AR MAD(best price 3/1)
totally slam-dunked his rivals when landing the Grade 1 Henry VIII Novices Chase at Sandown last time out and if he can translate that sort of performance away from the Esher venue, Gary Moore’s charge could once again prove difficult to catch. For the second time in succession, the son of Tiger Groom exhibited a tremendous appetite for his work around a track that often rewards sound, slick jumping and in beating the previously impressively Bristol De Mai by a long-looking 10 lengths, he quite rightly finds himself towards the top of the British-trained novices in this division off the back of that display. On top of the visual impression he created that day, the time figure he recorded pointed to the fact he would have beaten the Tingle Creek field by upwards of 20 lengths, which is an amazing achievement from an inexperienced novice having just his third start over fences. Given that tomorrow’s track often benefits horses that have a similar run style to what he does, there’s every chance he will be equally affective around this sharper circuit and even though he’s up against the highly-touted Vaniteux and the useful Arzal, the trail-blazing five-year-old should have nothing to fear.
Ar Mad - 1pt @ 3/1Won 3pts
In what has attracted a field worthy of its Grade 1 status, both WOODLAND OPERA(best price 7/1)
and PETIT MOUCHOIR(best price 12/1)
make plenty of appeal at their respective early odds and are advised against the field accordingly. The former scored in a rapid time at Navan last time out and had the form boosted when runner-up Coney Island bolted up in the first race of the 4-day fixture yesterday, while the latter was equally impressive when quickening away from a field that included two subsequent winners at Thurles last time (Moon Over Germany and The Brock Inn).
Woodford Opera - 0.5pts @ 7/1Lost 0.5pts
Petit Mouchoir - 0.5pts @ 12/1Lost 0.5pts
In what appears a typically competitive renewal of this premier handicap chase, ROSSVOSS(best price 16/1)
is taken to keep up the good recent form of the Ted Walsh barn. A tidy winner over fences at Punchestown two starts ago, the son of Medicean made a mockery of his lenient-looking mark over hurdles on his most recent outing at Navan, so much so, that the handicapper saw fit to raise him a whopping 17lb when doing his re-calculations subsequently. A closer inspection of that performance, revealed that he ran the final circuit 4.5 seconds quicker than the Grade 2 Navan Novice Hurdle winner, Bellshill, and that further adds more meat to the bones of that quite bewildering display. Clearly, the tougue-tie and blinker combination that were in operation that day worked wonders for this sometimes mercurial character, so it’s just a question of whether those aids can galvanise the seven-year-old in the same fashion for a second time. If they do and he can avoid the likely trouble that comes attached to this big-field handicap, he certainly has the capabilities to provide his popular handler with another decent pay day.
Rossvoss - 1pt e/w @ 16/1Lost 2pts
DESERT QUEEN(best price 7/4)
can be a bit of an OXO horse, but there’s no denying she’s a very smart mare on a going day (can be tricky at the start) and following a confidence-boosting victory at Ascot last, hopes will be high that she can repeat the dose. Despite being taken on for the lead in the early stages, Harry Fry’s charge had enough quality and reserves of stamina to turn her seven rivals away in the last half-a-mile at the Berkshire venue and with the third horse, Smart Talk, going on score in impressive fashion at Haydock next time, the form looks rock-solid.
Desert Queen - 1pt @ 7/4Lost 1pt
Time may tell that TWO TAFFS(best price 4/1)
ran into a very smart sort in the shape of Bran Power over the C&D last time, so it’s fair to say that Dan Skelton’s inmate may not be too badly handicapped off a mark of 125 based on that performance. Given that the son of Flemensfirth is quite a keen sort, the slow pace that was on offer 34 days ago didn’t really do him any favours, so it was to his great credit that he managed to finish as close as he did considering how much energy he expended in the early stages. On top of that, he had the likes of subsequent winners Theo’s Charm and For Good Measure well beaten in behind and with the likelihood of a stronger pace to run at on this occasion, this lightly-raced five-year-old rates an attractive betting proposition on his first attempt in this sphere.
Two Taffs - 1pt e/w @ 4/1Placed -0.2pts