By now many will be counting down the final hours until Cheltenham 2015 gets underway but we must first attempt to find a winner or two for one last boost to our kitty.
We begin with a novice handicap chase and look no further than the early market leader. Rear Admiral has only finished out of the top three in two of his seven attempts over fences and looked to be in command in his last race at Musselburgh last month before making a mess of the final fence and only managing second. With the drop back in trip likely to suit he should be able to go one better today.
Midnight Chorister is considered arriving on the back of a respectable placed effort at Leicester in February, although the winner of that race disappointed next time out and he has raced here twice before without any success.
Eastern Witness has yet to win a race but the Venetia Williams trained eight year old has placed twice in February and off his current mark looks like he should be winning soon.
Rear Admiral (WIN)
Ronaldinho has yet to register a win over hurdles but the manner of his close second over two miles at Wincanton in December would suggest that a victory should come sooner rather than later. The form of the race has worked out well with both fourth and fifth from that race going on to win next time out and a positive for me is that jockey Thomas Bellamy’s claim means he is effectively only racing from 1lb higher today.
May Be Some Time re-opposes here after finishing sixth in the above mentioned race and although is another who is yet to post a win hurdles he could prove to be the main danger having placed twice over todays’ trip this time last year.
Dormouse is the only course and distance winner in the field and cannot be entirely discounted. He has finished a well beaten third in his last three runs but has Jack Sherwood on board today who claims a handy 5lbs. He would need to show improvement on his recent runs but has won off higher marks in the past.
Our final race of the day sees seven go to post for an open looking class three handicap chase. Grove Pride is the early market leader will be looking to build on two reasonable placed efforts from his last two runs. With a 60% strike rate for top three finishes he looks sure to be in the mix again but today sees a big step up in trip and for that reason I am happy to look elsewhere.
Twelve year old Monkerty Tunkerty has to bounce back from a poor run at Newbury where he didn’t seem to get going at all and was eventually pulled up. He is worth sticking with though as he has a 25% win rate over fences and was a convincing winner on his previous run at Wincanton in January, moving clear to win by ten lengths, so the extra furlong today shouldn’t prove to be an inconvenience.
Of the remainder, Prince Tom is a previous course winner and has returned from a similar break with a win so merits a second look, although has proved to be most effective on good or good-to-firm ground.
Monkerty Tunkerty (E/W)