Sam Turner fancies 10/1 chance Agrapart in the first live Channel 4 race on Friday.
Limini and Buveur D’Air dominate the market for this event following their respective Cheltenham performances but there could be some mileage in supporting AGRAPART
(Best price 10-1) to topple both of them. The selection, an impressive course and distance winner before Christmas, routed a competitive field in the Betfair Hurdle and has deliberately been kept fresh for this test. The recent rain is a positive too.
Limini looks an incredibly exciting prospect and she toyed with her field in the Mares Novice Hurdle at the Festival. The easier ground will also suit Buveur D’Air who ran creditably to chase home stablemate Altior in the Supreme Novices (Petite Mouchoir 8th, North Hill Harvey 9th but better than finishing position after a mistake two out).
Agrapart - 0.5pt e/w @ 10/1
RSA Chase winner Blaklion had Roi Des Francs 21 lengths in arrears at Cheltenham and will relish this stiff test of stamina. Un Temps Pour Tout, winner of a festival handicap from National aspirant Holywell, and Native River are both respected along with the rapidly-progressive HENRI PARRY MORGAN
(Best price 18-1) who has been a revelation since the tongue tie and cheekpieces were applied. His last two victories have come in good times and by wide margins and his yard have found some form following a quiet winter.
(Best price 8-1) represents a yard who enjoyed a magnificent day yesterday with Cue Card and the return to a flat, galloping track can see him take a hand too.
Native River - 1pt @ 8/1
Henri Parry Morgan - 0.5pt e/w @ 16/1
This looks a straightforward task for VAUTOUR
who was so impressive in the Ryanair Chase when not thought to be thriving at home. He had Al Ferof eight lengths behind at Cheltenham and it is difficult to envisage a turnaround here.
fell four out that day when still moving well and could outrun his price even if his stamina at today’s trip is yet to be proven.
Vibrato Valtat (without Vautour) - 1pt @ 4/1
For a trainer that hasn’t yet won the National, it is extraordinary that Nicky Henderson has taken four of the last 10 runnings of this race. His sole contender this year, COCKTAILS AT DAWN
(Best priced 22-1), looks to have been saved specifically for a tilt at this and is shortlisted along with the novice AS DE MEE
(Best priced 16-1) who represents a yard who won this with a similar type in Gwanako in 2008. He has been tackling some top novices this term and may appreciate a drop into handicaps.
Turban and Blood Cotil (the choice of Ruby Walsh) are others to consider.
As De Me - 0.5pt e/w @ 16/1
Cocktails At Dawn - 0.5pt e/w @ 22/1
Ballydine is sure to be popular as he demanded Barters Hill pull out all the stops at Doncaster last time and has been kept fresh for this event.
The fact Willie Mullins runs four suggests he isn’t certain which is his premier staying novice although the return to a trip should suit Bellshill who wasn’t at his best over 2m at Cheltenham last time.
With a 33/1 winner and two 25/1 shots winning in the last seven years, it may pay to look beyond the obvious and recent Uttoxeter scorer BALLYOPTIC
(Best price 10-1) is interesting as he bolted up from a decent prospect last time and won’t mind any further showers.
Ballyoptic - 0.5pt e/w @ 10/1