DARK SHOT (best price 7-2) finally got his rewards for a series of commendable placed efforts with a victory at Windsor last time out and this honest and consistent sort looks booked for another positive show in what appears a tricky little affair. Although frustratingly beaten when sent off favourite on his previous two starts, the speed figures he posted in defeat suggested it was only a matter of time before he got his head in front and with his confidence likely to be buoyed following that six length romp 17 days ago, Andrew Balding’s inmate has a fine chance to extend his win tally if breaking well and being allowed to dictate matters from his favourable inside draw.
YAMATO (best price 8-1) gave the impression that he wasn’t enjoying the ground or the track at Bellewstown last time out, but he certainly showed enough there - and on several previously performances – that he can go well in a small race of this nature in the future. Not disgraced behind the likes of Monarch (now rated 95) and Mr Right (88) earlier in the campaign, Michael Halford’s inmate looks just the type his canny handler does particularly well with at this venue and off a mark of 72 in his first handicap, the son of Big Bad Bob (sire has good record on Polytrack), he can put up a bold display from his favourable inside post in trap one.
Time may tell there was certainly no disgrace getting beat by Emperor Napoleon last time out at Bath and ST MICHEL (best price 11-10) looks to have been found the ideal opportunity to get back on track. An easy winner the time before on the all-weather at Chelmsford, not surprisingly given his connections, Sir Mark Prescott’s charge was sent off a warm order to follow up next time at the Somerset venue and although he ran a reasonable race to finish second, he left the impression the soft underfoot conditions were holding him back. Returning to a sounder surface and, more importantly given his pedigree, stepping up in trip, the son of Sea The Stars makes quite a bit of appeal against a field of largely opposed handicappers.
SAMTU (best price 3-1) was unlucky to bump into the very progressive Barman over tonight’s C&D eight days, but with nothing seemingly of that standard up against on this occasion, Dan Skelton’s charge has a fine chance of gaining compensation. Despite the son of Teofilo always looking as though he was playing second fiddle to Nicky Henderson’s inmate, the encouraging aspect of the performance was how well he kept battling all the way to the line, and with conditions likely to be riding on the quick side, this nice mover should get the ideal conditions he requires to run to maximum capacity.
In race that wouldn’t be out of place round a Grade 1 track, TIGER ROLL (best price 9-4) is fancied to continue his progression over fences. A former smart hurdler and winner of the 2014 Triumph Hurdle, Gordon Elliot’s charge rather lost his way over timber, but since switching his attentions to the larger obstacles, he’s managed to regain some of that old swagger. Impressive on chase debut at Ballinrobe, the son of Authorised followed up with another polished performance at Kilbeggan last time out and with the third home that day, Duckweed, going on to advertise the form subsequently, the six-year-old can follow suit and complete the hat trick.