Andy has been in great form this week and he's got five bets from around the tracks this afternoon.
In what should turn out to be a very informative beginners chase, AURILLAC (best price 14-1) rates a smidgen of value to overturn one or two more high-profile names on chasing debut. A useful staying novice hurdler last season, Rebecca Curtis’ charge was thought good enough to contest the Albert Bartlett at the Cheltenham Festival following an impressive victory over today’s course the time before. Although he failed to cut much ice in that Grade 1 affair, he certainly by no means disgraced himself and having been always held in the highest regard to make the grade over fences, the son of Martaline should easily be capable of outrunning his morning odds for his in-form handler.
RATTLING JEWEL (best price 5-1) has been performing to a very high standard all season and that series of fine efforts was epitomised with his excellent display in the big 5f premier handicap over today’s C&D last time out. In finishing a creditable second to the in-form Tithonus, Nicole McKenna’s inmate posted his fastest ever speed figure and now returning to the scene of that top-quality performance, he rates a solid each-way investment running back under the same conditions which saw him account for the very smart In Salutem earlier in the campaign.
As IRISH CAVALIER (NAP) (best price 4-1) proved at Punchestown on his final start last season, a strong-run 2m 4f chase on decent ground are probably his optimum conditions, and hailing from a stable which have begun this campaign with a much fresher outlook thanks to a shift in their training regime (akin to Colin Tizzard and Tim Vaughan), he makes plenty of appeal. A convincing winner of an intermediate chase at Newton Abbot on his seasonal reappearance last term, the son of Aussie Rules looked like he was going to scoop his second big pot at Cheltenham only to fade in the closing stages after ghosting to the front rounding the home turn in the Paddy Power Chase. Largely disappointing in-keeping with many inmates at the Pembrokeshire barn thereafter, Rebecca Curtis’ charge starts the season with a clean slate and the kind of profile that makes him a decent bet at his morning odds.
ON FIDDLERS GREEN (best price 8-1) has sneaked in here right at the foot of weights and he looks poised to take advantage of that stroke of good fortune in a race which should suit him down to the ground. Very much progressing in the right direction over fences, Henry De Bromhead’s charge served notice of better things to come in the competitive Galway Blazers Chase back in July and having previously proven his liking for today’s track with an easy victory here the time before, he has plenty in his favour to play a significant role.
SOUTHDOWN LAD (best price 7-2), a withdrawal due to unsuitable ground in the big three-year-old handicap at Newmarket on Friday, looks to have been found an ideal opportunity to gain compensation for missing out on that nice pot. A progressive two-year-old last year, William Knight’s inmate had the King George Handicap at Royal Ascot as his big mid-season target, but he was forced to miss that particular gig due to an infection. Back in action after a break at Newbury last time, the son of Lilbourne Lad exhibited a nice turn of foot to get the better of several strongly-fancied rivals and as that performance – along with several others – came with a nice bit of ease in the ground, today’s underfoot conditions should be ideal for this improving three-year-old.