Good morning all,
Wednesday of the Festival will bring us the Coral Cup and the Fred Winter, both of which I've had a look at one the main piece.
I see from the weather forecasts that we might be in for more rain before (and indeed during) next week. One forecast even suggests some snow on Tuesday and possibly Wednesday! (Requestabet, anyone? I'd take a bit of 10s ;-)) So it's possible we could start on soft ground, dependant on what falls over the weekend.
Advance warning – I'm at Sandown Fri/Sat and will be staying in a Premier Inn Friday night. I shall try and do a video but you know what the wifi can be like. But I will try.
Barney Dwan (Fergal O’Brien)
There’s a possibility he’s gone at the game, I accept that. But equally there’s a possibility he simply hates fences and to that extent, that must also have been in the minds of connections when he was entered up for this, just over a week before his run in the Grimthorpe at the weekend. Another poor effort there has rather sealed his fate, for me. He simply isn’t going to make the grade over fences, and – this one is a bit more controversial – neither does he quite get 3m. For me, he’s a 2m7f horse that almost gets 3m, but not quite. (Yes, I know he’s won over it, but that was a 3-horse affair at Rasen.) As such, the hurly-burly of the 2m5f Coral Cup might be ideal. He’ll be 3lb lower than when second to Presenting Percy in the Pertemps a couple of years ago and if he can find his form – a big if, I know – then he ticks plenty of the boxes here.
Pacific De Baune (Nicky Henderson)
At the other end of the scale, here’s the lightly raced Pacific De Baune, who is far more of a shot in the dark as far as this race is concerned. After all, we have no idea he will stay this trip, whether a big field will play to his strengths, or indeed what sort of form he’s really in. But this I do know – I thought he looked a classier sort than Santini on looks on the couple of occasions I saw him last year, the way he merely plugged on at Kempton at the weekend does suggest he needs further (and he is a half-brother to Sydney De Baune, a winner over 2m4f) and he’s totally unexposed. It’s a very guessy one but my suspicion is that we’ve not seen anywhere near the best of him.
Oi The Clubb Oi’s (Ian Williams)
I have a slight concern the hill might find him out, but not enough to put me off him. Useful and improving at a lowish level on the Flat, he seems to be even better with eight flights of hurdles in front of him and might have gone very close to beating Quel Destin but for suffering late interference from the front two at Doncaster when we last saw him. Given that, a mark of 130 looks a very fair one indeed and he looks to have been kept fresh with this race in mind.
Montestrel (Jane Williams)
It seems to have been forgotten that he beat Quel Destin fair and square first time out at Chepstow and then, for whatever reason, simply didn’t perform at all at Cheltenham next time out. I’m happy to forgive that run, and equally I’m going to go with “needed the run” at Taunton last time out. He’s the sort that screams “Fred Winter” at you and if he’s back in that Chepstow form, could make a mockery of a mark of 137.
On to today and sadly Fontwell has rather fallen foul of the ARC boycott at present. Small fields the order of the day but the heavy ground has swung me towards a bet on Bredon Hill Lad in the first at 2.10. Favourite Edgar was a winner last time but that was at Leicester on much quicker ground. He does handle cut but he's not the sort to bank on following up, especially from 4lb higher. So I'll chance Bredon Hill Lad, who has plenty of winning form here, handles heavy ground well and is on a winning mark if he can be cajoled back to form. Risky, but worth a bet at 9-2.
Good luck with all your bets today,