arapaho e/w @ 12/1 with William Hill High Emocean e/w @ 111 with William Hill and Unibet Randwick R8 The Queen Elizabeth Stakes is a G1 over 2000m and after William Haggas won it a couple of times with Addeybb he has sent Dubai Honour down to try and win it for a 3rd time. Addeybb was going up against Australia's best WFA horse at the time in Verry Elleegant and this year Dubai Honour is going up against the current best Australia has to offer in Anamoe. Anamoe has done me a few favours including in the Cox Plate last year where he won on a Heavy 8 track and he is likely to face similar conditions here if not worse. As much as I really like him though I do think Dubai Honour can beat him. I don't think he was at his best last summer and his trainer has basically said as much, but he knows the type of horse to send for The Championships and he looks to have got it spot on again with Dubai Honour because he was so impressive when winning the Ranvet a couple of weeks ago. He showed a superb turn of foot to put the race to bed and he beat the 2nd Montefilia by further than Anamoe has beaten him by. With him due to be even better suited by the testing ground on Saturday than the Good 4 ground he had in the Ranvet I think Anamoe will be doing very well to beat him. You always have to respect Japanese horses on the world stage and Unicorn Lion represents them here, but he looks far from being one of their best and I'd be a bit disappointed if he won this. Alenquer is a former stablemate of the favourite and won the G1 Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh last year. He then struggled a bit in top G1 events although the 9th in the Arc wasn't a bad effort. He was last in the All Star Mile on his first start in Australia, but I suspect he is better than that and could put in an improved showing. Ultimately though I think Dubai Honour is a fair bet to get the better of Anamoe and the rest. Dubai Honour @ 11/8 with William Hill Randwick R9 The final G1 on the card is the Queen Of The Turf over 1600m and it sees the Australian debut of Alcohol Free and if she is ready 1st up I think she will be very hard to beat here. Her form looks to be above the form of her rivals here and she is proven on heavy ground having won the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot in 2021 when it was really heavy. So 1600m in heavy ground should hold no fears, but as she showed when landing the July Cup last year, she clearly has plenty of pace as well. She has trialled well so hopefully she is ready to go and stall 2 should be helpful as well. Hope In Your Heart looks to be the main danger based on her run in the Doncaster Mile last week. She was in last place for most of the way and had only moved to 15th passing the 400m yet was 4th at the line and it was a huge run. If she can back that up then she won't be far away. Alcohol Free @ 9/4 with William Hill Sandown R8 The Easter Cup is a G3 contest over 2100m and the track is currently a Good 4 with rain forecast. There are some ex British and Irish horses in this and it is the ex Joseph O'Brien trained White Marlin which is the one I like here. He won a couple of races at Dundalk before heading to Australia and he was really impressive in racking up 3 wins at Rosehill, Caulfield and Flemington over distances ranging from 1800m - 2800m. That Flemington win was on Melbourne Cup day and I was so impressed with his performance in that contest that I backed him for this year's Melbourne Cup on the back of it. He wont mind what the weather does given it was a Heavy 8 at Caulfield and it was a Good 4 when he won at Rosehill. If he comes back this prep in the same form he was in on his last one then I think he is going to be hard to beat here with only 54kg on his back. The obvious danger looks to be Right You Are who missed the Australian Cup a couple of weeks ago for this. He has won 9 of his 20 starts including his last 5 and was impressive at Flemington last time. Ex Japanese Sparkle is also respected as she has won her last two races both at Flemington and there was plenty to like about how she won last time. This is tougher and she is an unknown on wet ground, but looks to be improving. It wouldn't be a disaster Melbourne Cup wise if White Marlin was beaten here, but it does look a great opportunity for him. White Marlin @ 7/4 with William Hill and Unibet
  25. Aldershot v Yeovil Aldershot aren't great as one win in 9 would suggest, but Yeovil are worse and with a new manager in place at Aldershot they really ought to be beating a Yeovil side who look to have given up. They showed little fight against Southend last week and then showed even less against Gateshead on Tuesday night as they loss 4-0, a result which was fully deserved. Mark Cooper basically had a pop at everyone in his interview after the game and even if he does leave before this game the new person doesn't have the players at his disposal to make much of a difference for me. I wouldn't want to chase the price down too much, but it ought to be a home win. Gloucester v Banbury We were very unlucky not to get paid out on the Under 2.5 goals and draw bet in the Southport v Banbury game on Tuesday. Having seen the Banbury 2nd goal I have no idea what the Southport defender was doing as the shot was going wide with no danger of a Banbury player getting to the ball before it goes out. Instead of leaving it he decides to pass it into the goal. Anyway, I don't think Banbury will give Gloucester too many issues on Friday. This is a must win for Gloucester if they are to get into the play-offs and they really ought to win this. Gloucester have still to lose at home this year. Banbury's win on Tuesday meant they got up to 50 points and that should be enough to see them safe so there isn't so much riding on it for them. Kidderminster v Buxton Yet again we get to a Kidderminster game where the odds make little sense. Buxton are a huge price here to win this given the run of form they have been on which has seen them enter play-off contention. Kidderminster's home performance's have been embarrassing all season with them only getting 19 points at home and only relegated Telford have done worse. Scoring goals has been the big problem and they have only scored 16 at home. Blyth are the only side they have beaten at home in their last 10 home games and how on earth they can be odds on to beat a side on such a good run of form is just stupid, but then Kidderminster have been stupidly priced for most of the season. Slough v Chippenham A few weeks back I was backing Chippenham without success as they kept drawing, but their win against Farnborough on Tuesday night made it 15 games unbeaten and they are now well clear of the relegation zone. Farnborough did have an xG of 3.57 in that game and they did crash the bar from about 5 yards before the same player headed it over from the same place about 5 seconds later which was a fair portion of that number. Slough aren't as good as Farnborough and often don't create a great deal. Chippenham are the better side for me and look a fair bet here. Aldershot 2pts @ Evs with Betfred (take up to 4/5) Gloucester 3pts @ Evs with Betfred and William Hill (Skybet are 11/10) Buxton 3pts @ 13/5 with Betfred (William Hill are a huge stand out at 3/1 and take up to 7/4) Chippenham 1pt @ 9/5 with Skybet, Paddy Power, Betfair and Betfred (take up to 6/4)
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