12:50 – Elixir D’Ainay 11/4
It was a tough choice between the three at the top of the market, but ultimately I was really impressed with my selection when beating the reopposing Longhouse Poet and producing a gallant performance in behind superstar Envoi Allen. Fury Road is the best long term prospect over 3 miles in my opinion and possibly would be my selection on softer ground over 3 miles. I see him as an out and out galloper and I think he just might get beaten for a bit of speed on decent ground by Elixir D’Ainay here
3:45 – Embittered 20/1 ew
He was very good in bumpers last season and he was really impressive on hurdling debut when displaying his stamina ability when finding more for pressure to beat Blackbow. Ran a decent race in the royal bond 9 lengths behind Envoi Allen and I think he’s been crying out for this step up in trip. I’m not sure what to make of that performance last time out but I’m willing to forgive him in another hot race. Joseph likes this horse and earmarked him as one of his novices to look out for and I can see him running a huge race at big odds. The other one I like in the race is Thatsy who could also have a big chance but at the prices I think Embittered is a great bet!
1:15 – First Flow 7/4
Returns to 2 miles, going right handed on soft ground which will see him at his absolute optimum. Surely this is his race to lose as this race is tailor made for him. Not only does he have his optimum conditions but he’s receiving chunks of weight all round, not to mention Chester Williams’ 5 pound claim on top of that. Should take all the beating!
3:00 – Ask Ben 7/1 ew
Ask Ben has run two cracking races at Haydock and Cheltenham, in which the last day he could feel a little unlucky when not getting a clear run up the hill and could of perhaps finished closer to the winner. He’s only gone up two pounds for that and I think has a major chance here, although this race is equally as competitive and he runs the risk of finding a horse really well handicapped. However, I’m confident he will be there or there abouts and I think there’s more to come off a mark of 138.
3:35 – Le Rocher 11/1 ew
Probably a forgotten horse from the potential he showed as a hurdler. Not faced 3 miles over fences but loves soft ground I don’t see him having any issues over the trip. I thought he ran a great race last time out in behind Gala Ball, who had a run under his belt and in front of the well fancied As De Mee that day at Wincanton. I think Le Rocher jumped the best of the quartet throughout and I thought he was the winner after the second last but perhaps fitness took its toll and Gala Ball found more despite jumping terribly. Still relatively lightly raced for a 10 year old and I’d be quietly confident of him running a huge race.
1:31 – Federici 10/1 ew
In a race full of old boys running in low grade handicaps, Federici’s form stands out a mile for me in terms of 10/1 being massively overpriced. This would be one of my strongest fancies of the day with the 9 runners and 3 places as I can’t see him out the top 3. If you look back through his form around 2 and a half miles to 3 miles, which he’s run in Grade 3 and listed handicaps, he’s run some big races in around some very good horses. I don’t think you’d see many 10 year olds of this level having a wind op, so connections and the trainer clearly think he’s got a win in him yet. Lorcan Murtagh is a decent amateur and will no doubt know the horse well being attached to the yard and I think he has strong claims tomorrow.
3:15 – Chic Name 5/1
A versatile horse who’s best conditions will be on a sound surface. He’s had two outings over the cross country course at Cheltenham in which he definitely didn’t disgrace himself and you’d think he’d have a good chance of being there of there abouts at the festival in that discipline. However, this could have been the plan all season with runs over the cross country trip protecting his mark maybe for a national such as this. Cross country form, in which he has displayed some good placed efforts, won’t do a chasers mark much damage. He should get relatively decent ground you’d hope albeit some rain forecast tomorrow. He won’t mind a tight track such as Musselburgh as he’ll be used to running on tighter, trickier circuits such as the cross country trip at Cheltenham. Cheek pieces are applied for the first time, which I hope brings out further improvement and inform Jonathan Burke is an eye catching jockey booking.
2:45 – Boldmere 3/1