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** UPDATE: TODAY’S RACING AT AYR HAS BEEN ABANDONED DUE TO A FROZEN TRACK **
IBLEO is very lightly raced for an eight-year-old with only nine starts over jumps and just five chase starts. He won his first two chases off marks of 112 & 118, and has finished second on his three subsequent starts.
In March he was second to Canelo at Huntingdon, but Canelo is now rated 23lbs higher – so that effort was better than perhaps we thought at the time. On Ibleo’s reappearance this season he was beaten a short head by Amoola Gold at Ascot, and Amoola Gold was just touched off by First Flow off a 6lb higher mark on his next start. Again, that looks really solid from.
Ibleo was then second to the impressive Sky Pirate at Cheltenham and the 3lb rise for that run could be lenient, as Sky Pirate is likely to have been extremely well handicapped that day trying 2m for the first timem, and there was 10 lengths back to the third. Testing ground holds no fears for Ibleo, and he rates as my NAP of the day.
14:05 Ayr – Charmant – *RACING ABANDONED*
Evander’s first preference is Sandown, so he is very unlikely to run here and in that case, it could be a very open event. Jonniesofa is excellent fresh, so isn’t certain to back up his Carlisle win. Meanwhile, Clan Legend is an 11-year-old off a career high mark.
CHARMANT was a wide margin winner last Christmas at Wetherby off a mark of 136 and has excuses in his three runs since. He was outclassed in the Byrne Group Plate at the Cheltenham festival and probably needed his reappearance at Wetherby.
He then was badly hampered in the Rehearsal Chase at Newcastle, where stamina was always going to be an issue. He is back to his best trip here and is on the same mark as that 23-length Wetherby win, so might be worth chancing considering he is the outsider of the field here.
This is a very competitive Veteran’s Chase, as you would expect considering it is over £40,000 to the winner and a case can be made for many here. However, POTTERS LEGEND is the one I like.
Since he returned this season after a wind op, he has won nicely at Warwick off a mark of 130 and was only narrowly beaten at Cheltenham last time off his revised mark of 135. He gets to run off the same mark here and with five places on offer, he makes each-way appeal.
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Plenty of these have been in good form, so it might come as a surprise that I am siding with one that has fallen and unseated on his last two starts. HIGHWAY ONE O TWO hasn’t jumped great in those chase starts, but is interesting now reverting to hurdles.
He is unbeaten in three starts over hurdles, winning twice at Plumpton before easily winning the Grade 2 Dovecote Novices Hurdle at Kempton. That form is rock solid, with Kid Commando in third (now rated 141), Buzz in fourth (now rated 152) and Benson in seventh (now rated 137). The fact that Highway One O Two could beat them so easily suggests that a mark of 145 might not be beyond him now stepping into handicaps. He is a fair price off the back of the poor chase starts.
Only a four-runner novice, but NAPPER TANDY makes plenty of appeal here despite his penalty. He was just touched off on debut at Lingfield over a mile but made no mistake on his second start, when easily accounting for Mused at Kempton.
Mused won easily next time, as did the fourth to give that form a really solid look to it. William Carver takes 5lbs off, which negates the penalty, and the step up in trip to a mile-and-a-half looks sure to suit.
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