Dominated by Welsh based runners the first televised race here at Chepstow should, in theory, see the prize stay in Wales.
Top Gamble, Play The Ace and Quite By Chance all represent the home nation and in all honesty I can’t see the winner coming from outside of this trio.
Play The Ace has been in blistering form knocking up a sequence of four consecutive victories. The eight year old continues to pile on the weight, thanks to the handicapper and with each win the next run becomes that bit more difficult. I hate to be a Party Pooper but I think this may just be the day in which his magnificent run comes to an end.
Quite By Chance has been pretty consistent this year but is still way above his last winning handicap mark. No doubt he’ll go close once again but as with his most recent efforts the role of bridesmaid looks likely once more.
Top Gamble hasn’t won in well over a year but that’s not to say that winning is way out of reach. A second placed finish to Un De Sceaux is far from disappointing and a fourth in this years Queen Mother Champion Chase also looks like the best form on offer. Notable runs behind the likes of Top Notch, Fox Norton and Special Tiara also look very impressive and with this drop in competition he should find his way back to the winners enclosure once again.
TOP GAMBLE (WIN)
A return to Kempton after yesterday’s King George antics where we open up with a race that looks dominated by trainer Paul Nicholls. The two horses hailing from the Nicholls yard book end the field and it’s hard to see past the duo in terms of the winner.
The Unit looks the most likely challenger to Cyrname and Tommy Silver but is likely to play second fiddle.
Tommy Silver was a decent hurdler and has progressed to bigger obstacles well. A horse on the up who can win this one.
TOMMY SILVER (WIN)
Seven year old Tobefair absolutely loves it here at this Welsh venue with a 66% strike rate at Chepstow. A formidable force this time last year he’s sadly a shadow of his former self as the handicapper has well and truly taken a hold of him and given him an almighty weight to burden.
Another course and distance winner is Dandy Duke who’s aiming to make it four victories in a row after success at Huntingdon,and here at Chepstow was followed up by a win at Southwell. It seems that the lengthy absence he had from January 16 until November this year has worked wonders and expect him to be a leading player in this one.
The third and final course winner that’s set to line up is the one that gets our vote. Court Frontier should be much fitter for his seasonal return at Newbury and trainer Christian Williams has been bagging winners for fun. The welsh based trainer and jockey combination will be desperate to have a winner on this card and they may just do it.
COURT FRONTIER (E/W)
Although the race takes place in the middle of the afternoon the onus will be on midnight. Midnight Tour and Midnight Tune look to be vying it out for favouritism. This being said we’re going to be putting our money elsewhere. Trainer Tom Lacey has his horses in fine form and jockey Noel Fehily is one of the best in the game. Jester Jet was far from disappointing when third at Cheltenham and can go close once again.
JESTER JET (WIN)
The only Grade 1 race of the day former adversaries Look My Way and Embole renew their rivalry. Neither have claimed a victory yet but I wouldn’t rule it out for the Richard Johnson ridden Look My Way. Enlisting the services of the Champion Jockey is a shrewd move and he wasn’t far away behind a very nice horse on debut. He’ll certainly need to improve upon his one run so far but there’s no reason he won’t be able to and I think he’s a certainty to finish in the top three.
The well touted and unbeaten Sussex Ranger should be the one that his rivals are targeting. A whopping twenty two lengths combined winning distance from both hurdles victories this Gary Moore trained runner has the potential to be something very special. In the month that former stable star Sire De Grugy bowed out of the sport they could well have a ready made replacement.
It’s a tough call as to wether we go for the favourite to win or the outsider each way, you never know we could end up with the forecast but we’ll take the more sensible route and side with profitable place money.
LOOK MY WAY (E/W)
Tingle Creek winner Politologue makes a quick return to action after doing well last time out at Sandown. This looks a less competitive race and although his odds are poor you just can’t realistically look elsewhere. Former Queen Mother victor Special Tiara seems the one most likely to follow home the favourite.
The marquee race of the day and one of the showpiece events in the Welsh sporting calendar we have the Welsh Grand National.
Now normally in races with such big fields and so many variables I’d look to avoid backing the favourite but Beware The Bear looks a very worthy market principle. He perhaps hasn’t achieved as much as some of his rivals but he was so impressive in his previous victory that this lightly raced seven year old continues to improve from strength to strength.
Welsh trainer Kerry Lee has a great record in this race and as such Bishops Road demands respect.
At bigger prices Mysteree and Sir Mangan could find themselves grabbing a place.
Another horse worth backing, for those looking for each way value, is Milansbar. A close third in a trial for this contest in his most recent effort he looked relatively eye catching. A further step up in trip will aid this ones chances and you can expect this one to pass fading horses in the closing stages.
BEWARE THE BEAR (WIN) - NAP MILANSBAR (E/W)
Our final of eight races on ITV is a competitive eight runner handicap. Brandon Hill looks to go one better than his second placed finish at Ascot previously.
Sir Ivan is a classy type but unfortunately looks to be burdened with too much weight.
A former course and distance winner who finished a very credible fifth in a twenty runner race can do even better today. Pilgrims Bay has been competing in Class 1 races most recently so a drop in grade and returning to a venue he relishes add as huge pluses to the chances of Neil Mulholland’s charge.
PILGRIMS BAY (WIN)
written by Rory Paddock
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