Steve Ryder is back with three selections for today's action.
The Nigel Twiston-Davies trained FANTASITKAS (best priced at 3-1) is a consistent performer who has taken his form to the next level this season since going chasing. The seven-year-old won by 7 ½ lengths on his chasing debut over this course and distance before finishing 2nd behind Threeunderthrufive in a Grade 2 at Doncaster on his next start.
Fantastikas looked outpaced over 2m4f last time in the Grade 2 Dipper Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham behind the impressive L’Homme Presse and will be much better suited by this step back up to 3 miles. If he runs up to his rating of 140 then he should prove hard to beat in this valuable novice chase.
This looks a competitive handicap hurdle but I like the claims of the Gary Moore trained HUDSON DE GRUGY (best priced at 8-1) who will love the conditions. He has form figures of 21111 on ground soft or heavy since joining Gary Moore with his only two disappointing efforts coming on good to soft ground. The five-year-old won over this course and distance last month on heavy ground beating Calico by 2 ¼ lengths and the handicapper has only raised him 3lbs for that victory.
That looks extremely lenient and I expect Hudson De Grugy to be involved in the finish with up to five places on offer for this race.
The Tjade Collier trained VINDOBALA (best priced at 2-1) won over this course and distance on her penultimate start and she should hold strong claims following a good run here last time. The four-year-old has benefitted from the application of a tongue tie on her previous three starts where she has finished 3rd, 1st and 3rd with all of those runs coming at this track. She won by ½ length over 7f off a mark of 64 in a Class 5 0-75 handicap on her penultimate start before finishing 3rd last time in a Class 4 0-85 handicap.
Vindobala raced too keenly over the mile trip that day and wasn’t able to settle in the small four runner field but this bigger field and the drop back to 7f will allow her to settle better. She drops down in grade to a Class 6 0-65 handicap and that ease in grade should see this top weight prove hard to beat.