Good morning all,
A mixed first day – Might Bite and, somehow, Finian's Oscar both defied expectation but We Have A Dream and Bentelimar roped a bit back. I was equally delighted to see Gumball return to something like his better form – faith is restored!
Onto Friday, and a few big priced ones to have a go at….
1.45 – 2m4f Handicap Hurdle
Good luck with this, it looks an absolute nightmare of a handicap to kick off with. The hurdles track doesn't look dreadful in terms of how it rode today, which gives some hope old Court Minstrel could do okay with the race likely to be run to suit, but we do have one of my “horses to follow” here in Landin, who has done us proud on his last two starts and that defeat of Remiluc doesn't half look good now. He'll do for me, small e/w bet.
2.20 – 2m Novices Hurdle (Grade 1)
I told you at the Cheltenham Weights Day that Ben Pauling was kicking himself for not giving Global Citizen an entry in the Supreme after his easy win at Kempton and he can gain compensation here. Indeed, even his Southwell win has a very good look about it after Euxton Lane has hosed up twice since, looking a decent prospect in the process. Handles soft and good ground and must take some beating.
Distingo let me down badly at Fontwell but in retrospect, the yard's horses weren't right at the time and he's since put that effort behind him with a good win at Kempton. He too has been on a “to watch” list and I think he'll only improve.
2.50 – 3m1f Novice Chase
Not a race I'm mad keen to play, if I'm honest. Plenty of these have been on the go for some time now and it's already looking like it's catching up with a few of them. Elegant Escape keeps on churning out good performances though, and if pushed, I'd have a fiver on him, with the cheekpieces maybe bringing out a bit more.
3,25 – Melling Chase (2m4f)
I’d argue the toss that, at this trip Balko Des Flos should be a lot nearer to Min in the betting than he is. No fluke about his Ryanair win (clock very good) and is progressing. Ground ideal as well and looks the part here. I'm surprised you can get 2-1 and better and think he looks a bet. None of the outsiders makes much appeal.
4.05 – Topham Chase (2m6f)
I'll take three against the field – Mystifiable, already well backed and not hard to see why after a good fourth to Gas Line Boy over these fences in December (trip too short last time), Beau Bay, who I have been a bit rude about in the past but he is progressing and maybe this was the plan all along – he's been kept to shorter recently but gets this trip fine and will put up a decent showing on the front end, along with Midnight Shot – Charlie Longsden is definitely coming into a bit of form and this one was far from shown up in the Brown Advisory. Three small e/w pokes at the prices with Skybet (6 places).
4.40 – 3m1f Novice Hurdle
No surprises that Santini tops my list, he's one that I'll be following very closely over the next couple of years. He lacked a bit of speed at a key time at Cheltenham but this long run for home will offer him ample opportunity to make up any lost ground, and we've seen a few times this week that you can come off the back if need be.
For those wanting something at a bigger price, Another Stowaway might go okay. I've always liked him as a project, and his second to On The Blind Side here in October reads well. The fact his trainer thinks he's worth an entry here speaks a bit, and I wouldn't be surprised if he hit the frame at a whopping price.
Today's selection – Balko Des Flos 3.25 Aintree
Good luck with all your bets today,