It’s been a busy week so just time for a few quick selections this evening.
13:45 Manifesto Novices’ Chase – Grade 1 – 2m 4f
A great race to get us under way and I prefer Fusil Raffles*** (3/1) who was an excellent second to Chantry House and ahead of Asterion Forlonge, subsequent winner Chatham Street Lad and Shan Blue in the Marsh. Ground should be fine. I’m yet to be convinced about much-touted Hitman who fell in the Scilly Isles and was beaten by Allmankind in the Henry VIII. The Shunter is taking a big step up and Eldorado Allen has a second in the Arkle to his name but was flattered by that result among the also rans behind Shishkin. Umbrigado at 11/1 is worth a look for a place but bear in mind that there are only 7 runners, therefore first two only unless you get an offer from the bookies (of which there will be many available for the first race).
14:20 Doom Bar Juvenile Hurdle – Grade 1 – 2m 209y
This is between to first two in the market and Monmiral**** (11/10) is a confident choice ahead of Adagio. The selection bypassed Cheltenham and should be ideally set up for this. Adagio was a fine second in the Triumph but this is after the Lord Mayor’s Ball and he may not yet have fully recovered from that effort.
14:50 Betway Bowl – Grade 1 – 3m 210y
Clan Des Obeaux*** (3/1) was the coming Gold Cup champion for a couple of seasons but it turned out that the blue riband at Cheltenham wasn’t suited to him. However he won the King George in 2018 and 2019 and his form this year is 232. This race is ideal for him to bag a Grade 1 this season and I’m surprised at the generous price. First time cheekpieces is an added bonus.
He’s also a class apart from the opposition. Waiting Patiently is a fine horse but not just quite at the top level (although this course will suit). Tiger Roll just shouldn’t be in this race. He could spring a surprise but could equally be tailed off quite early. Admittedly, I was surprised by his return to form in the Cross Country but this is an entirely different proposition. Clondaw Castle is my idea of the second in the race. Native River doesn’t have his ground and had a hard race when fourth in the Gold Cup. Mister Fisher could just run into a place but jumping is a big question mark.
15:25 Aintree Hurdle – Grade 1 – 2m 4f
This is often described as the middle distance hurdle race that is missing from the Cheltenham Festival and is normally a race of the highest quality. This isn’t the greatest renewal. I’m disappointed that Jason The Militant** (100/30f) is the new favourite because I was looking for a bit of value. Nonetheless, he remains my selection. Abacadabras is a decent horse who fell early on in the Champion Hurdle but this is the first attempt beyond 2m and I’m not sure that it will suit. Mcfabulous is a talking horse who is yet to prove his credentials at the highest level. Brewin’upastorm could run into a place. Buveur D’air is the Henderson hurdling equivalent of Altior over fences – obviously the season has not gone to plan and best watched.
Song For Someone** (12/1 e/w) is a horse that I added to my “to follow” list long before he blossomed. He started this season with two Grade 2s at Ascot and Cheltenham, before being beaten by Goshen in the Kingwell. I’m willing to forgive him that and, on that basis, it’s a very close call between him and the selection. Reverse forecast? Bet placed.
16:05 Foxhunters’ Chase – National course – 2m 5f
Thank goodness that the amateurs are back! I won’t necessarily have a bet but, if I do, I’ll be opposing Billaway who had a hard race at Cheltenham and may not be quite ready for this. He also has a tendency to fall just short in the big races. Sametegal is a veteran chaser who is here on this basis but I don’t think that he’s the obvious choice, albeit that he’s proven over the fences. Cat Tiger* (13/2) is, for me, a better proposition who, at just 7 years old, could be on the start of an Aintree roll (note the choice of word and the second name of the horse) for Corinthian and very competent jockey David Maxwell and trainer Paul Nicholls.
Of the remainder, Jamie Codd was invited to extol the virtues of Mighty Stowaway at a preview night yesterday evening and didn’t. For old times’ sake but with no confidence I’d be delighted to see 13-y-o Ucello Conti thereabouts but I’m afraid that PU is more likely.
16:40 Red Rum Handicap Chase – Grade 3 – 1m 7f
This often turns up a long odds winner. On straight form, second favourite Getaway Trump should win and has the right course but he’s inconsistent, while not being campaigned at the highest level. Editeur Du Gite for the Moores should like the course and ground but, if I do have a bet, it will be on Dostal Phil* (16/1 e/w), an 8-y-o for Philip Hobbs, who could be turning into a half decent chaser. Sully D’oc AA is respected as place option.
17:15 Mares’ Bumper – Grade 2 – 2m 209y
I wouldn’t normally be paying too much attention to a race like this but we have a star on show in the shape of Eileendover**** (10/11f). She’s a dual purpose horse who could well be seen at Royal Ascot. She’s also well ahead of this field in an ideal race on ideal ground and the only serious threat is Elle Est Belle who I backed when she was third in the Champion Bumper. It’s currently 14/1 the field after the first two in the market and the only other one of note is Miss Lamb who was comfortably beaten by Eileendover at Market Rasen.
So, here is the lowdown:
1.45 Fusil Raffles
2.50 Clan Des Obeaux
3.25 Jason The Militant
4.05 Cat Tiger
4.40 Dostal Phil
Clan Des Obeaux
A £30 Lucky 15 could deliver £415.21. Bet placed.
I’m now going to watch the Road To Aintree with Lydia Hislop and Ruby Walsh on Racing TV to see what they think and probably find that I’m changing my mind!