The manner of A Plus Tard’s victory in the novice handicap chase on the opening day of last year’s Festival remains fresh in the memory, and he looks one of the bankers of the week in the Ryanair.
Admittedly, a peak form Min edges him on ratings, but whether that rival is capable of such a performance anymore remains to be seen, and A Plus Tard certainly has his best days ahead of him.
He beat Chacun Pour Soi at Leopardstown last time, and the return to this intermediate trip will bring more out of him, so his claims look very strong.
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The one potential blot on the handicap, who stands out as having more to offer, is Simply The Betts. He is a novice, but has won three of his four starts over fences this season, latest in the Timeform Novices’ Handicap Chase over C&D by one and a half lengths from Imperial Aura.
That form looks very strong now, with the third horse home winning their next start, and also Imperial Aura winning the novice handicap chase at the Festival on Tuesday. Simply The Betts looks the proverbial graded horse in a handicap and can make his presence felt.
The Pertemps Final is one of the most competitive handicaps of the week, but high on the shortlist has to be Welsh Saint. He relished the step up to three miles when winning a qualifier for this event at Haydock in February, travelling strongly throughout and still going well when left in front at the last.
A subsequent 4 lb rise for that success looks lenient, particularly as Welsh Saint has more improvement in him at this trip, and he ought to go close in a race where Paddy is paying extra places.