Loaves And Fishes was an impressive winner on racecourse debut back in 2014, winning on good ground by almost three lengths on his only career attempt over a mile. He has subsequently failed to make the frame in any of his five races since but, having his first run for David O’Meara back at a trip he’s won over previously, he is an interesting runner today.
Moon River arrives in amazing form having won her last three, although all three came over seven furlongs and all came at Southwell. She has won previously over a mile and boasts a 50% winning strike rate on the all-weather but is passed over here as she is yet to make the frame in six attempts on turf, including two attempts here at Nottingham.
Lavetta carries a penalty and steps up in trip having won two from her last three over seven furlongs, however won by over two lengths eased down last time out so the extra distance and the penalty don’t cause too much concern. Furthermore she was a close second in the race she didn’t win but the victor has won again since so the form is holding up well and Joe Fanning keeping the ride for today’s race is an extra added bonus as he has a winning strike rate approaching 30% when riding for the stable.
Trainer George Baker has started the flat season well, notching two winners and two placed efforts from six in the last two weeks on turf. He has a 20% winning strike rate over the last five years here at Brighton with impressive level stakes profit results over the same time period and sends just one here today, by way of new recruit Nags Wag. The three year old filly signed off last season with a win over todays trip at Kempton and also has a win over the minimum trip on good-to-firm ground at Bath to her name and is taken to continue progressing here.
Likely favourite Born To Finish produced his best career effort when second at Chelmsford earlier this month and the 3lbs rise is more than offset by a 5lbs claimer. However he was still over two lengths behind the winner and wasn’t getting any closer so the biggest danger looks to be the only previous course and distance winner in the field.
In fact the above mentioned course and distance win is also Addicted To Luck’s only career win yet she was last seen competing in a listed race at Newbury in October last year so has to be in with a chance now back in handicap company.
Nags Wag (E/W if 9/2+)
Vautour really needs no introduction and given a clear round of jumping should be too strong for his rivals here. However he made an uncharacteristic error when falling when in command in the Melling Chase at Aintree at the start of the month and with this still fresh in the memory he may be worth taking on at such short odds again.
The Tom George trained Gods Own benefitted most from Vautour’s fall, emerging as a three length winner at Aintree. A previous course and distance winner (on his only previous run here), he has a strike rate approaching 60% for top three finishes over a two mile trip and again looks a decent choice to fill the placings at the very least.
Special Tiara finished five lengths ahead of Gods Own when third in the Queen Mother Champion Chase and has a great record over fences with four wins and five placed efforts from eighteen attempts. However he has had to play bridesmaid many times in the last few years, only winning two from sixteen in the last three years and may be destined for minor honours again today.
At a bigger price I am siding with the Nicky Henderson trained Simonsig who, despite only being seen once in three years when finishing a close second to Bobs Worth at Aintree in November 2015, he has a fantastic career record of eight wins (and two seconds) from ten, including the 2012 Neptune and 2013 Arkle. Nicky Henderson has never given up on his now ten year old and if recent performances from Sprinter Sacre are anything to go by then Simonsig has to be considered for a place at the very least.