We kick off with the speedsters over two miles here, and it will be fast and furious with the participation of Speredek and Gino Trail, who both like to bowl along. Overtown Express could be the beneficiary if these two cut each others throats early by going too fast, but needs to jump better than last time when coming down at Exeter.
I take Speredek to edge it here at a track for which he has already shown a liking.
Western Ryder has looked the part in his last two starts over hurdles and deserves to be favourite. The only concern I have about him is that he will be much better going left handed. He threw away an easy contest when he was a bumper horse at Market Rasen, because he got himself in a tizz going that way round. I know he has won at Ascot but everything went right and they were ready for him by dropping in down the inside.
So the value bet for me is Kalashnikov. I was really impressed with this horse when he bolted up at Doncaster, and his young trainer is definitely one to watch.
Gas Line Boy is a horse I know very well as my racing club used to own him. He was our very first winner and did us proud. He has since gone on and won some nice races for his connections including a victory over the national fences in the Grand Sefton last time. He loves heavy ground but it will be vital for Brian Hughes to get him into a good rhythm jumping, as this track really tests his jumping.
I really like Cloudy Too at the weights here. This horse has slipped down to a really nice rating and Sue Smith does not have many runners down here.
Call Me Lord was a really easy winner at Sandown on his first run in the UK and was fully expected to win at Huntingdon first time up this season. At that time, however, lots of Nicky Henderson’s horses were needing their first run and I think this horse will be a lot fitter now. He has good form on heavy so that is not a worry. He is a confident selection.
This race should be ideal for Antartica De Thaix. Play The Ace is due to run at Chepstow and the other danger is the Philip Hobbs-trained Kayf Adventure. The Hobbs team have been under a cloud of late and this could be the perfect time for Antartica to shine.
Bill And Barn is favourite here for the Nicholls team and it is easy to see why. But Le Boizelo, currently 4/1 is my choice here as Robert Walford has his team in red-hot form. This horse had a good run at Exeter last time and can build on that, even though it was only 5 days ago.
I really like the chances of Monbeg Theatre here. This horse ran a belter at Bangor last time, and Jamie Snowden has put cheekpieces on to eek a little bit of improvement, which that has swung it for me.
Edvardo is the obvious danger.