* All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.
STEPNEY CAUSEWAY made the most of a good opportunity as he completed the hat-trick at Stratford three weeks ago, making every yard of the running to justify short odds with the minimum of fuss (won by 15 lengths).
He remains open to more improvement and has a fitness edge over his chief market rival, so this looks an excellent opportunity for him to bring up his fourth victory in a row. Incidentally, jockey Harry Skelton starts the day two winners ahead of Brian Hughes as the pair continue to square off in the title race.
BEYOND THE PALE has quickly achieved a fairly useful level of form over hurdles, filling the runner-up spot on both starts since making a winning debut at Fontwell in October. He produced his best effort on his penultimate outing at Wincanton in November, where he was beaten only 3-and-three-quarter lengths under a penalty.
He now makes the switch to handicaps and will command plenty of respect from an opening BHA mark of 123, which looks potentially lenient if improving for the step up to 3m.
CEDAR HILL failed to meet expectations back over hurdles at Musselburgh last time, but he had been in a rich vein of form over fences prior to that, recording three wins from five starts since October. His latest success came at Kelso last month, where he found more improvement after a breathing operation to win by 4-and-a-quarter lengths in comfortable fashion. This will be tougher from a 6lbs higher mark, but Cedar Hill may yet have more to offer as a chaser and is fancied to prove equal to the task.
DIDONATO made light of a three-month break and step up in trip as she followed up her novice success on handicap debut at Ludlow last time. She was always travelling fluently and quickly asserted after being produced to lead at the last, comfortably beating a subsequent winner by a length-and-a-half.
That all points to Didonato still being a well-handicapped horse from only 6lbs higher in the weights, with the small ‘p’ attached to her Timeform rating denoting that she is likely to progress further. She rates a confident selection to complete the hat-trick.
SCHIEHALLION MUNRO has become slightly frustrating to follow this season, finding one too good on each of his last three starts. There is no doubt he is still on a good mark though, lining up here from the same rating as when returning from three months off at Kelso last time – where he hit a low of 1.06 in-running before seemingly finding his stamina stretched by the trip. This test should be more suitable and presents him with a good opportunity to gain a deserved success, still relatively fresh for the time of year after all.
FETE CHAMPETRE progressed again to get off the mark over hurdles at Wetherby two weeks ago, settling better than previously and seeing things out better as a result. He drew clear on the run-in to beat Barrichello by 6 lengths, comprehensively reversing the form with that rival from their previous encounter over the same course and distance.
Crucially, Barrichello has a BHA mark of 120, so there is little doubt that Fete Champetre is potentially well treated from a mark of 117 for his handicap debut, with further improvement also not out of the question.
ALWAYS RESOLUTE could be the way to go in a wide-open finale. He was gambled on take advantage of his falling mark at Newbury last time and duly obliged, forging clear after the final flight to win readily by 2-and-three-quarter lengths.
He is 5lbs higher in the weights here but remains on a good mark judged on the pick of his old form, so there are plenty of reasons to be positive about him if arriving in the same sort of mood (has been inconsistent).
- CHECK OUT OUR BRAND NEW SNAZZY RACECARDS FOR EVERY SINGLE RACE TODAY
- … THEN GET ALL THE WINNERS BEFORE ANYONE ELSE WITH OUR FAST RESULTS
- Horse Racing tips: Ruby Walsh and Frank Hickey’s Punchestown Gold Cup antepost bets
- Horse Racing tips: Frank Hickey picks Aintree winner to track at Punchestown