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Old Guard may not be the force of old though he won nicely two starts back before running a fine third when a never nearer third at Cheltenham last time. Sent up in trip today its anyones guess as to whether he will be as effective but he makes appeal and Bryony Frost has landed a few big pots in recent times. Air Horse One returned to the fray with a solid effort at Ascot and the form of that closesly ties him and Old Guard, given he’s entitled to improve for that he is handed a speculative vote. 



All eyes here will be on reigning Champion Hurdle hero, Buveur D’Air, should he turn up in any sort of form then the hurdles are the only danger and taking him on seems a rather futile exercise. Irving has won this twice, he usually runs well on his return from a break though he requires a flop from the favourite today. Looking at the rest it is hard to even justify a mention as Buveur D’Air will likely have faced sterner tests in his work at home.



This looks desperately tough to decipher as all of them are unexposed and open to any amount of improvement, to further complicate the equation most of the big yards are represented so small stakes are advised. High Bridge has some fairly useful form and wont lack for fitness, his yard have been amongst the winners of late and as such he is handed a tentative vote. Charli Parcs has always been highly regarded and his sixth in last terms Triumph Hurdle reads well in the context of this, market vibes are always advised with horses from his yard though he deserves respect all the same. Mount Mews, Poppy Kay and Master Of Irony all deserve a mention in what appears a very tricky race. 



All eyes here will likely be pinned on Coneygree, top class on his day and a former Gold Cup winner he would absolutely hammer these if on song but there are significant question marks over him. Fragile and often re-routed his latest effort when pulled up in the Charlie Hall was a major setback, as already stated he has all the ability when firing but you just could not trust to back him. Total Recall won nicely last time and is a very interesting challeger for Willie Mullins, he could be anything but Irish winners in this are hardly a regularity. Present Man deserves his place here though he may struggle at the end, he is quite some jumper however and will entertain whilst he has steam. Fans of Might Bite will watch the performance of Whisper with bated breath, he is entitled to go well here but has plenty of weight. American has looked a superstar in the making and is 4-6, should he be fully revved up he may prove too classy, he gets the nod though this is wide open.



This race almost always turns into a desperate slog though Venetia Williams wont mind and her Yala Enki looks a very big player. Generally quite reliable and with being one who wont mind rain he looks a fairly sure sort to improve from his last run and is massively respected here. Wakanda won this in 2015 and ran well when second at Kelso last time, that should have ripened him for this and Danny Cook has recorded five wins on him. Beware The Bear is a real interesting type for Nicky Henderson and he is totally unexposed against the likes of these, should he be spot on he could make a mockery of his mark and is feared as such. Sam Red has been in good form and is another of interest, the handicapped has given Wakanda a fairly good chance though and he makes most appeal.



Another very tricky contest to conclude the televised action today and another where small stakes look the way forawrds. Overtown Express is fairly lightly raced for a nine year old and probably has a bit of improvement left in him, from a yard amongst the winner it is easy to envisage a big run and this is easier than some of the races he’s contested in. Baby King showed a good attitude when scoring at Aintree and is closely matched with Duke Of Navan on that, both deserve respect though seperating them looks a thankless task. Theinval looks on a handy mark and showed up well when making his seasonal debut at Ascot, after that he tipped up at the first at Cheltenham but he would go close if none the worse for that. Just Cameron is on his last winning mark and is worthy of consideration at the odds, all things considered however, Overtown Express gets the nod.


written by Chris Connolly



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