Good to soft ground at Stratford for this afternoon’s eight-race card. I remember being at Ascot this corresponding weekend a few years ago when Venetia Williams had an across the card four-timer despite going into the meeting with no form next to her name.
She has made a quiet start to this term, although Fanion D’Estruval ran well at Aintree on Sunday, but does have several runners in the next few days and the feeling is she is ready to strike. A market move for Eceparti – 13/2 with William Hill – would be worth noting in the 2m 5f handicap chase given the 7-y-old has a history of going well fresh and he has dropped to a mark 2lbs below his last winning mark.
The each way vote, however, goes to Mille Sussurri (12.55) who has the scope to jump a fence and has bits of form over hurdles for Harry Fry which suggests he could be well treated having his first start over the larger obstacles.
I remember the each way recommendation – 10s with Boylesports – being very keen when scoring at Newton Abbot first time out last season which is a slight concern, but he clearly goes well fresh and gets a narrow vote ahead of the Williams’ runner.
The 2m 3f handicap chase is a cracker. Former Grade 1 winning hurdle Reserve Tank has dropped to an attractive mark and ran his best race for some time when runner up over hurdles here back in May. He is a fascinating contender and is, let’s not forget, a Grade 2 winner over fences. He has the potential to make a mockery of his current mark, but I am convinced there are a number of well handicapped rivals in opposition.
Cadzand won three of his last four starts over fences and went off market leader for the Betfair Hurdle in his other race. I am still kicking myself for opposing Third Time Lucki at Cheltenham last weekend and it is possible that this will be another Dan Skelton runner to make an impressive chase debut, but this is a deep and competitive race for one making his chase debut.
Kap Auteuil did us a number of favours last season and the form of his latest win at Market Rasen has been given a boost following the summer exploits of Exelerator Express but that has not escaped the handicapper and he has taken a 10lbs hike.
Le Cameleon may need slower ground and the each way vote goes to Black Kalinisi (2.05) who has his first start for Fergal O’Brien and is on a feasible mark judged on his defeat of Francky Du Berlais when in the care of Joe Tuite back in November.
The opening 17/2 with William Hill – looks a fair ew price and the selection ran very well in a hot novice chase here this time last year. I am convinced there will be numerous winners come out of the race, but the value may lie with the O’Brien newcomer.
I am looking forward to seeing the hurdles debut of Call Of The Wild (2.40) who created such a favourable impression when landing his Bumper at Huntingdon back in May. Nice to see Tom Cannon – who was in the plate in the spring – keep the ride for Alan King in the colours of JP McManus. Dual hurdles winner Onemorefortheroad sets the standard, but he must carry 10lbs worth of penalties and he looks vulnerable.The selection is 10/11 at the time of posting – I was hoping for a shade of odds against.
Duc Kauto has a good record fresh, and I will be checking the market to see if there is any confidence behind the Tizzard-trained runner who has had a wind operation since disappointing back in March. I have a note suggesting there is more to come from Sublime Heights (3.15) when he steps up in distance over fences and Toby Lawes wastes little time getting this winning Irish pointer over the larger obstacles.
The ew selection – 5s with MansionBet – disappointed when last seen over the minimum trip but his earlier placed efforts at Southwell and Plumpton hinted at ability.
There is a competitive card at Ffos Las and in the 3m handicap hurdle I expect to see a big run from Gladiateur Allen (4.50) who ran well over half a mile shorter here on debut last season and quickly made up into a useful staying hurdler. This is the ew selection’s first start over this trip, but he did win over just shy of 2m 6f at Ascot and stamina looks his strong suit. The 4s with Boylesports looks fair.