An OK day 1 with our nap Cue Card bolting up. On to day 2 as the ground gets quicker and the form perhaps a little harder to read.
1.40 Alder Hey Childrens Charity Handicap Hurdle 2 mile 4f
The Inval won this last year and showed some better form in his last time out run at Cheltenham., He is 4lbs higher than when winning last year and at 6 may still have a best run in him. Virgilio has only one blemish on his record and could be anything. The better ground will certainly help him. Starchitect is interesting for the in form Pipe stable and he may be the surprise package and I am very fond of Ma Du Fou whose listed win last time out at Huntingdon was what I expected. Its a tough one for starters.
2.15 Imaging Cruising First in the Frame Top Novices Hurdle 2 miles
Agrapart looks the real deal and Nick Williams and Lizzie Kelly have teamed up really well all year. Quicker ground is a question but this horse is such a good mover it might be nothing. Bleu Et Rouge for Willie Mullins puts a set of strong credentials up and has my respect after a great performance 2 back at Leopardstown with Buveur D’Air a real chance for Nicky Henderson. They all have it to do to beat Limini who scythed through the field at Cheltenham and whilst this wasn’t the best figure on offer she was not extended and might be a real superstar in the Annie Power mould. Believe your eyes.
Blaklion was our tip at Cheltenham but I am not convinced this quicker track will suit this hardened stayer who will win the National in 2 more years. Native River has a huge heart but again this will all come to quickly for him. Ballyalton looks class and is the biggest threat to the selection after his win last time out at Cheltenham but I am siding with Un Temps Pout Tout. You follow me in at your peril as I have tipped this on every occasion except when it won last time out. I think the better ground is good and he has some class and speed both of which are important. Only jumping errors will get him beaten
3.25 JLT Melling Chase 2 mile 3f
This race doesnt need a lot of chat. Assuming Vatour stays on his feet he wont be beaten but at 1/4 you wont be backing him and you certainly dont want to lay him. So lets just watch him and enjoy
4.05 Crabbies Topham Chase 2 miles 5 furlongs
Village Vic will be popular as he drops back to handicap company after finding the RSA a bit too hot. As De Mee looks a likely candidate after finishing close to Bristol De Mai two back and not quite firing at Cheltenham. This track will suit better and this mark looks friendly. Minella Reception is interesting off a light weight and despite being 10 doesnt have a lot of miles on the clock.
4.40 Doom Bar Sefton Novices Hurdle 3 miles
This might be the perfect trip for Belshill who has always struck me as a staying type and has always competed at the top level. Tomngerry interest me as he hasnt been extended yet and whilst this is a big jump he might just be up to it which leaves Baoulet Delaroque who beat a Skelton class act, Value at Risk and performed well at Cheltenham. Its a tough one but my two against the field are
5.10 Wetherbys Bumper 2 miles
I don’t think there is a lot of depth to this race and on the flat I see no reason why the two who fought it out at Cheltenham wont decide this again. Which one gets its head in front this time, Ballyandy or Battleford? That’s the choice. At 5/2 each of two the bookies wont separate them so how can we.