Excellent to see Cue Card back to winning form, even if the result means a million “what if’s” still linger? Annie Power is some mare but I find that 7lb allowance annoying. On the Fringe is the best Hunter chaser of his generation and Apples Jade must be a major player in next year’s mare’s hurdle. I really want that Listed mares bumper to be strong form and look forward to seeing the first seven home over a hurdle next season.
Moving on to Friday Vautour and Limini provide the class, the Topham is 11/1 the field, the closing bumper is Cheltenham Mark II, the 3m1f Mildmay novices chase looks sub-standard to me whereas the 3m Sefton novice hurdle looks the opposite and the opening 2m4f 22 runner handicap hurdle is right up my street!
1.40 2m4f handicap hurdle.
Looking for a 6yo improver with form on a flat track and will handle Soft ground. The one that catches my eye is Qewy, to give John Ferguson a nice winner before he rides off into the Blue sunset. Beaten just over 5L in the Coral Cup when fading on the run in, he has won at Newbury on the soft and was 3rd at this meeting last year in the Grade 1 novice. Available at 22/1 with Paddy Power Qewy is a two star** each way selection.
2.15 2m G1 novice hurdle
With that mares allowance Limini is the probable winner but I don’t want to play at 5/4. Likewise Buveur D’Air is a #startracking horse who was third in the Supreme but at 5/2 also represents no value. If I had to bet perhaps Ball D’Arc e/w at 16/1 as his only defeat in his last four was to Min.
4.05 2m 5f Topham chase
30 runners take on the challenge of one lap of the National course. This looks harder than the National itself. I want something that has some course form and I could be tempted by the bottom weight Top Cat Henry but he just doesn’t get the trip. So let’s go for a big price and with Ladbrokes offering 25/1 ¼ the odds and five places we will suggest the Becher chase second Dare to Endeavour, who has probably been laid out for this race, as a one star* e/w selection. There aren’t many jockeys with a better National course record than his pilot here, Paul Moloney.
4.40 3m 1f Sefton novice hurdle
Having struggled to find one in most races I am going to put up two here!
Bellshill, representing Wylie, Mullins and Walsh, who I backed ante post for the Alfred Bartlett and ended up running in the Supreme! This is the trip he requires and I just wish I had been brave enough to take the 25/1 available 48 hours ago! It will have to be a one star* win selection at 10/1 with WH.
Duke Des Champs sidestepped Cheltenham with this race in mind. This son of Sir Des Champs is still improving and will enjoy the trip, the course and the ground. He is a one star* win selection at 16/1 with Betfred and Coral.
5.15 2m1f Grade 2 Bumper
As I said earlier this is Cheltenham Mark II with the first three Ballyandy, Battleford and Bacardys locking horns once more! The market has reacted accordingly and I can’t see any value. I do think Atomix for Peter Niven may well outrun his 50/1 price.