13:50 Handicap Chase
We kick off with a 2-miler and Exitas is your favourite on the back of a couple of decent wins going right-handed.
But the value is gone with him, and I fancy one to run into at least a place: Un Beau Roman. This horse won the race last year and goes here off a very similar mark. He ran better than his finishing position last time at Cheltenham too.
Keep an eye on the market for a move for Shanahans Turn, as this horse was highly thought of and is having its first start for Colin Tizzard.
14:25 Steel Plate Novices Chase
There are just four runners in the novice chase – but they are all smart.
The Grade 1 winner over hurdles is Finians Oscar, but he has to carry a penalty of 8lbs for his win at Chepstow. However I think the penalty is not the main preoccupation for Finians – it’s really important to get him jumping early & more fluently than he was at Chepstow. The start for this race is in the middle of the course and you have a nice run of fences to get this lads eye in.
Nicky Henderson’s horse, William Henry, has schooled very well and it would be no surprise to see this lad go better over fences.
The key to this race is the pace – there is no horse who will force the issue here and this will help Finians Oscar find his feet and get more confident as he goes on. The worry is that, if it turns into a sprint, you might get a strange result – for that reason I am going for William Henry to surprise.
15:00 Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap
The Cross Country is a Handicap, and some of the runners are not regulars here. That is a huge disadvantage – or so I thought last year when the Emanuel Clayeux-trained horse, Urgent de Gregaine, came over and showed all of the usual suspects how it was done at 50/1!
It’s not that price here and is also up a little in the weights, but is bound to be competitive again.
The key here is getting these horses skipping over these obstacles.
I am really interested in arguably one of the classiest horses in the line up, Aubusson. This horse got beaten a whisker in a Grade 1 in France a couple of years ago and was unlucky over there the last time out. If Lizzy Kelly can get him to take to this he could be very attractively priced at least as an each-way bet.
JP McManus has three in the race and Enda Bolger-trained horses can do this sort of stuff in their sleep. I am taking Aubusson as my each-way selection.
15:35 Ballymore Novices Hurdle
The last TV race is a bit of a head-scratcher, and I’m going for the most exposed in the field, Calett Mad. This lad is versatile on ground and has already hit a good standard with a rating of 144, winning his last two starts.
Vision des Flos, the favourite, won the Goffs bumper at Punchestown and will be better for his run at Chepstow behind Poetic Rhythm.