Monksland can make the most of weight advantage
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Looking ahead to the weekend and Coneygree is a standout 9/4 shot at BetVictor for the Grade 1 Betfair Chase at Haydock Park. I wasn’t too enamoured by Cue Card at Wetherby and must confess to having backed Coneygree to retain his Gold Cup crown at Cheltenham in March.
I appreciate there are some reservations about the sharp nature of the Haydock Park chase course and the absence of regular pilot Nico de Boinville but I am a big fan of the Bradstock’s stable star and I think 9/4 is too big.
The Grade 2 Clonmel Oil Chase is the feature race this afternoon and Monksland (2.10) gets the vote receiving weight from his six rivals despite slight reservations about the trip (2m 4f) being on the sharp side for the nine-year-old.
The selection was travelling well when he came down a mile from home in the JN Wine Chase at Down Royal earlier in the month where I felt he would have finished runner up to the impressive Valseur Lido. Noel Meade’s charge has had him jumping problems in the past but he is a very talented animal and I think today could be his day.
Alechi Inois and Outlander look sure to head the market and are others to consider in a very good renewal of this valuable prize.
On Demand has been raised 13lbs for his facile win at Wincanton last time and is likely to be all the rage despite dropping back in trip such was the manner (12 lengths) of her success. I thought that was a poor race, however, and Hint Of Mint (1.45) has been dropped 5lbs from his reappearance when he was too keen to do himself justice in a listed event.
Niall ‘Slippers’ Madden takes the ride and the hope is that the step up in trip will suit the horse who was very well backed before his reappearance. With that run under his belt the hope is that he won’t be as keen as he was at Ascot where he pulled too hard to give his running.
Venetia Williams has yet to fire so far this season but Burtons Well is one to consider off what looks a very fair mark if fit following a 600-day lay-off. The seven-year-old would be worth an interest if the betting spoke in his favour but Lettheriverrundry (2.50) is another making his chasing debut from what looks a very fair mark.
The selection jumped right occasionally over timber which suggests this track will suit and, whilst he will get further in time, it will be interesting if the betting speaks in his favour. Champion trainer Paul Nicholls saddles Sirabad and he is another who will win his fair share of races this season.
At Market Rasen, No Comment (1.00) can go one better than when no match for the Dan Skelton trained Robin Roe at Aintree last month.
That horse looks potentially top class although it is worth noting that the Skelton’s take on the Philip Hobbs trained likely favourite with recent Carlisle Bumper winner Lieutenant Gruber (one for ‘Allo ‘Allo fans).
The Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase is a belter and there will be any number of winners come out of the race. My two against the field are Urban Hymn who will appreciate dropping back in trip on a right-handed track and Walking In The Air (2.35) with marginal preference for the latter who makes his chase debut for the Skeltons.
The selection ran well on his reappearance over timber at Carlisle last month and certainly has the scope to jump a fence. The selection won a point-to-point in his native Ireland and has won a Bumper and over timber for the Skeltons; he is taken to make a winning chase debut.
In the last, I’m hoping to see Western Ryder (3.45) defy his penalty for winning at Ffos Las back in the spring.
That win was gained on good ground but this son of Westerner should be at least as effective on soft ground and is a horse of some potential although the form has certainly not been franked.
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