For my first selection today we travel to Cheltenham for a staying chase run over a trip of three miles two furlongs and 110yds.
A good few of these renew rivalry from the Becher chase run over the Grand National fences at Aintree, just under four weeks ago. The one that came out with the best credit from that contest was the Tom George trained Saint Are and he is sure to have a say in proceedings here. A tilt at this seasons Grand National may be on the cards and if that is the case, he is going to need to get a rise from the handicapper as he has no chance of getting in to the race off his current mark. With that in mind he is the one that will be carrying my money in this contest and he looks a solid enough each way bet.
Alfie Spinner was only a length behind in the Becher in fourth and does meet Saint Are on a pound better terms here. While he is on a lenient mark, I don’t really see a reason why he should be ahead of Saint Are in the betting here.
The one horse to take out of the Becher chase was Our Father who looked the likely winner when he took it up two from home. He just seemed to die a death after jumping the last and faded badly. This would have you slightly worried that he might not stay this far and this track is a much tougher test of stamina. There is a good chance that he may have took up the running far too early in the Becher but he is a horse who has flattered to deceive on more than one occasion in the past.
Of the remainder Cadeau George is interesting, although his inexperience may cost him against some battle hardened handicappers here.
Saint Are (E/W if 5/1+)
For my second selection today we are going to head to Ireland for a handicap hurdle run over two miles.
At the head of the market we have the Noel Meade trained Owen Mc who enters handicap company for the first time. There is no doubting that he looks to be on a very lenient mark here but he has been somewhat of a disappointment since returning from injury. Strong market support would certainly make him of interest but on what he has shown since returning, I would rather let one of the others carry my money.
The one that I like at an each way price in this is the Gordon Elliott trained Rocky Wednesday who showed very little for a long time. While he is a quirky sort I think the cheek pieces really worked the oracle and am plesed to see they have been left on here. On the best of his form the eight year old has at least 10lbs in hand and that should be enough to see him involved here once more.
Of the remainder Dandridge and Vicangelome are worth a market check as strong support for either would be significant.
Rocky Wednesday (E/W if 5/1+)
For my final selection we head north to Scotland for a three mile handicap chase.
Heading the betting is the Sue Smith Wakhan who is a consistent enough sort and has hit the frame in eight of his sixteen starts under rules. He is however still a maiden and while he should be involved again here, I would be quicker to take a chance on something at a bigger price.
I hope the dead eight line up here for each way purposes as I think the Lucinda Russell trained Ryton Runner holds sound each way claims. This will only be the geldings second chase start but I think he will really appreciate the step back up in trip here. Unlike the favourite he has managed to win a race or two, including one over course and distance over hurdles. As long as he can put in a good round of jumping he should at worst run in to a place but is handicapped well enough to win here.
Of the remainder Just Awake appeals if feeling no worse from a fall on his last start while top weight Purcells Bridge is not without a chance.
Ryton Runner (E/W)