The big man himself Paddy Power and our top racing trader Niall O’Reilly have given their top tips ahead of Saturday’s racing at Wetherby.
Speaking on the latest episode of our twice-weekly From The Horse’s Mouth podcast, both warned against last year’s Stayers’ Hurdle winner Lisnagar Oscar before going separate ways when hunting a winner in the Charlie Hall Chase.
The Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham last year was a funny race with Lisnagar Oscar winning at 50/1. It’s early in the season but that horse will be quite highly tried all year. Next Destination is interesting after a change of stable from Willie Mullins, but hasn’t run for about 20 years it’s probably a watching brief at this stage!
So I’m going to go for WHOLESTONE for the Twiston-Davies yard, who is pretty consistent and seems made for these races – he’s never really out of the frame. He was novice chasing last year but is back hurdling now and could be one that is fitter than some of the others and is therefore a bit of value.
I put a line through Cyrname because he has only actually run well three times in his entire career, despite his rating. They’ve all been at Ascot, so the left-handed track is a negative. Sam Spinner, Ballyoptic and VINDICATION were the three that I had narrowed it down to, and because Niall has gone for Sam Spinner then I will go for Vindication!
Over the last three years, Vindication has won first time out off a break. As long as he goes the right way round, he’s got a great chance!
Wetherby is a track where I think course form is quite important, and the Skeltons obviously do well there. I wouldn’t trust the form from last year’s Stayers’ Hurdle at all. I wouldn’t back Lisnagar Oscar as I think that form is a massive outlier. Either way, he was beaten on his reappearance last year and the year before. I just don’t think this is his time of year at all, and he seems better from January onwards if you look at his career so far.
WHOLESTONE is the one that is staring me in the face. He won on reappearance last year, and won on reappearance in three of his last four seasons. He was second in this race a few years ago and I definitely think he ca go well each-way.
There were doubts that Cyrname might not run here earlier in the week and those doubts have continued with connections supposedly not sure if they wanted to run him here. It’s a tricky race and the front two in the market – Cyrname and Vindication – are much better horse going the other way round a track so I would have that as a doubt straight away and would be willing to take both of them on.
I would be between SAM SPINNER and Aye Right – I’m just not fully sure the latter is good enough. He did run very well at Kelso over two miles behind the Old Roan Chase winner Nuts Well, but Sam Spinner has won twice at Wetherby already and course form is quite important here. He also has that class from being a very good hurdler so I think he can find that jumping improvement here.
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