Ballymore Novices Hurdle – Vision Des Flos Each-Way
Clearly Samcro is a monstrous talent but you don’t need Holmes style investigative skills to work that out and given the possibility of a few wacky races this week, it might be worth having a dart at Vision Des Flos at double figure odds.
This horse came to Colin Tizzard with a massive reputation which he didn’t look like fulfilling until after his most recent start at Exeter after a wind operation.
I was very struck by the way in which Derek O’Connor (who’d ridden the horse in Ireland) spoke about him at a recent preview evening and with a proven ability to handle the conditions, he might well give all of them something to think about.
RSA Chase – Al Boum Photo
I find this one of the hardest races of the meeting to get a handle on. Much revolves around whether you think the British or Irish form is superior and I suspect it might be the latter.
As such, I’m going to hope that Ruby Walsh can use all of his energy conserving brilliance to enable Al Boum Photo to stay this far, something which he has scarcely tried and certainly hasn’t proven.
His pedigree suggests he’ll stay, however, and he’s sufficiently unexposed to suggest there’s a bit of improvement to come.
Of the home team, Elegant Escape’s stamina might well see him get the better of his private battle with Black Corton.
Coral Cup – Top Of The Game
An interesting Coral Cup, populated by a lot of horses who have been re-routed from the Pertemps, because they fancy they can use their superior stamina here. Similarly, some of the horses you’d expect to turn up might be waiting until later in the week to run in the County Hurdle on Friday.
A horse whose appearance was contingent only on the state of the ground is Top Of The Game.
He’s a slightly ungainly horse to watch but he does have a stack of ability and won a very competitive handicap at Sandown last time.
Because he made things look like hard work, the handicapper might be struggling to get a grip of him and though he’s not a horse I’d fancy in a normal Coral Cup, I think the attritional nature of this race might see him finish in the four.
Champion Chase – Douvan
In all honesty, with the fluid nature of this race over the last few days and the doubts still surrounding Altior at the time of writing, this becomes a fairly hard race to be dogmatic about.
That said, I watched Douvan’s Arkle win again the other day and forgot just how impressive he was.
You’d be hard pushed to say for sure that at their very best he was a worse horse than Altior anyway and I am willing to take a punt.
Cross Country – Bless The Wings
Yes, it’s a spicier running of this race than normal but it still doesn’t really get me going as a betting medium.
You can be certain that the two Gordon Elliott horses at the front of the market will take a big chunk out here, but I think it’s the Elliott third string that could represent the value. Bless The Wings has won on soft and heavy ground and I love the fact that he’s ridden again by Davy Russell, who might just creep the horse round, let the others get on with it and come home strongest of all.
We’ve got no qualms about his ability to run at the track or to run at this fixture.
Fred Winter – Look My Way
Look My Way is confidently selected to run a big race here. Still only rated 135 after his second to Apple’s Shakira on Trials Day, the one thing he does love is very, very soft ground as he showed on more than one occasion on the flat when he could run off a mark in the mid 90’s, given those conditions.
He’s been trained for this race all year and can lead the one-two for the North, with Brian Ellison’s, The King of May, a lively one for the exacta.
I wouldn’t rule out Eragon De Chanay (Saturday’s Sandown winner) either. Gary Moore might have been a little circumspect about his chances afterwards, but he won with any amount in hand and jumped the last like a fresh horse.
Champion Bumper – Rhinestone
Rhinestone can give Joseph O’Brien another important success. Chosen by Barry Geraghty, he’s already proven in soft conditions and can use his experience to turn around the form from his loss to Blackbow last time.
Odds are provided at time of writing, please check your betslip to confirm they have not changed before betting.