This could prove a tricky puzzle to solve as most have already proven themselves to be talented enough to win a race of this nature and top weight Hidden Justice is no different. In the hands of capable dual purpose trainer John Quinn, he hasn’t been seen over obstacles since March of last year where he got up very late to nail Rumble Of Thunder ( Here over 2m3f ) Any fitness worries today are probably misplaced as he has had eleven starts back on the level and though he hasn’t won any of them, on numerous occasions he has gone close or run with credit. Dean Pratt’s 7lbs claim could also prove vital and as he has previously won on him, a chance is taken he can lower the colours of the more fancied runners. Optimistic Bias took an age to get up at Aintree last time over 3m1f and encounters very soft going for the first time today. Despite being unexposed he is likely to be plenty short enough and the drop back in trip has to be a concern, he has to be respected all the same though and comes from a yard amongst the winners. Shades Of Midnight also comes from a yard firing and is very interesting given he’s already proven himself on very testing ground, this trip shouldn’t represent any issue for him and so despite his double figure price, he is seen as the main danger. Island Heights is another worthy of consideration and comes here on the back of a victory at Ayr, both ground and trip will be fine and his chance is as strong as any.
Hidden Justice (E/W if 9/2+)
Just the seven runners here but it will take a decent one to turn over Francis Of Assisi whom was unbeaten in three over hurdles before finding the likes of Irvine too hot at Wincanton the last day. A reproduction of that effort could well be enough to take this though there are grounds to expect further improvement from John Ferguson’s charge and though its concerning a few of the yards have been turned over in recent days, this one is taken bely that and go in. Welsh Shadow is the only un-penalised runner in the race and one of the least exposed, he was a beaten favourite on his comeback though and though he could be anything, he has plenty to find with the selection. Altruism is unbeaten in two but must prove he wants it this soft and has only raced at Cartmel so far, he like Lady Yeats could be anything but substance is certainly lacking when taking into account the form of the Ferguson runner.
Francis Of Assisi (WIN)
Leviathan is likely to find this much tougher than when taking last seasons renewal off a 1lb lower mark and despite the form of his handler and that the ground would make sense, he is taken on with a view to backing next time ( Should he lose here ) Cloonacool is interesting given he’s already won in a higher grade than this, he will have to jump much better than he did the last day however and for that reason he is taken on. Winner Massagot is another who must jump better than he did the last day though it looked to be a ridiculous decision to send him to a Grade1 on the back of a Maiden victory at Kempton. Quite what Allan King was thinking sending him to that Aintree race flabbergasts me but this is much much easier and with improvement looking likely to come and off a lenient looking mark, he is taken to gain a second victory over obstacles. Three Kingdoms, Forrest Bihan and Nesterenko are others to make some appeal, all three lack the scope of the selection though and can only be respected as such.
Winner Massagot (WIN)