I’ll be at Chepstow for the Welsh Grand National and no matter what the forecast it’s still going to be tough.
Chepstow is a real marmite course and if your fancy has downed tools here before, be very wary, because its undulations are not for everyone.
Native River carries plenty of weight but dodges any extra penalty for his Hennessy Gold Cup win. He has a nice piece of course form when third in a very decent novice chase at the festival here last October and still looks well in on official ratings.
Kerry Lee’s dual winner Mountainous is a course specialist but the needs the mud. However, if stable-mate Bishops Road is half as good in this race, then connections will be very happy.
An impressive winner of the 3m 4f Grand National Trial at Haydock on testing ground last season, he’s yet to run at Chepstow, but can be a player. The softer the ground the better for him.
Venetia Williams’ Houblon des Obeaux has a bit of course form from a few years back and won the Grade 2 Rehearsal Chase at Newbury by 28 lengths last February in heavy ground. I would have preferred if he had a run ahead of this but a stamina-sapping test is exactly what he needs.
Rolling Dylan was a good winner at Uttoxeter last time out but Desert Sensation sneaks in at the foot of the weights and is looking to bring up the hat-trick for Dr Richard Newland in the 1.25pm. Sam Twiston-Davies keeps the ride.
There could be more reverberations in the Triumph Hurdle market after Defi Du Seuil runs in the Grade One Juvenile Hurdle at 2pm. Bapaume won at Leopardstown on Monday and we’re sure to see another few juveniles unwrapped before the week is out.
Philip Hobbs can keep up Defi Du Seuil’s unbeaten run this season and may face most opposition from champion trainer Paul Nicholls’ Dolos.
Venetia Williams’ Aso has run two massive races in defeat at Cheltenham in the BetVictor Gold Cup and Caspain Caviar Gold Cup. He deserves to get his head in front on Tuesday, in the handicap chase at 3.15pm.
It’s a big day at Leopardstown with Paddy Power sponsoring the Dublin card and all eyes will be on Douvan to continue his winning ways in the Grade One Paddy Power Cashcard Chase 1.20pm.
The big betting heat of the day is traditionally the Paddy Power Chase 3pm and there are plenty of plot horses for this 28-runner contest. Paddy’s paying 1/5th the odds the first 6 home so I’m going to put up two against the field to try and hit the places at least.
Barry Geraghty has abandoned Gallant Oscar for Rogue Trader, but I still think Gallant Oscar has a lot going for him. He was staying on here last year when he unseated Donogh Myler two fences out and had a nice prep over hurdles at Cork to put him spot on for this contest.
The other one I like is Gordon Elliott’s Noble Endeavour who started favourite for the Troytown Chase at Navan a few weeks ago before finishing fourth to Empire of Dirt.
Davy Russell is a great man to have on board and he’ll just let him creep around and get into contention late on. He’ll almost need to be ridden for a place and then make headway up the straight to strike late.
Some of the racing at Kempton has cut up a little and you don’t really need me to tell you that Altior is unopposable in the 1.45pm and that the 2.20pm looks a match between one of the most popular horses in training Sire De Grugy and Henry De Bromhead’s Special Tiara.
I’m going to side with the Irish challenger who is getting 10lbs from the Tingle Creek Chase second and that is a big swing.