Good morning all,
The wi-fi has done for me so no video this weekend I'm afraid. I'd have loved to have done one later from the track but we're not allowed to film, so that's the end of that.
All I'll say is, make sure all your relatives pay on (a concept my two don't seem to have worked out yet) and let's hope for an exciting race with them all home safe. Have a a good weekend everyone, and I'll be back Tuesday with some Tales From The Rails (and believe me, there are some.).
1.45 – 2m4f Handicap Hurdle
Nestor Park (Ben Pauling)
Form of Newcastle win given a bit of a boost when Arthur Mac ran a cracker to finish fifth to Champ yesterday, soft ground ideal and if he brushes his jumping up a touch has every chance in an open race.
Forza Milan (Jonjo O’Neill)
Ground has come right for him again, has to have some cut due to dodgy joints but came right back to form at Sandown last time and the way he was put to sleep at the back to come through late suggests this fast-run race (loads of pace up front) will suit. 5lb rise more than fair and has always had a touch of class about him. Not deserting him now.
2.25 – 2m4f Novice Hurdle
Brewinupastorm (Olly Murphy)
Very hard to knock his form, good fourth in the Ballymore now looking all the better after Champ’s win yesterday, and ground has come right. Hard to beat.
Colonel Custard (Nicky Martin)
Looks the e/w alternative given it’s easy to forget how he put Glen Forsa away at Newton Abbot on heavy ground last year. Done little wrong since then, needs this soft ground to show his best and although he needs another step up, the way he travels in his races says that’s not impossible.
3.00 – 2m Novices Chase
Us And Them (Jospeh O’Brien)
This could be run at a helter-skelter pace, with Ornua, Clondaw Castle and Knocknanuss in the field, and if Us And Them can keep in touch he may have their measure late. Arkle second as good as any form here and is the one to beat.
3.40 – 3m Stayers Hurdle
Roksana (Dan Skelton)
Even if she’d been second to Benie Des Dieux in the Mares, that would still have been a huge improvement and let’s not forget she kept Santini honest over 3m here last year. Looks a natural e/w alternative to Apple’s Jade, who is hard to fathom after her lacklustre Cheltenham effort. Maybe she'll be better here.
Unowhatomeanharry (Harry Fry)
If – and it is if – there’s one last hurrah in the old boy then maybe it’s here. As his legs have got older, perhaps 3m on genuinely soft ground is what he needs, and his Cheltenham effort may be forgiven as he did burst a blood vessel. Perhaps a little break since then will help him, and missing the Festival may be no bad thing.
4.20 – 3m1f Handicap Chase
Oldgrangewood (Dan Skelton)
Fourth in this last year from a 9lb higher mark, not been great since then but signs of life in the Ultima last time, staying on well when it was all over. Got another drop in the weights for that and ought to be competitive here, at least.
On Tour (Evan Williams)
In much the same vein, On Tour was second last year and is now 7lb lower. Mixed since then but travelled well when fourth at Newbury, and the good ground was probably all against him at Doncaster last time. Record here reads 212, and has to demand respect.
5.15 – Grand National
Rathvinden (Willie Mullins)
Hard to knock his chances, given he’ll stay well, acts on soft ground, and still is only 4lb higher than when successful in the 4-miler at Cheltenham last year. No wonder it’s Ruby’s only ride of the day. I’ll stick my neck out and say it goes off favourite!
Regal Encore (Anthony Honeyball)
Got round when eighth here two years ago, doing some good late work in the process, and although it’s basically all about what side of bed he gets out of, he’s capable of high-class form on his day. Acts well on soft. Clearly risky but not discounted.
Folsom Blue (Gordon Elliott)
If there’s a Mon Mome in here it has to be him. Great placed record in big handicap staying chases, flew home in the Midlands National when it was all over and the slower the ground the better for him. Must be in the 6 if he gets round.
6.20 – 2m Handicap Hurdle
Havana Hermano (Stuart Edmunds)
The worry is that it doesn’t dry enough, but he caught the eye in novice hurdles (without trying too hard) and his third at Huntingdon last time made the handicapper sit up and take notice, raising him 7lb. That form is working out and he’s got loads of improvement to come, having only had a handful of starts.
My bets today –
1.45 – Forza Milan (e/w, 6 places Skybet)
3.40 – Roksana (e/w) and Unowhatimeanharry (small e/w) (both 4 places, many firms)
4.20 – Oldgrangewood and On Tour (both e/w, 6 places Skybet)
5.15 – Rathvinden (win), Folsom Blue and Regal Encore (both small e/w) (Unibet 7 places)
6.20 – Havana Hermano (small e/w, 5 places many firms)
Good luck with all your bets today,