There is a tremendous midweek card at Newbury today, and I am looking forward to seeing the exciting I Am Maximus (12.50) have his second start over hurdles having jumped out to the left when beaten a length into third at Exeter last month.
The gelding, let’s not forget, is the only horse to have finished ahead of My Drogo having beaten the Dan Skelton trained horse at Cheltenham in a Bumper last October. He will get further than two miles in time, but this galloping left-handed track will suit, and the Exeter winner should have followed up at Cheltenham last weekend. Note trainer Nicky Henderson has saddled the winner of the corresponding race three times in the last four years. He has been backed off the boards and makes no appeal as a betting medium but I am looking forward to his return to the track.
Valsheda (1.25) is one of two Henderson trained runners in the 3m novices’ handicap chase, and he has the scope to make up into a decent staying chaser for connections. The selection – 3s with William Hill – only had the two starts last term – finishing a poor second at Doncaster on debut before going one better in a modest Exeter race back in March.
Six-year-olds have won six of the last nine renewals of the race and the only other 6-y-o in the field is Quartz Du Rheu who has won three of his last four over fences and is still rated 3lbs lower over the larger obstacles than he is over timber.
The feature event is the listed 3m mares chase – well we have not had one for a couple of days – and Casablanca Mix is taken to reverse Market Rasen form in a similar contest with Chilli Filli last November.
I am a huge fan, however, of Silver Forever (2.00) and hope to see the Paul Nicholls’ trained 7-year-old build on an impressive chase debut when she scored over an extended 2m 6f+ here last month returning from a 670-day lay-off. The grey has yet to prove she stays 3m, but she beat Annie Mac 10L at the trip in her sole point in her native Ireland. There was 15/8 available on Tuesday evening but she is 5/4 at Boylesports at the time of posting.
At Leicester I hope to see Another Crick (2.15) land the novice hurdle for Nick Williams. The ew selection – 11/2 with 10Bet – finished second over hurdles on his seasonal debut at Uttoxeter last term and has a history of going well fresh. Noel Williams has given his 8-y-old a wind operation ahead of his reappearance and first time out might be the time to catch him.
The stable has not had a winner for over three months although they have not had many runners in the period and did have an inmate belie his 20/1 odds when third at Warwick last week.
At Kempton, this evening Cash Machine (6.45) can return to winning ways under Jack Mitchell whose record on the gelding reads 2123. The three-year-old was visored for the first time when third at Wolverhampton from a 1lb higher mark last time and should appreciate the return to polytrack.
The selection finished runner up on his sole previous start at Kempton and Tom Clover dispenses with the headgear he wore on his latest start. There was 5s available with William Hill on Tuesday but he is into 2s with 10Bet on raceday morning.