Neil Mulholland's charge has been targeted at today's race for some time and rates a strong bet.
All eyes will undoubtedly by on Ivanovich Gorbatov in his bid to follow up his smooth success in the Triumph Hurdle. In what looked a decent renewal of the juvenile championship, Aidan O’Brien’s inmate impressed by quickening well off a very strong pace and if he’s in the same sort of form, it’s hard to see him not justifying the form. If there is to be a fly in the ointment, it may turn out to be DIEGO DU CHARMIL (best price 11/1)
, who land the other big juvenile contest at the festival. In what was the fastest furlong-per-furlong time on the Wednesday card, Paul Nicholls’ charge justified his position in the market, and although one could argue that he was slightly fortuitous in doing so, there was still plenty to like about his overall performance all the same. Considering that was his first run in this country and the baptism-of-fire nature of the race itself, the son of Ballingarry did extremely well to cope with everything that was thrown at him and given that stable mate, All Yours, took this prize after finishing only fifth in the Fred Winter last year, it wouldn’t be the biggest shock in the world if this likeable four-year-old were to follow suit.
DIEGO DU CHARMIL - 0.5pts e/w @ 11/1Lost -1pts
On the evidence of their respective performances in the Foxhunters at the festival and over these fences last year, there isn’t a great deal between PACHA DU POLDER (best price 10/3)
and On The Fringe ability-wise, but as the former is available to back at twice the price and the ground is more likely to be in his favour, Paul Nicholls’ charge has to rate the value bet of the pair. Taking away all the hullaballoo involving Vickie Pendleton, the son of Muhtathir ran a blinder considering he was almost ridden like a non trier at Cheltenham and with regular pilot Will Biddick back in the plate, there’s more than a fair chance the in-form nine-year-old can turn the tables around on his old rival.
PACHA DU POLDER - 1pt e/w @ 10/3Lost -2pts
Having deliberately avoided the Grand Annual in order to be saved especially for this prize, MINELLA PRESENT (best price 13/2)
makes loads of appeal in a race that should be run to suit. Yet to run a bad race in five starts over fences, Neil Mulholland’s inmate posted a career-high performance when last seen by finishing a never-nearer second in an ultra-competitive and strongly run handicap at Cheltenham at the Paddy Power meeting and considering he got hampered at several crucial moments in that race, his performance deserved to be upgraded. Only raised 4lb for that gallant effort, the son of Presenting arrives here a fresh horse on ground that will suit and given that lightly-raced novices have a terrific record in this race, it all adds up for a positive display.
MINELLA PRESENT - 1pt e/w @ 13/2Lost -2pts
OICHE MHAITH BOY (NAP) (best price 7/2)
has been in terrific form of late and has the look of a potential blot on the handicap returning to the level. Third to the very smart Footpad on his debut over hurdles, the Alhaarth gelding finally got off the mark three starts later at today’s track and even though he failed to follow up last time out, he was up against a quality horse from the Tony Martin stable. Fitter that most courtesy of those recent runs and with Kieran Fallon booked, Kieren Purcell’s charge makes plenty of appeal at his morning odds.
OICHE MHAITH BOY - 1pt e/w @ 7/2Won 4.2pts