We’ve teamed up with BetVictor to preview the day’s racing.
The weights for the Cheltenham Festival handicaps and entries for the other outstanding races were announced yesterday and BetVictor are now Non Runner No Bet on all races at Prestbury Park as the countdown continues to the greatest show on turf.
In other news, Michael O’Leary was as good as his word and scratched his trio of Grand National horses at the top of the weights, Outlander, Don Poli and Empire of Dirt. Carlingford Lough (25/1 with BetVictor) is now set to carry top weight at Aintree next month. Last year’s runner up Last Samurai (16s at BetVictor) is now due to carry 11st 9lbs, which is 15lbs higher than last season.
Soft ground at Ludlow for today’s seven-race card and the Venetia Williams-trained Kap Jazz (2.50) can defy his 7lbs penalty for a fluent win at Carlisle ten days ago.
The seven-year-old has been raised 13lbs for that success so he is 6lbs well-in despite the rise and should be hard to beat.
Aliandy was a good second at Taunton last time over three miles and today’s intermediate 2m 5f trip should be ideal.
I think there might be more to come, however, from Mixchievous (3.25) another Venetia Williams trained gelding who looked in need of a slightly sterner test when done for toe in a slowly run race at Sandown last time over 2m 4f.
Two Swallows (4.35) has been raised 8lbs for last month’s Towcester success but that rise is largely negated by the 7lb claim of leading amateur jockey Alex Ferguson who is proving good value for this allowance.
Persian Snow (5.05) is taken to follow up last month’s fluent success in the Hunter Chase and it would be no surprise to see this 11-year-old target Aintree and the big National fences next month.
The selection needs to win or be placed to be eligible for the race, however, and this smart handicapper might give the mighty On The Fringe a race if he got a bit of juice in the ground at Aintree.
At Taunton, Fort Worth is 6lbs higher than when scoring at Doncaster back in January under today’s conditional but I am going to take a chance on Earthmoves (3.35) who has the scope to make a chaser and is returning from a three-month lay-off for Paul Nicholls.
The selection was reported to have had a breathing problem on his sole start over fences and he wears a tongue-tie but the hope is what was ailing him here back in November has been rectified.
The juvenile Volpone Jelois (4.10) holds an entry in the Fred Winter at the Cheltenham Festival later in the month and, if he wins, he will incur a 5lbs penalty which will ensure he will make the cut for the race for which he is currently a 25/1 shot with BetVictor.
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