We’ve teamed up with BetVictor’s Charlie McCann to preview the day’s racing.
Rather Be remains 9/2 market leader for the BetVictor Gold Cup on Saturday but his old adversary Mister Whitaker has been trimmed into 5/1 from 6s and the scissors have also been out with Kalondra (7s from 8s) and Baron Alco 8s (from 10s) at BetVictor for Saturday’s showpiece.
Fast ground is the order of the day at Taunton this afternoon and all four runners in the 3m Handicap Chase can be given a chance although preference is for Braqueur D’Or (2.35) who is only 4lbs higher than when scoring at Ludlow last October on similar ground.
The selection didn’t have the best of trips when disappointing at Cheltenham on his reappearance, but the rain-softened ground was a negative and he has been dropped a couple of pounds by the handicapper. The Paul Nicholls-trained seven-year-old is 6lbs lower than when finishing fourth in the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury in December and he looks potentially well treated at present.
Misty Bloom (3.10) made a mockery of her handicap mark when a facile scorer at Exeter last week and a 7lbs penalty will not stop her if in the same mood especially when you consider that imposte is largely negated by jockey Patrick Cowley’s 5lb claim. The handicapper has seen fit to raise the selection by a stone, so it will be a long winter if she can’t make a bold bid to follow up today.
At Ludlow, Keep Moving has the scope to jump a fence but I wonder if he will be better going left-handed as he jumped out to his left when runner up at Exeter when last seen 12 months ago. A check of the market is advised.
Marginal preference is for Cap St Vincent (1.50) who finished a never nearer third at Southwell – winner was his well-backed stablemate – last time on his chase debut when a 33/1 shot. The selection is the half-brother to five winners including a couple over this two-mile trip.
Royal Tara (2.55) was a winner of a Hunter Chase and between the flags in his native Ireland and I feel he will appreciate the step up to this extended 3m trip in the feature race for Venetia Williams.
The selection was last seen finishing second at Perth back in the spring and this is the time of the year when the stable begin to hit their straps. Top-weight Hey Bill and Agamemmon are others to consider in a tight and competitive handicap.
There is a Grade 2 Chase at Clonmel and I am looking forward to seeing the reappearance of Kemboy (3.00) who was last seen winning a valuable novices handicap at the Punchestown festival. This 2m 4f trip is, arguably, on the sharp side for the Willie Mullins-trained six-year-old who receives weight from a couple of his main rivals.
Doctor Phoenix would have given Un De Sceaux a real fright when coming down two out in a Fairyhouse Grade 2 back in April but that was on heavy ground and I feel the Mullins horse could have a very good campaign.
JLT Novice Chase winner Shattered Love (3.35) lost nothing in defeat when beaten by Snow Falcon at Down Royal earlier in the month at level weights and she gets the vote back against her own sex for Gordon Elliot with that experience under her belt.
The Novice Camelia De Cotte receives 11lbs from the selection, but I would be disappointed if the Gordon Elliot-trained mare did not go very close.
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