1:50 – Murphy Group Handicap Chase (Grade 3) (CLASS 1) (4yo+)
I will leave the first two races though thoughts are on the video. So to the third race, the 3m4f handicap and plenty of these clearly have other targets.
They include Goulanes who is a Welsh National type, Godsmejudge who I am fascinated to see how he will be campaigned this season, Quentin Collonges is another who will come on plenty for this.
Monbeg Dude and Bradley fought this out last year. The latter is far better treated going into it this year but doesn’t convince with the way he travels or jumps and he is desperately short for one that is also out of the handicap.
He stayed on well for fifth behind Balthazar King here last time but TOUR DES CHAMPSfinished second yet is a bigger price. He will improve further for the trip, goes on ground, jumps well and travels well and that is the deciding factor to me.
I think he will be fully tuned for this and I like his chances. I will advise a 2.5pt win but was very close to a 3pt but only as I am trying to be careful in this early part of the season. The rest are led by Spring Heeled who is progressive but doesn’t convince me about staying as he didn’t fully see out 3m last time when travelling so well in the Munster National.
Advice – Tour Des Champs 2.5pts win @8/1 generally
2:30 – Paddy Power Gold Cup Chase (Handicap) (Grade 3) (CLASS 1) (4yo+)
John’s Spirit should go very well once again off a 10lb higher mark
The feature of the week but for me you can count on one hand the horses that are notably well handicapped in this.JOHN’S SPIRIT certainly could be as he won so easily at the showcase meeting, gets in off a low weight and 10lb may not be enough to prevent a follow-up.
I think 8/1 on him is fair.Ballynagour is the real fly in the ointment as he has consistently had problems with bleeding but he is extremely well handicapped if holding it together. He battered a decent field at Warwick on his debut for David Pipe and was travelling well at the Festival but stopping very quickly.
Catching him fresh is probably wise and considering the record Pipe’s father had in this, he has to be respected. Champion Court is not well treated off 157 for me even at his beloved Cheltenham. Rajdhani Express is another who is off a big mark. Finian’s Rainbow goes off top weight and is well treated on his best form but the ground is a touch softer for me than has been reported and that’s enough to put me off.
Nadiya De La Vega ran well in this last year but requires more and the jumping of the other JP McManus pair, Colour Squadron and Tap Night, is still suspect in this kind of field. At a big price though, WOOLCOMBE FOLLY is the one to be on e/w. He is vulnerable for win purposes but ran a cracker here last time when looking booked for second until making a shattering mistake at the last.
He is down 2lb now with Harry Derham taking off 5lb and I think he is well treated enough at least to get a place here in a race that may not be as good as usual.
Advice – John’s Spirit 2pts win @8/1 generally
Woolcombe Folly 1.5pts e/w @33/1 generally
3:00 – Ultima Business Solutions Handicap Hurdle (Listed Race) (CLASS 1) (4yo+)
On 10 ten year trends, no horse over 11-2 has won this (majority right at the bottom of the weights) and no horse over 10/1 has won either.
With Salubrious in, the weights aren’t as spreadeagled as usual. He is a classy horse but will apparently need the run. Close House and Araldur are two horses I’ve followed closely before while Southfield Theatre is progressive and interesting.
Edmund Kean should improve for the step up to 3m as he stayed on really well for minor honours in a strong late season race on soft at Sandown behind Close Touch.
However SILVER EAGLE is hard to oppose considering he will improve for stepping back up to this trip and the form of his Cheltenham second last time looks so much better now that Thomas Crapper followed up again today. Off 134 he looks well treated and he fits the trends of past winners. I have him 1 or 2 points shorter than he is at this stage.
Advice – Silver Eagle 2pts win @6/1 generally
3:35 – Neptune Investment Management Novices´ Hurdle (Registered As The Hyde Novices´ Hurdle) (Grade 2) (CLASS 1) (4yo+)
I was very impressed by TIMESREMEMBERED when he routed the Persian War field last time, a race which I don’t think was too bad. He is a 5/2 general favourite here but that price is fair for me as even with a penalty, it’s hardly that much stronger than the Chepstow race.
The softer the ground the better but he’s shown already he goes on good ground and there’s enough pace and runners for him to get cover which is very important for him. Toubeera is interesting considering she gets a good bit of weight all round though Indevan has a bit to prove after falling last time, Pure Science is not one I want to be siding with over hurdles.
Port Melon is interesting but has to be a long term prospect, connections ran Fox Run in this last year who was a very similar type. Creepy and Drop Out Joe have to improve andRally is probably the biggest danger to me but again he will need to improve to beat the form setter Timesremembered.
Advice – Timesremembered 3pts win @5/2 generally
4:05 – Ukash Mares´ Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race (Listed Race)(CLASS 1) (4-6yo)
A competitive bumper as ever and the front three considering their form and connections all have to be respected. Legacy Gold sets the standard and now joins David Pipe from Stuart Crawford after winning the Mares’ bumper at Aintree, a race that is already working out well.
She is quite a small mare who could need the run and has a 4lb penalty but she is the best on form so far. Supreme Bailerina faces very different ground here but is bred for speed unlike most of these. The Henderson runner has a good chance naturally but is quite short.
I like to take former Cheltenham bumper form seriously, Bull and Bush and FAIRYTALE THEATRE ran second and third respectively here in April. But the way the latter travelled suggested to me that there could be a lot more to come after this break and 14/1 is fair.
Anthony Honeyball does well in this sphere and Lily Waugh is respected, as too isFlementime who is expected to go well after a layoff. However THE GOVANESS is a touch overpriced and is worth a small e/w saver.
She ran really well here in a stronger bumper last time, travelling well and getting bumped at a crucial time in the race. I think she is very close at least to running a place here.
Advice – Fairytale Theatre 1pt e/w @14/1 generally
The Govaness 0.5pts e/w @25/1 generally