Cheltenham might be around the corner but the horse racing roadshow rolls on. We are going to have some very testing ground across Britain due to some storms and downpours so any horse will need to be in tip-top condition to prevail and handle plenty of cut.
We start at Newbury in a Veterans Chase where I think the top of the market are worth taking on. Christmas In April is a dour stayer winning the Sussex and Devon Nationals in days gone by. He’s not getting any better at 10 but he’s one of the younger horses in the field and is on an attractive mark again after a disappointing season bar his first run back. Conditions are back in his favour here and on a mark he can be competitive off he appeals at an EW price. I am also going to have a very small win only bet on Encounter A Giant at a big price. He ran back under rules at Exeter last time and was pulled up but he’s having his second run after a wind op and should strip fitter. Again conditions will suit and he is capable of a big run in a race like this.
The Greatwood Handicap Chase follows and our old friend Farinet is back and has testing ground again. I said on here last time I thought he would go in again after his Sandown win but not in the 3m race on good to soft. Well it is soft enough now and he is back down to 2m 4f. I fancy him strongly here but am wary of Dublin Four even though he fell last time so strong EW bet advised.
Up at Donny in the 2.55 Cheddleton stands out at the prices dropping back to 2m. He is ultra consistent and as a result has been running off the same mark without winning. He has been dropped a pound now and this will be the most testing ground he’s ran on for a while. The Big Bite ran well last time but isn’t one to be trusted to back up a good run in my opinion and certainly not at the 11/4 he currently is.
In the Grimthorpe Chase Powerstown Park is the one I want on side for trainer Sam Thomas who is having a breakthrough season. His campaign has been slightly unorthodox in that he’s a multiple winner over 2m then was jumped up to staying trips be he has obliged winning 2 from 3 both at Hereford. This will be a different test with conditions under-hoof but he has won on soft before but this isn’t a race that looks like it will take a lot of winning and he is unexposed over the trip and at the bottom of the weights he can go close. Legends Gold who is at the bottom is also interesting if she bounces back as her form earlier in the season was decent. Conditions are no problem and a recreation of her Bangor run will see her go close. She’s certainly on an appealing mark now if the going will help her and shouldn’t be the outsider of the field.
Kelso have a good card on Saturday and the one that interests me is Metier. I was fully against him last time at Lingfield but he won with ease and really testing conditions look key to him, and he didn’t get that early in the season. He’s a Grade 1 winning novice and this doesn’t look a strong renewal with Buveur D’Air now 11 and coming off a break and Autumn Evening ran well last time but his form is well short of what you would expect to win this. Metier is favourite but a more than fair price and one I am happy to back.
On a side note both of my greyhounds are running tomorrow with Annual Sydney going in the third heat of the Category 1 Puppy Derby at Monmore. It is a dream come true to have a dog running in a Category 1 competition and I am hoping he will run in the top 3 to qualify for the semi-final next week. Traps 5 and 2 look the danger, in particular 5 who has shown similar early speed to Sydney so it will all be about how he get out of the traps. My other greyhound is Tiermana Ivy who is running in a D4 sprint at Towcester. She had a little niggle in her wrist but seems good now and hopefully she will ping the traps. Wish us luck!
1.15 Newbury – Christmas In April 9/1 0.75pts EW (Lads 1/5 1,2,3 & BOG) & Encounter A Giant 20/1 0.5pts Win (bet365 & BOG)
1.50 Newbury – Farinet 13/2 2.5pts EW (Lads & BOG)
2.55 Doncaster – Cheddleton 11/2 2pts Win (Lads & BOG)
3.15 Kelso – Metier 10/3 2pts Win (Lads & BOG)
3.30 Doncaster – Powerstown Park 6/1 1pt EW (Lads 1/5 1,2,3 & BOG) & Legends Gold 20/1 0.5pts EW (bet365 1/5 1,2,3 & BOG)