Another busy Saturday as we kick on to Cheltenham and Doncaster.
Wow! The big-race favourite Riders Onthe Storm gets declared a non runner in error on the eve of the race but luckily Paddy Power is refunding on him.
Venetia Williams’ Cepage and Secret Investor now head Paddy’s market. Cepage got an 8lb hike after getting beaten at Aintree on seasonal debut getting and going up in the ratings won’t help.
I rate Benatar but the worry with him is he tends to race very keenly. If you could guarantee that he will relax in the first-time hood, I could make a very strong case for him as he ran a great race behind Shattered Love and Terrefort in the JLT at the Festival in 2018.
Not That Fuisse is a novice and this race is hard to win with such little experience, while Keeper Hill’s win over Midnight Shadow at Haydock leaves him a little exposed on a rating of 153. I would give Henry Oliver’s Generous Day a chance as he has a nice, light weight but the softish-ground may catch him out.
I’ll side with Cepage to go one better in this contest than last year and Benatar to hit the places at least in a race where Paddy is paying 5 places if more than 14 run.
I didn’t think I’d ever be tipping a 10-yer-old in a novice hurdle but Nicky Henderson’s Valtor was a decent chaser who won nicely at Ascot last time back over hurdles.
There’s no real stars in this line-up so he could fit the bill.
Triumph Hurdle winner Pentland Hills carried all before him last season winning at the Cheltenham Festival and following up at Aintree. He has been for a racecourse gallop as part of his preparation for this contest and the faster they go on Saturday, the better his chance.
The owners of Ch’tibello have backed their horse, so they must be pretty hopeful. Last year’s County Hurdle winner ran a huge race when third at Aintree to Supasundae and Buveur D’Air in the Grade One there over 2m 4f. I saw him gallop at Southwell and he looked the part.
Elixir De Nutz won at this meeting on his way to winning the Grade 1 Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown last term .The likely favourite’s stablemate, Call Me Lord, is the highest rated in the field and with a run under his belt at Ascot when second to If the Cap Fits – he could be the surprise package.
Pentland Hills for me.
Lust for Glory ran an eye-catching race at Ascot and looks a bit of value at double-digits in this field.
Despite winning his last two races, Sam Spinner doesn’t look a natural over fences and had a good look at the obstacles at Wetherby first time up. He could well do the same at this track. Windsor Avenue is a smart chaser and his trainer Brian Ellison thinks he can go all the way in this sphere.
Timber du Ciel has her first run in the UK and boasts some good form in France. James Reveley rides as Daryl Jacob is injured. I was really impressed with Lord Lamington at Market Rasen and he can win for trainer Alan King.
Cloth Cap is owned by Trevor Hemings and looks a potential Grand National horse in the making having finished third in the Scottish National last season. With the ground drying out at Doncaster – he can win in a disappointingly small-sized field.
*Prices correct at time of publishing