1:00 - Betfred Goals Galore Handicap Hurdle (CLASS 2) (4yo+)
After having a fairly easy time of it on his first run back this season in a stronger race at Haydock two weeks ago, CLONDAW KAEMPFER could be ready to take full advantage of what is for me a very good handicap mark.
I can’t let him go back though in all honesty I don’t think there’s too much value in his price at this stage. It isn’t a great race though, the ground will suit and McCain is possibly just hitting some form after a strange start.
Advice – Clondaw Kaempfer (Jumps Horses to follow list 2013/14) 2pts win @7/2 generally
2:05 - Betfred Becher Handicap Chase (Grade 3) (CLASS 1) (6yo+)
The race of the day by some way and plenty have great chances. On His Own is favourite but I think he is very short considering he has yet to get round the course in two attempts at the National, the last time looking beat before trip was an issue.
Vesper Bell also comes over for Willie Mullins but for me needs softer ground in this grade. Join Together was just beat last year in an absolute slog of a race and if the headgear stops him from being outpaced this year he should go well. Walkon is a suspect stayer, as too Big Fella Thanks who went close last year but this definitely is just a touch too far.
Chance Du Roy did well in the Topham last year but is another better at a touch shorter and Philip Hobbs has a fascinating runner in PLANET OF SOUND. He runs well fresh, notably when a good second in the Hennessy two years ago. He also jumped beautifully for a long way in the National itself before not staying and if the ground isn’t too bad he has a big chance off this mark.
Across The Bay also went well for a long way in the big one but he does tend to run in snatches at times. I can’t have Wyck Hill, he just doesn’t jump well enough or is that well treated, Roberto Goldback should go well as a lot is going for him and he seemed to enjoy the fences in April though unseated at the last.
But PINEAU DE RE is my other selection in this and I really like him. It’s his first try at the fences but he usually jumps very well and Dr Richard Newland, who is one of the best trainers about in placing his horses, has done really well to protect his mark for something big.
He ran a blinder last time over hurdles at Cheltenham, that being his first run for ages not over fences and in the heart he’s in, he’s very well treated if taking to the big ones.
Already Advised – Planet Of Sound 1.5pts e/w @16/1 generally
Pineau De Re 1.5pts e/w @20/1 generally
1:20 – Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle (Series Qualifier) (CLASS 2) (4yo+)
Nicky Henderson has a strong hand with both Whisper and Utopie Des Bordes who come off good runs in similar handicaps. The former ran well at Cheltenham in a race that probably didn’t pan out right for him and the latter ran in a very warm Wincanton Mares’ handicap before running Gevrey Chambertin close in the Fixed Brush.
Off 142 and 140 they should go fine but UPSWING off 123 is very well handicapped for me and the one to be on. He also ran really well in a similar handicap at Cheltenham, a race which seemed to fall apart with only him and one other making up any sort of ground from the rear (winner made very good early move when held up at the start).
The other horse was Killala Quay who won the Grade 2 today and I’d be amazed if this horse didn’t have a good deal more to give tomorrow upped slightly in trip too. Of the rest Saphir De Rheu after a good effort last week and Act Of Kalanisi slightly down in trip, should go well and in all it’s a good race as loads of handicap form meet here and it’s a good way to measure it all up.
Advice – Upswing 3pts win @6/1 generally
1:50 - Racing Post Henry VIII Novices´ Chase (Grade 1) (CLASS 1) (4yo+)
I had a bit of time so decided to price this race up myself. The one notable anomaly I had was HINTERLAND who I have as a slight favourite. I think he’s progressed a good deal this season already and he won well at Sandown last time when Grandouet unseated at the last.
I still had him winning that day whatever really and being an out-and-out two miler who ran really well when behind Captain Conan in this last year, I think he will go very well. Taquin Du Seuil deserves to be at the head of the market considering he is very talented and this will be a better measure of if he has enough speed for an Arkle.
Grandouet meanwhile just doesn’t convince me over fences. As said before he is a lovely jumper of a hurdle because he keeps so low and fluent, that style just isn’t for fences in my opinion. He will strip fitter for the return though and hopefully he can do himself justice and settle here.
Balder Succes has done well over fences though his form hasn’t necessarily worked out bar Baby Mix winning the other day, while Manyriverstocross is well worth his chancing after a brilliant display of jumping on his debut, just edging out Claret Cloak who is now on better terms but both have a touch to find.
Advice – Hinterland 3pts win @11/2 Stan James
3:35 – LDS Leak Detection Specialists London National (A Handicap Chase) (CLASS 2) (5yo+ 0-150)
A good renewal of this. Buddy Bolero should go well as he strikes as a type for this though then again it could well be a prep for the Welsh National too. Godsmejudge is a superb jumper who may just be handicapped to his best but fair play for connections not messing about with him as I feared they may do.
Bradley if jumping well will go close but with these fences it’s a worry while I like Soll as he jumped like a stag when winning here last year though I would have preferred soft ground. It is the ground which has swung me against him in favour of COURT BY SURPRISE. His last two runs have just about suggested a step up in trip could see a bit more improvement.
He ran well last time in the Badger Ales despite stumbling three out and he was just behind Alfie Spinner, while the winner Standing Ovation, despite losing next time out, is not one to give up on just yet. The jockey booking of Geraghty is a notable positive and I think he’s got a good chance with jumping and ground fine.
Advice – Court By Surprise 2pts win @7/1 generally