This race was won by the smart Kidistart last season for Ben Paulding but it looks like there is nothing f his quality in the field today. Henry Daly has had his string in good form recently and is represented by the improving Honest Vic here. He was only beaten a head by Brio Conti when last seen and that horse upheld the form with a fine run at Cheltenham during the week. A four-pound rise in the weights seem fair and he’s my idea of the winner.
My Way had some very good form in France but has tey to get it together for connections since making the move to Ditcheat. If anyone can improve the horse it’s Paul Nicholl’s and he can’ be ruled out.
Of the others, Burrows Edge ran a great race behind Erick Le Rouge on seasonal debut and that rival hasn’t let the form down since. Nicky’s horse has got a lot of weight to carry but may be able to shoulder it.
Selection: Honest Vic
Philip Hobbs yard has been in decent form of late and he runs the lightly raced Brother Tedd here. The now ten-year-old made a fine return to action following a lengthy lay-off last month and if this doesn’t come too soon, then he has a big chance.
Kayf Blanco has gone up a total of 10 pounds for two back to back victories over fences. I think this rise and the fact the claimer that rode him last time isn’t on board means he’s too high in the weights now.
The Queen’s Forth Bridge was always well thought of by connections but hasn’t won a race in over two years. He’s finished second on his last three starts and although another good run looks on the cards, he’s vulnerable for win purposes.
The final horse of note is top weight El Terremoto who went up two pounds for a fine run at Kelso two weeks ago and if backing this up, he’s a serious contender.
Selection: El Terremoto
Novices’ Handicap Chase
Paul Nicholls’ runs Captain Cattistock in this and he ran with real credit in the Silver Trophy when finishing sixth behind Garo De Juilley at the beginning of the season. After falling behind now Stayers Hurdle winner Paisley Park he won a decent race at Exeter and this improving six-year-old could be tough to beat
De Rasher Counter carries top weight following a decent season but I think he’s got his work cut out to beat Captain Cattistock on a line of form with Now McGinty.
Polydora has been dropped two pounds for a recent beating at the hands of De Rasher Counter. Prior to that, he was a good winner at Newcastle and although he’ll run well I’m not sure he can win this.
Selection: Captain Cattistock
Marston’s Pedigree Handicap Hurdle
Lord Napier has been very consistent in recent times which included a sixth-place finish in the Betfair Hurdle at Ascot off a mark of 130. Peter Bowen’s charge then went on to finished third in a listed race and followed this with a victory in a Grade 3 event at Sandown. He seems to be going from strength to strength.
Anthony Honeyball seems to have a very nice horse on his hands with Acey Milan, who was a very smart bumper horse including when finishing fourth in last seasons Champion Bumper. He could be potenialy well handicapped if building on his Plumpton success.
Paul Nicholls’ and Bryony Frost teamed up to win the Ryanair Chase with Frodon at Cheltenham during the week and do so again here with Magoo. The French-import has only run four times since coming across the channel amd there could be further improvement to come from him.
Even Williams runs Bold Plan here who’s been in great form of late and shouldn’t be inderestimated.
Selection: Acey Milan
This race was farmed by David Pipe as he took all four renewals from 2011 to 2014. He is represented by Dell’ Arca who’s got a high enough ark in my opinion and will need to find improvement to feature.
Folsom Blue was never really going in the Welsh National behind Elegant Escape but he showed improved form to finished fourth behind Lord Napier in a Grade 3 over hurdles at Sandown. Obviously, he needs to show more over fences but he’s always been a smart horse.
American carries top weight here but he’s my idea of the winner. Harry Fry’s charge historically runs well when fresh and with the underfoot conditions to suit he must go close.
Ms Parfois heads the market for Anthony Honeyball and Aidan Coleman, having run a fine race in the Ladbrokes Trophy in December. That was her first run in 232 days and was her first tie not finishing in the placings in 13 starts. Given normal improvement and her wind operation, it all points to a big run.