Day two began with the ground still described as ‘dead’ and very much on the soft side. The forecast suggests we could have a lot of rain overnight and so ground could worse again tomorrow (check going reports in morning to see just how much but we could get some real ‘gloopy’ conditions)
Onto the races tomorrow:
1.30 JLT Novices Chase 2ml 4fur
This doesn’t have the same look of class as the two other novice chase championship races. Finians Oscar was ante post favourite for this early in the season but after a good start his season certainly hasn’t gone to plan and it looked unlikely he would ever make it here. His bravery at jumping has been questionable but he does have the ability to win this. There has to be a question mark over him though still.
I’d like to see some course form for the favourite Invitation Only – and it’s also noticeable that Benatar’s career has been at flat tracks until now. Terrefort is unbeaten in the UK and will like the ground but also is missing any form at this track.
Shattered Love did race here last year and didn’t look to enjoy the experience so am also wary there.
Modus does have course form but I’m not fully convinced that he is up this level as a chaser.
I’m finding it possible to make a case and a negative for nearly everything here.
It’s only because I think the price is too big that I’m going to have a small play on Kemboy (probably high odds because he is perceived to be the Mullins second string).
Having seen him as a novice hurdler at Leopardstown last year he had a look of a horse who would be better in time as a chaser. He performed fairly well over hurdles here last year and I think he can cope with deep ground
0.5pts ew Kemboy 20/1 (365 paying 1/4 odds 123)
2.10 Pertemps Hcap Hurdle 3miles
Quite likely to be a bit of a slog and I think the one that sticks out as being suited to this kind of test is Forza Milan. It’s always a plus in my eyes to see anything sired by Milan when ground gets bad
I’m often exasperated in trying to guess the plans of the Jonjo O’Neill stable but think he may have had this race in mind for some time here and it’s interesting that cheekpieces are reached for first time now
Killian Moore always rides him and claims a handy 3lbs off in the ground.
He has performed well before after a break so I’m not too concerned by a near 3 month absence in the run-up to this (that could all be about keeping his mark in check).
The stable have won this race three times before and know what it takes to win it
1pt ew Forza Milan 14/1 (365 paying1/4 odds 12345)
2.50 Ryanair Chase 2ml 5 fur
With many firms still quoting Douvan here at 3/1 prices are bound to change as soon as he becomes a non runner after running today.
It would be great to see Cue Card bounce back to win this but can’t help thinking his last race was a brutal one that may have taken a lot out of him.
Cloudy Dream will be suited by the drop back from 3 miles but is a better horse on good ground.
It’s currently advantage to last years winner Un De Sceaux in my mind but doubt I will be betting on this race
3.30 Stayers Hurdle 3miles
Sam Spinner has been the revelation in this division this season and the deeper the ground the more it goes against his rivals and favours him.
Not having course form is the negative for this throughly likeable galloper but he can be expected to be attacking his rivals early and exploit any stamina weaknesses from a long way out
I would have fancied a few to be able to challenge him on better ground but on this going he is going to take some beating.
He would undoubtedly be shorter if trained by a more fashionable stable
2pts win Sam Spinner 4/1 (several offering but beware any who still quote Apples Jade and may impose a Rule 4 when that one gets taken out as expected)
4.10 Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate Hcap 2ml 5 fur
Far too difficult a race for me to solve at the moment and I’ll readily pass for now…
4.50 Mares Novices Hurdle 2ml
I think the Irish mare Laurina holds all of the aces hre and will be very difficult to beat but the price is too short to tempt me.
Cap Soleil may improve for the return to deep ground and is the one I might be looking at each way or in markets without the favourite
5.30 Kim Muir Challenge Cup 3ml 2fur
A handicap with amateur riders.
Squoauteur has been the subject of handicap plots before and with Jamie Codd on board he’s already priced in anticipation of the same.
Mall Dini also has a top amateur on board and wasn’t far away in this last year. He has also probably been aimed at this for a while but the ground looks likely to be against him
I’m happy to swerve these two and prefer another ridden by a top Irish amateur – Final Nudge.
He ran a great race under a big weight in the Welsh National and looked to be feeling the effects of that still when down the field at Sandown a few weeks later.
He won’t mind this ground and after a decent break since am hopeful he can bounce back here as he has the class to defy a high weight here. (was still travelling very well in the ultra testing Midlands National last year when departing late on last year – this race can’t be any more attritional than that)
1pt ew Final Nudge 22/1 (Corals)
Thanks for reading once more and good luck!