This is potentially a trappy little race and one that could see a number of these have an argument over 2 miles and 4 furlongs. Cloud Creeper, is likely to go off as the favourite in the race and must have a chance after a decent win last time out. He has also hit the frame on two previous occasions to that but the concern is who he was beating in those victories. To my mind, they were events that he should have been at least placing in. The Johnson/Hobbs partnership has gone a touch quiet at exactly the wrong time and I think that he may well have another frame place only here.
The one I like in the race is Upepito, for Venetia Williams. The numbers may not be the same as cloud creeper but the quality of opposition he has faced is much different and I think he could get his head in front here to give the stable a decent pre-Cheltenham boost. There are only 2lbs between these two and think the latter could well get his head in front.
Of the remainder Noble Legend, has run a couple of decent ones this season and Son of a Gun, would be a danger on the best of last season’s form but has run only once this time around and it was an average showing nearly 9 months ago.
Normally I am a bit lukewarm on amateur events but the 5pm event at Leicester throws up a very interesting runner that I think could get home. Neverownup, is up against a few decent ones that are coming into this Hunter’s Chase in decent nick. The trip is 2 miles and the worry could be that it’s a touch on the short side, however I am willing to believe that the horse can cope with it and make the frame at least. Connections have the horse running from the front and that could play into his hooves as the extra few furlongs have seen him headed recently. This must be tempered with who he has been headed by and Big Fella Thanks is one of those; a horse that had ran a belter at Cheltenham the previous time. He also unseated the rider when travelling kindly in behind Tea for Three at Bangor prior to that. He often makes the frame and I can see that happening again.
Notable dangers in the race are headed by Hazy Tom whose form has been patchy but that has more to do with the quality of the opponents he has faced. He was pulled up in the race won by Tea for Three and was 3rd in behind Grey’s Life who franked the form yesterday with an easy win over at Carlisle. This column seems to have been getting winners from the dangers recently so don’t be surprised to see this one push the selection all the way.
The selection will also see competition for the lead from course and distance winner Siro Demur for whom Alex Edwards takes the ride and who has won on him before seemingly having a good relationship. He was 4th in that race behind Tea for Three and could give the other two something to think about.
Scimon Templar has been put up by me in this column before and unseated the rider that day in between two successes which was particularly frustrating. He runs again here in another easier contest and the consideration was to follow him again and I am just not sure there is any reason or opponent in this to make me think otherwise. He is 7lbs ahead on the official ratings and the going of soft entitles him to win again. He can be quite quirky and that can be his undoing but there is no doubt he has ability in this sphere. I am going to put him up again for the win.
Of the potential dangers Higgs Boson could be the one that is perhaps least exposed and Ryan Day taking the 7lbs off could be a swing in the horse’s favour, especially after a decent run the last day. He has run at Ayr 8 times but only hit the frame twice and that must be a concern although the weight allowance could help.
Honourable Gent could be a decent alternative to the selection and ran on well in behind Nefyn Bay the last day at Wetherby but that hasn’t been franked when that winner was stuffed on Friday of last week.
SCIMON TEMPLAR (WIN)