Much has been written and said about the defection on Friday evening of Altior from Saturday’s Tingle Creek. The times on the chase course at Sandown on Saturday suggested the ground was no worse than soft and perhaps the decision was a bit premature, but I feel it was the right one. I bet connections of Lostintranslation wished they had pulled him out of the Betfair Chase last month when they saw him struggling to act on the ground at Haydock.
Four-year-olds filled the first three places in the Henry VIII Chase at Sandown on Saturday but Eldorado Allen palpably failed to give his running and I’m not sure what 4-y-old Stratagem achieved when beaten a neck at Warwick by Phoenix Way last month. The latter was never travelling when pulled up behind Allmankind in the Henry VIII and I am looking forward to the chase debut of Alan King’s Edwardstone (1.00) in the valuable Novice Chase at Plumpton.
King saddled the winner of the corresponding contest 12 months ago and the race has been won by the odds-on favourite for the last six years. The selection – 15/8 with BetVictor – finished fifth in the Greatwood Hurdle on his seasonal reappearance but looks the type to make up into a better chaser. Thebannerkingrebel finished behind the selection at Haydock on heavy ground over timber, but the Jamie Snowden-trained runner gave Edwardstone 5lbs and is weighted to reverse the form. He is another exciting recruit to the chasing ranks.
The handicap chase over a near three-and-a-quarter mile trip sees eight go to post and all hold realistic claims. Special Acceptance is fitted with first-time cheek-pieces and must go close, but preference is for Nigel Hawke’s Ballymagroarty Boy (3.05) who was, arguably, an unlucky loser when runner up to Wayfinder at Chepstow on his penultimate start given he lost valuable ground when slowly away at the start.
The ew selection – 5s with 10bet – did not jump as well as he can when fourth at Hexham last time but, if his fencing holds up, he looks sure to run a big race on a course where he finished an excellent second over timber on his sole previous visit.
You associate Musselburgh with decent ground, but conditions were described as soft on Sunday morning and that puts me off the chance of Present Chief in the 3m handicap hurdle. The Jonjo O’Neill-trained 6-year-old is still on a fair mark, but I feel Taxmeifyoucan (2.15) might be better suited by underfoot conditions and he gets the vote for Keith Dalgleish. The gelding – 15/2 with Boylesports – won over this trip from his current mark at Carlisle on soft ground this time last year and he gets the each way vote.
Definite Wisdom (2.45) is visored for the first time and is taken to land the 3m handicap chase for Rose Dobbin. The ew selection – 8s with Unibet – won over C&D from a 3lbs lower mark on similar ground back in February and he is entitled to come on for his reappearance at Kelso back in October.
Warriors Story has run a couple of good races in Bumpers, but he may find this too sharp a test and I like the chances of Irish raider Sin A Bhfuil (3.15). Trainer Emmet Mullins has not had a Bumper runner in Britain – let alone a winner – in the last five years but the form of his third at Punchestown last time reads very well. The opening 13/8 looked too big and the recommendation is 5/4 with William Hill.