Thanks to everyone for the positive feedback on Cheltenham 2020 – four winning days is nice although our success somehow feels hollow in lieu of global events.
Still racing will still go ahead in Britain & Ireland this weekend although Friday’s evening meeting in Dundalk took place behind closed doors. That is surely the only scenario that can allow racing to continue in Britain next week amid the global COVID-19 pandemic.
The show goes on at Uttoxeter on Saturday where the feature race is the Midlands Grand National. Top-weight De Rasher Counter won on this corresponding card 12 months ago and his Ladbroke Trophy success was given a boost when the second The Conditional did us a huge favour at Cheltenham on Tuesday.
The each way vote, however, goes to Petite Power (3.35) who was last seen finishing third in the Warwick Grand National Trial at the end of January. The 11-year-old gets on well with amateur jockey Liam Harrison and the pair teamed up to score over 3 miles here back in November. The each way selection is a best-priced 6/1 (from 9s) with Unibet and I would be disappointed if he didn’t run a big race. Christmas In April is considered a big danger but the Colin Tizzard yard had a disappointing first 3-days at Cheltenham.
In the Novices’ Handicap Chase Looks Like Murt has failed to complete in two of his four chase starts, but he ran well over an inadequate trip when runner up at Kelso last time and, if his jumping holds up, he must go close at 7/1.
Harry Fry has saddled the winner of this contest three times in the last six years, however, and this has long been the likely target for Over To Sam (2.25) who impressed when winning at Plumpton on his penultimate start and I feel we should put a line through his latest effort at Exeter when everything that could go wrong did go wrong. Bryan Carver takes off a valuable 5lbs and at 10/1 (from 14/1) with 10bet he gets the each way vote.
In the opener at Kempton I hope to see Fidelio Vallis (1.00) build on his recent Wincanton success in the colours of John Hales whose silks were worn to Champion Chase success courtesy of Politilogue earlier in the week. The selection – 2/1 (from 5/2) at William Hill can be a bit keen, but he finished his race off well enough last time and, if he ever learnt to settle, he could make up into a more than useful chaser – he certainly has the scope.
Dr Sanderson should appreciate dropping back to the minimum trip, but I wonder if he will be able to get past Chris Gordon’s On The Slopes (1.30) who made all to score over C&D last time from a 7lbs lower mark. The selection – 11/10 (from 7/4) at bet365 had previously finished third at Cheltenham behind Simply The Betts and Imperial Aura over an additional half-mile and that pair certainly franked the form when winning at Cheltenham this week!
Everlanes (4.25) was never travelling when a moderate second at Leicester last time, but I was impressed with her jumping when she scored at Taunton on her penultimate start and I hope she can improve for the step up to three miles for Kieran Burke and Tom Bellamy. The each way selection is 5/1 (from 11/2) at 10bet.
In the opening mares’ hurdle at Newcastle I hope to see Stainsby Girl (2.00) finally get her head in front following a series of good efforts. The mare was beaten in handicap company at Doncaster last time, but she gave a bold bid from the front and I hope to see her make all. Connections look to have found a good opportunity although she is now odds on and makes little appeal as a betting medium.
There is a terrific 2m 6f Handicap Hurdle and Sirwilliamwallace (3.45) looks to have been given a decent opening mark of 122 for Grand National winning jockey Ryan Mania and Sandy Thompson. The selection – 7/1 (from 13/2) at Bethard – was a winner at Ayr last time out and had previously gone down by 2L to Nicky Richards’ Marown. The latter is now rated 130 and I believe the selection may have been let in lightly from his opening mark.
Ladronne will be all the rage in the market under a 7lbs penalty having run away with a Southwell lady jockey’s event on Sunday and, if in the same mood, he will be a tough nut to crack such was the ease of his win last weekend.
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