Tom Stanley has 5 selections for Saturday's racing.
Cogry has been a long term fancy for the Welsh National and everything looks in place for a big run. I put him up on reappearance at Cheltenham and mused he may need the run given he hasn’t won fresh. He looked a touch outpaced before keeping on and that should have put him right for this. He’s no great price but is a curse winner, should relish the ground and has a favourite’s chance. The list is completed by a fair few. Mountainous has obvious claims, Bertie Boru went up here last time and had he a better course record I’d be very keen. Both the Rebecca Curtis runners need plenty of respect, I’m very tempted by Red Devil Lads who should come on for his reappearance.
Benvolio has serious claims given last year’s run but pick of the prices is Firebird Flyer. He was talked about for this 12 months ago before going to Haydock instead given the small field and prize money on offer. It didn’t work out but I think this test may be more up his street and he’ll like the ground. Back to just 2lb above his last win, he shaped very encouragingly in the trial for this when finishing best of those held up and I’m not sure why he’s the price he is. His trainer maintains he needs a couple of runs to get right so I’m hopeful he’ll go well.
Frustratingly Unowhatimeanharry is out of the Lanzarote so the price about Yala Enki has taken a hit. That said, I think he has a really solid chance here, particularly as he looks likely to get a lead. He’ll handle the ground fine and he ran respectably off this mark on handicap debut at Haydock where well backed in the week leading up to the race but taken on up top. The drop in trip should suit and I like Charlie Deutsch claiming 5lb, the jockey who gave Venetia Williams’s Aachen a peach from the front last month.
He’s no great price but Subtle Grey is going up as something of a banker for the afternoon. He is housed in the top box at home, where a couple of Grand National winners have lived, and his trainer thinks there’s plenty more to come. He won a 4 runner race last time and is up 2lb as a result, which I fancy vastly underestimate his ability. Donald McCain made no secret of the fact he’d need his reappearance given he’s such a heavy set horse and there should still be plenty more to come after his 2nd start. A 3 mile winner in testing ground over hurdles, this return to further should suit and he’s won on heavy. Very much a national horse for the future, Geraghty is up and a mark of 126 should be left well behind.
I’m looking forward to the 3.10 at Kempton for a few reasons. Firstly, it has a couple of likely National horses in there who could well make their mark on the market for Aintree. Seefood in particular is a fascinating acquisition by 2014 Grand National wining trainer Dr Richard Newland. He’ll likely prefer better ground and is worth a close eye. So too Kruzhlinin who has had a go at Aintree and now makes his debut for Philip Hobbs, very good at getting them ready first up, though this may still happen a bit too quickly for him and I’m not taken with his price. On the day it’s between Grandads Horse and Shangani with preference for the latter given the lack of form about the Longsdon yard at present. Shangani was not out of it when slipping on the bend here last time and runs off the the same mark, the same as when 2nd over course and distance last year. Charlie Deutsch takes of that useful 5lb and easier ground will be no bad thing.