Good ground forecast at Cheltenham for the second day of their Showcase meeting.
Jeremy Scott has his string in good form and in the opening conditional jockeys’ handicap hurdle Stormy Flight would have leading claims over an additional half a mile, but he looks vulnerable back at the minimum trip. It is hard to get away from the Paul Nicholls four-year-old Sammarive (1.45) who looked an exciting French import when scoring at Kempton back in the spring.
The gelding – 5/2 with 10Bet – was ridden by Lorcan Williams on that occasion, and he is again in the saddle this afternoon. The horse is likely to be sent chasing sooner rather than later and he does not exactly look thrown in from his opening mark, but he faces largely exposed rivals and could just be in a different league to today’s opposition.
Tritonic is a shade of odds on to give weight and a beating to his three rivals in the 4-y-old Hurdle and he finished 34L ahead of Stepney Causeway (2.55) at Ascot back in January, but I feel the latter can reverse the form on just 8lbs better terms.
The selection jumped out to his left at Ascot and won all four subsequent starts going left-handed on good ground. Dan Skelton’s gelding is rated 12lbs inferior to the favourite on the level but should get his own way up front and will bounce off the forecast ground.
Tritonic had looked a potential star on his first couple of juvenile starts but was a disappointment in the Triumph Hurdle when he failed to get up the hill on ground that may have been softer than ideal. There was 5/2 about on Friday afternoon but at at the time of posting – 8.15pm – Stepney Causeway is a best price of 6/4 at William Hill.
Sky Pirate has been a revelation since dropping back to the minimum trip and only Allmankind has beaten Jonjo O’Neill’s 8-y-old in four chase starts at two miles. He begins this term nearly two stone higher in the weights, however, and may prefer a bit more juice in the ground.
Ashutor has his first start for Sophie Leach and has dropped down the weights in recent starts. He is beginning to look well handicapped and is one to keep onside in the weeks to come. The vote, however, goes to Before Midnight (3.30) who will appreciate this stiff two miles and scored at Chepstow over the minimum trip when last seen back in the spring.
His profile is like that of Sky Pirate, and I hope he can maintain his progress at two miles having been campaigned exclusively over further since being sent jumping. There was 7/2 freely about in Friday afternoon but he is 7/4 with MansionBet at the time of posting.
Oscar Elite (4.40) finished placed at both the Cheltenham and Aintree Festivals earlier in the year over hurdles but looks likely to make into a better chaser than hurdler this term.
The selection – 15/8 with William Hill – receives 8lbs from his market rivals and his point win was gained on good ground. It is well documented that the Colin Tizzard yard were largely out of sorts last season, but they have made an encouraging start to the new season.
Brendan Powell appears to have taken over the role of number one jockey although Harry Cobden, Jonjo O’Neill and Robbie Power are likely to get their opportunities although it is unsure if the latter will return to Britain this winter.
At Doncaster I am looking forward to seeing Mo’assess (2.05) drop back down to 7f for the first time having looked a non stayer over a mile-and-a-quarter at Newbury last time. As a son of Pivotal he should appreciate the forecast soft ground and he represents the inform yard of Saeed bin Suroor. The recommendation is 9/2 with Boylesports.
I presumed the evergreen Vintage Clouds – Cheltenham Festival winner in the spring – would run at Aintree on Sunday in the Veterans’ Chase in the colours of the late Trevor Hemmings who had such an affiliation with the track. The 11-year-old is rerouted to Kelso, however, to run in the Edinburgh Gin Chase.
He and Scottish National runner up Dingo Dollar are big dangers but I am a huge fan of Empire De Maulde (3.19) and hope to see the 7-y-old take advantage of the weight he receives from the top-weights.
James Ewart’s gelding – 10/3 with MansionBet -had his wind operated in August and ran a terrific race following a short break here over an inadequate trip last month.
The Old Roan Chase at Aintree on Sunday is a hot heat and they bet 4s the field in this eight-runner race. My each way recommendation – 15/2 with William Hill – is Killer Clown (3.00) who could not be described as a serial winner but has his optimum underfoot conditions and has had a wind operation over the summer.
Emma Lavelle has made a tremendous start to the campaign and this 7-y-old is another lurking at the foot of the weights. His best form is going right-handed, but he ran a terrific race at Newbury back in the spring from a 2lbs lower mark.
In the 2m 4f handicap hurdle I am convinced there are races to be won with Only The Bold (4.10) off his current mark for Evan Williams before his sent chasing. A winning pointer the selection disappointed when last seen in the spring, but I am prepared to forgive that run. A winner on soft ground previously, his point win was gained on good ground, and he gets the each way vote in another competitive handicap. The ew selection is 13/2 with William Hill.
I liked the way Corach Rambler (4.45) travelled for a long way over an inadequate trip at Perth last time and hope to see the Lucinda Russell trained 7-y-old build on that promising chase debut back up in distance. The selection – 9/2 with William Hill – won two of three hurdle starts last term on soft/heavy ground, but he is another whose win between the flags came on good ground.