Saturday at Chepstow really has a back-to-school feel for jumping fans, and there’s a host of familiar names for punters to latch onto.
Not too much form to go on here and no outstanding bumper horses either. But it’s interesting that lots of top trainers have entries and I’m going to take a speculative punt on a horse trained by Paul Nicholls, Dynamite Dollars.
This is a race in which you can make a case for a few horses and the Nicholls team have a smart one in If You Say Run. With high profile connections, it will be popular in the betting, but I like a filly trained by Feargal O’Brien to run well at a price in Oscar Rose. I was keen on Just a Thought but I am worried that the ground may not be soft enough for that one.
You have a choice to make here, so you go with the confirmed chaser in Alcala or the one who’ll be the one to follow, Finians Oscar. Just have a look at some of the winners of this and it’s not always the best horse who wins. Cocktails at Dawn won here and beat As de Mee and Blaklion a couple of years ago.
Finians Oscar will not be as ready for this as Alcala and, as we saw yesterday with Black Corton at Newton Abbot, a fit and in form rival can beat unprepared rival.
Paul Nicholls has good record in this race and I think he can add to it here with Dolos.
This lad boasts some really good form and I think Paul will have him ready for this. Percy Street and Talent To Amuse were closely matched on the flat and the former had a recent run on the flat, meaning it could be a good option as an each-way punt.
Nigel Twiston Davies won this last year with Ballyoptic and his Wholestone is favourite to do the same. This is a very good horse who got injured when disappointing at the festival last year. But some of his form is absolutely top drawer.
Nigel has his team forward at this time of the year too. the ew selection is Old Guard at a huge price. this horse won a greatwood hurdle of a mark only 5lbs lower than this.
Rock The Kasbah was an impressive winner of the Novices chase on this card last year and he is stil well handicapped. My each-way selection is a Relentless Dreamer. I am hoping that Jonathan Moore’s pick of the Rebecca Curtis horses will defy his price – initially I was really keen on Big Bad John but with the stable jockey on the other one it gets the nod.
The last at Chepstow is for conditional jockeys and I’m hoping that Bessarabad can find the form that he showed when beating likely favourite Bacchenel at Warwick in February. He has winning form under today’s capable rider and because he is riding for his own stable gets an extra allowance.