There could be better to come from Mr Mole back at the minimum trip in handicap company with the potential for him to lead again. His record in fields of six or less is 5-8.
The Gloucestershire handler is without a winner at this afternoon’s venue in five years, statistics which hardly breed confidence in his exciting grey who bids for a hat-trick having again impressed with a tremendous round of jumping at Haydock last time.
Only Ar Mad has been able to lower the colours of the selection over fences this season and he was required to record a time five seconds faster than the 169-rated Sire De Grugy managed in winning the Tingle Creek Chase on the same card to do so.
Bristol De Mai has gone from strength-to-strength since being stepped up in trip and his experience of Sandown should stand him in good stead for what looks an intriguing duel with the talented Tea For Two.
The former stole a handy lead when taking a similar heat at Kempton last time but there must be a chance that IBIS DU RHEU can reverse the placings. The selection was held up off a modest pace at Kempton yet stayed on well to beaten less than four lengths so the step up in trip on a stiffer track should suit and his yard have won this three times in the last six runnings.
Baywing has gone from a mark in the late 80s to 135 and was arguably at his most impressive at Haydock last time. He will be tough to beat even if he was raised a further 10lb for that comfortable five length success and takes on a tougher level of rival here.
Events haven’t panned out for Black Thunder this term, but he showed enough first time out at Cheltenham before an unfortunate blunder to be highly competitive in a race of this nature.
That race has worked out exceptionally well with runner-up Bright New Dawn scoring this week at Clonmel, third-home Felix Yonger winning twice in Grade 2 company since, including at Punchestown on Sunday, and First Lieutenant (3rd) excelling in both the Hennessy behind Smad Place and the Lexus Chase when only narrowly beaten by Don Poli. Noel Meade’s charge would need to underperform markedly not to win this.
2.05 Ffos Las
Jack Sherwood, in the saddle last year, is back on board and there looks no reason why the seven-year-old shouldn’t go well again given he handles bottomless ground and clearly loves the track.
His efforts over fences have hardly been indicative of a horse that is regressing and, only two starts ago, he chased home the classy Seeyouatmidnight at Kelso so could be some value today.
3.15 Ffos Las
He is 9lb higher than when successful that day but, with his ability to handle what could be atrocious conditions already confirmed, he still appeals as the safest conveyance – a comment which illustrates what a perilous race it is for an investment!
Colin Tizzard’s six-year-old should be more at home on the galloping straights of Wetherby and he is fancied to bounce back to the form which saw him run out an impressive scorer at Newbury on Hennessy weekend. Rider Brendan Powell described him as an ‘aeroplane’ that day on dismounting and he has always been held in very high regard by his connections so it taken to vindicate the faith.