Mount Vesuvius is without a win in almost two years but he suggested that he was coming back to form following a short break last time out. He will certainly relish the good to firm conditions on offer and he is becoming dangerously well handicapped on the best of his old form. Tom O’Brien is the regular pilot for this seven year old and is one of only two jockeys to have won on him before.
Anton Dolin has already beaten a few of these reopposing rivals before and he has been keeping his form well of late. He looks to be the biggest danger in a race in which many find it difficult to win. His amateur rider is able to claim seven pounds from him and they ought to provide the sternest of opposition. Tiradia is the only previous course and distance winner in the field and that alone entitles him to plenty of respect. Despite a six month lay off he has run well fresh in the past and can make the frame.
Both previous wins by Mount Vesuvius have come at around this time of the year and given that he is set to receive up to a stone and a half from some of his rivals he has to command respect. A bold effort can be expected given his free falling handicap mark.
Mount Vesuvius (WIN)
Our Kylie was an eyecatching runner up on what was her first career start over hurdles at Market Rasen last time. She bumped into a more experienced rival in Retro Valley on that most recent outing and she is fully entitled to have improved for that. She was only a moderate sort on the flat but she seems to have taken well to the obstacles and with Denis O’Regan back on board she has to be high on any shortlist.
Secrets Safe also made his hurdling debut at Newton Abbot a few weeks ago. He found the John Ferguson trained Leoncavello far too strong and he too will have learned plenty. Richard Johnson is back on board for “Shark” Hanlon and the duo look to be the biggest threat to Tony Colye’s filly. Azyaan has been a big disappointment on the flat for Kevin Ryan. It is of little surprise to see him try something a bit different with the grey filly and she is likely to have been well schooled at home. With her mind now switched to jumping her enthusiasm for the game may be reignited and she has place prospects.
Our Kylie is looks as thought this sphere of the sport could well be the making of her. With natural progression expected, she looks fully capable of playing a leading role here and can go close to losing her maiden tag.
Our Kylie (WIN)
Kenny The Captain returns to his favourite track where he has proved twice successful in the past. Despite being burdened with top weight in this finale, he is still a few pounds below his highest ever winning mark. He was a decent second over the minimum trip at Carlisle last month but this return to six furlongs should see him at his most effective. Duran Fentiman is the only jockey to have won on this four year old son of Captain Rio and he replaces the talented Rachel Richardson this time around.
David O’Meara took this race last season with Bop It and he sends a couple into battle here this afternoon. Second Cut is an improving three year old who won well at this track earlier in the month. That was over a furlong further though so his stamina is guaranteed. He is set to receive weight from older and more exposed types and that makes him the likelier of the pair. Ruth Carr has her horses firing on all cylinders at present and Exotic Guest has won two of his last four races. He too is a pervious course and distance winner and he looks destined to be involved at the finish yet again.
Tim Easterby has applied cheek-pieces to Kenny The Captain for the first time this afternoon and they are likely to make him concentrate a little bit harder. With conditions in his favour he should be capable of going close yet again.
Kenny The Captain (E/W if 9/2+)