Greatwood Veterans’ Handicap Chase
This race like many of these veteran races is filled with fan favourites. The ex Irish horse Abolitionist heads the market following a runaway victory on his first for Dr Richard Newland. That was his first start in over a year and with Dr Newland giving his newest charge plenty time in between runs, he must go close.
Top weight The Last Samuri finished runner-up in the 2016 Grand National for Kim Bailey. The Rooney’s have since moved him to the Harry Fry stable and following a wind surgery, he’s run well in both starts without winning. It’s slightly worrying that he hasn’t won in three years but the ability is still there and I’m sure another trip to Aintree is on the cards.
Carole’s Destrier has been slightly unlucky in his last two starts, finishing fourth in the Classic Chase when squeezed on the mend. On his most recent start, he was badly hampered in the Grand National Trial. Given a bit of luck, Neil Mulholland’s charge is my idea of the winner.
Of the others, Shanroe Santos could sneak into the places.
Selection: Carole’s Destrier
Greatwood Gold Cup
This race was first run in 2004, with Paul Nicholls’ winning four of the last six runnings. The master of Ditcheat is triply represented this year. Dolos carries top weight with a career-high mark of 154 to contend with, Warriors Tale was disappointing when last seen and San Benedeto needs to show much-improved form to feature.
In what looks a very open looing contest War Sound just shades favouritism, but he’s been comfortably beaten in a brace of Grade 3’s and is too short. Happy Diva was a listed winner when last seen and looks a much more likely winner.
Gala Ball is very interesting as he is having a first start in 707 days. Philip Hobbs ultra consistent inmate has only been out f the placing on three occasions and if retaining his ability, he could be a fly in the ointment.
Selection: Happy Diva
Kelso Novices’ Hurdle
This Grade 2 contest sees the Paul Nicholls Getaway Trump in action. He finished runner-up to Champ in the Challow hurdle. Then he was all the rage for the Betfair Hurdle where he finished fourth behind the impressive Al Dancer. There is nothing of that calibre in here and he’s my idea of the winner.
Rouge Vif is very lightly raced but was a taking winner when last seen at Newcastle. He obviously has to up his game to trouble Getaway Trump but given natural improvement, he shouldn’y be far away.
Jim Goldie is better known as a flat trainer but he’s Get Out The Gate ran a cracker behind We Have A Dream at Kelso when last seen. If he can continue to progress then he’ll have a nice horse on his hands.
Selection: Getaway Trump
Take “Em On Mares” Novices’ Hurdle
This looks between Danse Idol and the rapidly improving Bonza Girl. Paul Nicholls’ Danse Idol was disappointing on stable debut at Cheltenham.So Nicholls sent her straight over hurdles. She has been beaten on both her most recent in listed and Grade 2 company. This looks like a much easier race and she should be winning here.
Bonza Girl started the season off a lowly mark of 90 and following five straight victories. She steps up markedly in trip her and if that brings out further improvement then she may continue her winning streak.
Papagana has come out the wrong end against Queenohearts twice recently in black-type company. She’s lightly raced and is another that’s stepping up in trip. It’ll be tough to beat Danse Idol but she’s got definite ability.
Selection: Danse Idol
The Grimthorpe has been won by some classy individuals in recent time, none more so than Definitly Red who took this twelve months ago. Brian Ellison’s charge is now Gold Cup-bound and I wonder if there is anything of that calibre in the field this year?
Rocky’s Treasure tops the market and the betting for the Kim Bailey team. He’s been a model of consistency this season, winning four races. There was no shame in finishing behind Ok Corral and Santini on his other two starts. He’s obviously taken a big hike in the handicap for those wins. That being said with the extra two furlongs likely to suit, he must be top of many peoples lists.
Alan King’s Dingo Dollar ran a super race to finish third in the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury. He was slightly disappointing when last seen but if reproducing that Newbury run, then he could get his head in front.
Looking Well was a good winner of a veterans races most recently but with a six-pound hike in the weights to contend with, he may struggle to back it up.
Selection: Dingo Dollar