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Hunter Chases - 4.35 Wincanton & 5.25 Stratford

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Just the 3 for Wincanton's Hunter Chase and I am surprised that the early money has been for Woodfleet. Yes he did win over course and distance last May, but Unioniste didn't run his race and it meant he ended up with a very simple task. This season he pulled up on his return and I then saw him finish a distant 2nd at Charing. His last start at Milborne St Andrew saw him beat a head by Jack Snipe who was carrying 4lbs more. That doesn't tell the whole story though having watched a video of the contest. The winner would have been a big price in running as he was a fair way back in 3rd jumping the last with Woodfleet looking set to win, he then pulled himself up and it allowed Jack Snipe to go by him. It has to be a big worry for anyone wanting to back him that he has done that. Regardless Southfield Vic has the best form in the race anyway based on his 2nd at Newbury to Master Baker which was a massive step up on his Hunter Chase debut at Fontwell. A repeat of that effort should be more than good enough to beat his two rivals here. Keltus wouldn't be totally out of this based on his 3rd in the Royal Artillery, but he wasn't as good in the Grand Military on his next start which is a bit off putting. 

The Stratford contest looks a cracker with Arthur's Secret taking on Master Baker and Risk A Fine. All 3 have won 2 Hunter Chases this season and there have been some big winning margins as well. Regular readers of my previews this season will know I hold Arthur's Secret in the highest regard and that I am a big fan of Risk A Fine as well. They are both front runners so there is one theory that they could cut each others throats and set things up for Master Baker, but I don't think that will happen. First of all it wouldn't surprise me if James King on Risk A Fine just let Arthur's Secret get on with it, but even if he did try and force the issue I think Arthur's Secret would eventually burn him off. Arthur's Secret can set a ridiculously high tempo and crucially can keep going at that high tempo. As much as Risk A Fine has impressed me this season I just don't think he is up to being able to get Arthur's Secret off the bridle especially based on his Wincanton run behind Monsieur Gibraltar. I know Master Baker won over 2m at Taunton earlier in the season, but that was a really bad race and I think he will find himself outpaced over this trip round here especially given the speed Arthur's Secret is going to go. The jockey change is a plus though.

I am really looking forward to this race, but in my view Arthur's Secret would have been capable of going very close at Aintree last week and he is one of the best pointers/hunter chasers in the country at the moment which is backed up by his lofty rating in this sphere. As much as the other two are good horses I just don't see how they can get him beat if he is at his best again. I think a double on both races is the way to go and at the moment it pays 2.6/1 with Bet365.

Southfield Vic/Arthur's Secret 2.5pts double @ 2.6/1 with Bet365 

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