Good morning all,
Well, we reach the end of Cheltenham week but the fun isn't over yet, oh no, becuase we've got the second longets race in the calendar, the Midlands National, to look forward to today.
It was good to end the week with another big-priced place horse, with Petit Mouchoir running a stromer to finish second. I really liked his chance and backed him a few times with various firms, so a pleasing end to the Festival.
Read on for today's best TV four…
As much as the claims of Theme Tune are obvious on his handicap debut, he’ll need to pick his feet up better than he did at Carlisle when scoring last time. His stamina got him home there, and in fairness to him, he was very game in putting his head down after the last. The step up to three miles looks sure to suit and he’s probably the right favourite.
I’ll take Saint Dalina as an each-way selection against him. When you look at the quality of opposition she’s taken on in her last few starts, she’s doing well to still be rated under 125. Not beaten far by Imperial Alcazar at Warwick two starts ago (confirming the form of her previous Uttoxeter second, with her and second home Mr Harp running to the pound), she then tried giving the fast-improving J’ai Froid a pound at Ascot, and was only beaten three lengths. Proven under the conditions, she looks rock-solid each-way material, given her consistency.
Cases can be made for plenty of these, and in truth I am finding hard to rule many of them out. I’ll take three against the field.
Tommy Rapper is a really good-looking chaser than looks like he’s been targeted at this. He caught a lot of people’s attention on his comeback at Exeter last month (over hurdles), travelling very smoothly into the race and staying on well to get second, not at all knocked around. He has to prove himself at the trip and on breeding he’s not certain to get it, but all the same he has to be on your shortlist.
Fergal’s won this with Chase The Spud before (if ever a horse needed four and half miles in the mud, it was him) and Final Nudge makes some appeal on his second run for the yard. Coincidentally, he fell four out in Chase The Spud’s MIdlands National when in with every chance, and he’s 8lb lower here. That was a perfectly acceptable first start for the yard when fifth over a trip too short for him at Wincanton and if he comes on from that, looks sure to go close. As I type this up on Thursday, he’s 25-1, and I’m having some of that now.
I worry whether Golan Fortune has the experience for this but his Warwick third to Next Destination and Fiddlerontheroof looks all the better after their respective runs at Cheltenham this week, and it’s worth remembering that for a bad mistake he might have gone close to winning that. So off the same mark here, he could be dangerous if allowed too much rope up front. Needs to avoid a similar mistake, but the pace of this won’t be as frenetic, and that should help.
Plenty are going to jump on board the Didtheyleaveyououttoo train again, and they may be right, as he probably ought to have won the jumpers bumper he contested at Kempton in February, and the ability to win a handicap of this nature is there if he picks his feet up.
Debestyman, who has had jumping issues of his own, has a chance. Three miles in soft ground didn’t suit him last time out, but his previous second to Captain Tom Cat at Cheltenham (on good) was a very solid effort. I think he’d have won the Lanzarote last year but for unseating at the last, and this 6lb higher mark still looks workable. The worry is that Suzy Smith hasn't had a winner for over a year, but she's got to have one sometime, surely….?
Breffniboy might or might not stay this trip but he has his ground and has shaped like he might get this trip, as he was strong at the line when winning over 17f at Cheltenham earlier in the year. This could be set up for him and if he gets home, I think he's probably the one to beat.
With Princeton Royale, My Way and Mellow Ben all getting on with it early, this surely looks set up for something off the place and Smarty Wild, who can take a pull in his races, looks to have this teed up nicely for him.
He was a game winner over this C&D January, and followed that up with a close sixth in a very competitive race at Warwick, not beaten far. Conditions looks spot on and if his jumping holds up, he can close in late for victory.
Today's selection – Final Nudge (e/w, 7 places available Skybet) 3.35 Uttoxeter
Good luck with all your bets today,