A cracking race here and as far as I’m concerned any one of four would be a very worthy winner of this seven runner contest. I‘m not overly convinced by Dame Du Compaignie as I don’t feel she relishes heavy ground. Her win on such ground came in a two runner race, that said she does receive weight from the rest of the field and Henderson has a good record in this fixture.
Paul Nicholls also has a decent record, and he runs Hitman who was a good second to the classy Allmankind, he should be fine on the ground after winning on similar in France and represents the biggest threat.
Shan Blue, trained by Dan Skelton, won last time over three miles but shouldn’t be inconvenienced by this shorter trip and as such is likely to finish in the mix.
It’d be foolish and remiss of me not to mention the oldest horse in the race. At the age of nine the Alan King trained Messire Des Obeaux is a classy type who has won both starts this season. His jumping has been superb and despite his age would cannot be discounted.
There is little on form between the principles and they’re very hard to split so I’m going to think outside the box and take a chance at an Each Way price with Sporting John. He has run once over fences and disappointed at Exeter but he was going supremely well before he stopped to a holt. Nothing has come to light to explain the run and sometimes it just happens. He can be forgiven that effort and based on his hurdle form from last year was top class and at the prices today he is worth an outside punt.
SPORTING JOHN (E/W)
written by Steve Marriott