Day 3 thoughts:
1.30 JLT Novices Chase
Defi du Seuil and Lostintranslation head the market here and have met twice this season . The score is 1-1. Lostintranslation came out best on this course and then came out second best at Sandown on 3lb worse terms.
Vinndication was behind them both in that Sandown race when slightly taken out of his comfort zone by the slick jumping of Lostintranslation up front. He might be even more uneasy here on a left handed track on which he’s never raced before
I think it’s hard to avoid the top two here but am narrowly with Lostintranslation back on this course where his superior jumping prowess can be used to better advantage. With bold jumping mare Castafiore also in the race I can see them both putting others jumping flaws to the test and staying out of trouble up front.
Defi Du Seuil didn’t quite 100% convince me of his jumping at Cheltenham and the hill found him out when looking the likely winner at the last fence.
I backed Kildisart on his last win but was wincing at times with some of his jumping. He made it round and warmed up his technique but I’m also worried that he might be found out at this level at a quicker pace . However he will like the softer ground and I can see him getting placed – trainer Ben Pauling has already proved himself in good form at this meeting)
2.10 Pertemps Network Final
Often an impossible handicap and this year is no easier. Everyone seemed to see the ‘ eyecatching’ ride on Sire du Berlais last time and he’s a short priced fav at around 5/1 for a race like this.
He must be on the shortlist but that’s too short a price to me to recommend in a heat like this.
His owner JP McManus has a good record in this race and also has an interesting outsider in Aspen Colorado. On his last run you can’t give him any chance but he’s had a wind op since then so probably all was not well. On an earlier Carlisle win he looked to be on an upward curve – it’s also a massive plus for me that he has who I think is the best claiming jockey in the country on his back taking off 5lbs.
There isn’t much to choose between First Assignment and NotwhatIam on their last run at Warwick but I prefer the former now back on a track he has excelled at before. He was on the face of it a disappointing fav at Haydock earlier on the season but just look at how the winner Paisley Park and seconds Shadesofmidnight have advertised that forms since
Recommendations (both ew and take as many places as you can!)
2.50 Ryanair Chase
A race I must admit to having a horrible record in previously. I did fancy Top Notch for this race but still can’t fathom why they are now running him in the Stayers Hurdle instead.
Footpad would be a worthy favourite on last years Arkle win but hasn’t really been 100% this season. News that he will be running without shoes on his two back feet isn’t what I’d want to be hearing before a race like this.
Monalee has been second at the Festival twice over longer trips and connections now seem to realise this is his optimum distance. The soft ground will be in his favour and he’s the most solid of those at the front of the market for me.
Road to Respect just didn’t jump well enough for me last time to garner favour from me at current odds
Frodon seemingly doesn’t know how to run a bad race at this course – except for his run in this race last year which concerns me again.
He’s won handicaps here with big weights – but Aso has also done similarly and is a far bigger price in comparison. If we can forgive that one’s last run on a right hand track he makes some appeal of the outsiders back at a stomping ground that suits him well
ASO (EW small)
3.30 Stayers Hurdle
Paisley Park has been a revelation in the Stayers division last season. He got a strong pace last time when a hugely impressive Cleeve Hurdle winner when he powered up the Cheltenham hill.
A well run seems the key to this horse and the worry would be that if the race was run slowly run early on like last year he would be caught out by others in the final sprint.
Connections will be relying on Sam Spinner to set a good pace here. That’s the only front runner I can really see but his jockey had a brain freeze in this race last year when setting the fractions far too slow.
Supasundae was second last year and is consistent at this level – I prefer him more of the Irish challenge than Faugheen. For all that one’s past prowess he isn’t consistent now (though still occasionally brilliant) and comes here on the back of a fall
West Approach was second in the Cleeve Hurdle and in the belief he’ll be given more of a hold up ride this time I can see him being of interest at a big price if anyone is offering 1st 4 on their place terms
Recommendation is only a small one here because of the questionable pace angle
WEST APPROACH EW with firms paying 1st 4 (mainly because I think he’ll be ridden to place)
4.10 Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate
Another seemingly competitive handicap but I think the betting has it right here with Janika, Sirah Du Luc and Spiritofthegames at the top of the market.
Sirah Du Luc jumped like a stag last time when just beating Janika but I’m favouring a reversal here. Top weight for Janika isn’t ideal but plenty of decent chase handicaps at this track have been won by the top weights lately so its not overly concerning.
Spiritofthegames has been well mentioned by his trainer at preview evenings coming up to this and himself ran a great race under top weight at this track last time. He also ran very well at the Festival over hurdles last year but appears to have found his real metier now he’s gone chasing
Recommendations (probably the strongest ones of the day here by backing both these two)
(back both EW preferably with 1/4 odds 12345)
4.50 Mares Novice Hurdle
A relatively new race at the Festival. Epatante has looked very smart in her two wins this season and is clearly the one to beat. She escapes carrying penalties that others have but wears a hood and can have a tendency to pull.
Because of that I’d be reluctant to take a short price on her.
Not a big betting race for me but I prefer Sinoria who is progressing well and promises to be much better suited by softer ground and a stiffer track (her half brother won at the Festival over 4 miles and was placed in the Gold Cup)
Queenofhearts is also worth a mention as she’ll love soft ground but I can’t imagine this trip will be anything like enough to show off her reserves of stamina
No strong recommendation here but Sinoria would be a small interest (betting without the fav markets could be of more interest in this race)
5.30 Kim Muir Challenge Cup
Thursday’s last event is a handicap for amateur riders. Pace come sometimes be a bit frenetic with less experienced jockeys taking part and I’ll always want to be with one of the top Amateur riders who can judge the tempo better
Based on the the most obvious two are Measureofmydreams (Jamie Codd on board) and Any Second Now (Derek O’Connor). The former is well handicapped on some old Festival form but on what he’s done in his only recent race he is very skinny odds at around 6/1.
Any Second Now is starting to look like he needs a trip and makes greater appeal despite yet to record a win in 9 starts over fences.
Touch Kick and Sky Pirate would also be close behind on the shortlist but both would probably prefer better ground…something that cant be totally ruled out if winds continue to dry out the track
Of the bigger prices, Crievehill, has a decent jockey and the softer the ground the better. The trip is unproven but at around 40/1 I’d be willing to take a chance on that
Back both EW
ANY SECOND NOW
Thanks for reading and good luck with whatever you back