Trainer Ben Pauling was on the board at Cheltenham on Friday and can strike again today.
Although there’s more than a suspicion that JUSTICE ROCK (best price 11/2)
may require further to be fully effective, David Elsworth’s inmate may still have enough pace and quality to get the better of today’s rivals based on his run here four days ago. Finishing strongly in the latter stages in what turned out to be a fiercely-run affair, the son of Acclamation posted decent splits of 43.4 and 22.2 for the last four and two furlongs respectively and if repeating those sort of figures, it’s hard to envisage him not having a huge say in the final outcome.
Justice Rock - 1pt e/w @ 11/2
THEREDBALLOON (best price 3/1)
seemed to appreciate the drop back to the minimum trip when scoring over the C&D last time out and he looks primed to go well again at a track that clearly suits him best. Only out of the frame once in seven previous visits prior to that breakthrough success here 26 days ago, the son of Sulamani also seems to be thriving under the care of his new trainer and the combination of those two factors make him an irresistible proposition despite the handicap taking umbrage to that latest display.
Theredballoon - 1pt @ 3/1
Ben Pauling pulled off one of the coups of the jumps season so far when A Hares Breath bolted at Cheltenham last week, and in the shape of PITHIVIER (NAP) (best price 2/1)
, the bang-in-form handler looks to have another potentially well handicapped horse on his hands. The son of Poliglote - who had useful bumper form when previous trained by Peter Niven - has run with conspicuous promise for his new connections against the sort of opposition which suggests he’s held in much better regard at home than his current assessment of 110. His latest effort back in February when fourth behind the 145-rated hurdler Native River in a listed race at Exeter was boosted by the third, Kalanne(rated 132), going on to land the valuable Mares Final at Newbury later in the season and by the fifth, War Sound(148), who took the equally competitive Swinton Hurdle at Haydock on his final start. Based on that performance alone, this lightly-raced five-year-old appears extremely well treated and that’s not taking in account the probable improvement in the interim. Providing he’s somewhere near peak fitness after his 282-day break, he really ought to be beating the likes of today’s opposition based on his overall profile.
Pithivier - 2pts @ 2/1
With the Warren Greatrex team in great form, Via Volupta is bound to be all the rage in this mares’ only contest, but she may not get things all her own way up against YES I DID (best price 4/1)
, who has shaped really well on each of her racecourse visits so far to date. Dan Skelton’s mare had the misfortune to bump into the smart Sea Pride (third in the Aintree bumper) on her rules bow over today’s course last season and followed that up with another solid performance in a similar contest at Market Rasen on her final start to the campaign. The daughter of Craigsteel probably came up against another above-average mare on her latest start at Ludlow and with the fifth horse that day, Lamanvar Alchemy, going on to score next time out, that viewpoint looks a valid one. Being a former point-to-point winner, one would imagine she will be ridden quite aggressively on her debut over hurdles in order to make full use of her stamina and with race fitness on her side, she rates a decent bet for the each-way scoundrels at her early 4/1 quotes.
Yes I Did - 1pt e/w @ 4/1