Andy Holding landed his nap selection yesterday so don't miss Friday's best bets.
In a race where majority of the runners have few secrets from the handicapper, the two potentially well-treated novices, MA DU FOU (best price 8/1)
and TYCOON PRINCE (best price 10/1)
make plenty of appeal. The former has been well campaign by Warren Greatrex this season, picking up three nice prizes on the way, but following a gutsy success in the Sidney Banks Memorial at Huntingdon last time out, he looks ready for a step up in competition. Having accounted for subsequent Betfair Hurdle hero, Agrapart (now rated 150), on soft ground at Ffos Las earlier in the campaign, he appears particularly well handicapped on his first run in this sphere off a mark of 139 and arriving here fresher than most, a bold show looks on the cards.
The latter, similarly, should arrive here with a spring in his step having not run since December and even though he got beaten fair and square by Bellshill on that day, the fact that connections thought him good enough to tackle Grade 2 company suggests he also might turn out to be better than a pure handicapper. Although it remains unclear whether 2m 4f is his trip, if he’s ever going to get it, surely it will be around this sharp, flat track.
Ma Du Fou - 0.5pt e/w @ 8/1Lost -1pt
Tycoon Prince - 0.5pt e/w @ 10/1Lost -1pt
Quite a few on this field have endured hard races, not only at Cheltenham, but throughout the campaign, so it could well be that there’s a shock in store. If there is to be one, HENRI PARRY MORGAN (best prince 20/1)
is one of the likeliest dragon-slayers, who seems to have taken over a new lease of life ever since fitted with the tongue-tie, cheekpiece combination. Wildly impressive when staying on very strongly to land a handicap at Chepstow two starts ago, Peter Bowen’s charge followed up in equally devastating fashion at Uttoxeter last time out, so much so, that the handicapper saw fit to bump him up to a mark of 149. On that revised perch, he’s only 5lb off the RSA Chase winner, Blaklion in the ratings, and with soft ground very much in his favour, the Brian Boru is unlikely to be totally disgraced.
Henri Parry Morgan - 0.5pt e/w @ 20/1Placed 1.5pt
In what should turn out to be a punishing test of stamina, those that gave Cheltenham a swerve might hold a significant advantage and the two that fit the bill on that score are BALLYDINE (best price 11/2)
and BALLYOPTIC (best price 14/1)
. The former missed the Festival in preference for this race and that decision can bear fruit, especially if he can run up to the level that saw him push the granite-tough Barters Hill all the way in a Grade 2 at Doncaster last time. The latter, although yet to run in such exacting company, showed his qualities with a display of copper-bottomed stamina at Uttoxeter last time out and the speed figure he posted that day indicates he won’t be out of depth as much as his market position suggests.
Ballydine - 1pt @ 11/2Lost -1pt
Ballyoptic - 0.5pt e/w @ 14/1Won 8.4pt
GO KART (NAP) (best price 5/2)
ran an absolute blinder from a poor draw here last time out and is strongly fancied to ease the pain of that narrow defeat in this slightly more tepid affair. Dropped out from stall 10, Paddy Prendergast’s charge found herself with plenty to do at halfway but finishing with a rare flurry inside the final furlong, she just failed to peg back the very useful Kasbah, who got first run at a crucial stage. With form figures at this track of 22122, this surface clearly suits the daughter of Intense Focus down to the ground and with the likes of Your Pal Tal and Strategic Heights in the line-up, she should get the strong run race she desires
Go Kart - 2pt @ 5/2Lost -2pt
In what looks a viciously-competitive affair, POITIN (best price 12/1)
stands out as the value each-way play. Keith Clarke's charge posted a big number when she scored nicely here two starts ago and you can forget her last run last time out as the race turned into a farcical tactical battle which didn't play into her strengths. Best when they go a good gallop over tonight's trip, she should get the strong pace she desires with Sharjah and Carried in the line up, and considering she's accounted for most of tonight's field when things have panned out in her favour, she simply looks too big a price at 12/1.
Poitin - 0.5pt e/w @ 12/1Won 7.2pt