Hopefully a horse to get the afternoon off to a cracking start could be the festival targeted Josses Hill for the superpower team of Henderson and Geraghty at Kempton. The horse has somewhat flattered to deceive in his last two runs up at Doncaster and down at Ascot but there were certain signs of improvement in his defeat of Solar Impulse at the Yorkshire track last time out. Once Geraghty got him upside the long-time front runner he readily quickened yet had hung a touch left previous to that. There could be a huge amount to come from this horse and I fancy the considerable dangers in the race (all three if I am honest) to be outshone by this one. The price may be too skinny by the race time so make sure you take this early. 8/13 is probably still decent value.
Josess Hill (WIN)
15:15 Bangor On Dee
The 3:15 handicap chase from Bangor on Dee provides us with a likely type in Rocky Bender who comes here off a nice mark for Venetia Williams and at a course at which he has won. The horse is rated highest at The Racing Post unlike the official ratings and may have a few pounds in hand here based on previous runs. Liam Treadwell who takes the ride, is much underrated and the horse is not badly treated on his best form over the soft ground and probably goes best on the soft side and if it stays that way he has a huge chance. There are notable dangers in the form of Barton’s Gift with the ever reliable Nico De Boinville (surely a matter of time before he gets a regular gig at a top stable as the number 1 jockey) who has run into a bit of a sticky period but should be winning again soon and quite possibly in this sort of company. Richard Lee’s Incentivise has been a good old stick and can still beat many of these on the pick of his old form but at 12 may be just pushing it a bit. Lucinda Russell’s The Friary makes up the best of the rest but Rocky Bender remains the selection
Rocky Bender (E/W if 5/1+)
15:50 Bangor On Dee
The Grand National can only be around the corner if TeaforThree is being entered into a Hunter’s chase at the Welsh track. The horse who ran a cracker in defeat to Aurora’s Encore two years ago and has contested Grade 1s at the festival (including last year’s Gold Cup must have a great chance in this company. The natural concern is that he is entered into an amateur’s race but the jockey that Rebecca Curtis has selected has plenty of experience and if he runs anything like how he should you would expect him to be tough to pass. Calgary Bay who was pulled up on his last run at Cheltenham is an excellent horse on the pick of his best form but that probably stretches back to 2012 when he beat another Grand National favourite Shakalakaboomboom. Neverownup also comes here in scintillating form having racked up 4 wins from his last 5 runs (he came 2nd in the other) but this was all done on good ground and the forecast softer surface is an unknown.
Teaforthree (E/W if 5/1+)