We’ve teamed up with BetVictor’s Charlie McCann to preview the day’s racing.
No Presenting Percy in the field for the Grade 1 Savills Chase at Leopardstown this afternoon with connections taking the RSA Chase winner out of the race at the overnight declaration stage on account of the prevailing good ground.
Reflections from Boxing Day at Kempton and I felt both Santini (7/2 for the RSA Chase with BetVictor) and Native River (11/2 to retain his Gold Cup crown with BetVictor) enhanced their Festival claims despite losing on the day – both will find Cheltenham’s undulations playing more to their strengths with Native River consistently losing ground by jumping out to his left.
Last year’s winner Road To Respect is a worthy favourite for the Savills Chase having made such a pleasing reappearance when winning the Grade 1 JN Wines Chase at Down Royal last month. That said he is short enough at 7/4 with BetVictor and my each-way alternative is the Gordon Elliot-trained mare Shattered Love (3.00).
The selection won the JLT Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham back in March and lost nothing in defeat behind Min in the John Durkan last time when she indicated that a return to three miles would bring about further improvement. At 7/1 with BetVictor I would be disappointed if she didn’t finish in the frame – note BetVictor are paying each-way four places.
The ground is a strange mix of fast and soft on the chase course at Leicester and the hope is that Copper West (1.55) can cope with the curate’s egg of conditions. I am convinced there are chases to be won with Tom George’s seven-year-old and he may be able to cope with underfoot conditions better than most.
Ar Mest (3.05) drops back to the minimum trip having looked a non-stayer when third over an additional half mile at Lingfield last time.
The handicapper has dropped Gary Moore’s five-year-old a couple of pounds and he can reward each way support. The Skeltons have a number of fancied runners on the card including Antunes who has been raised a stone for scoring at Uttoxeter last time.
Time For Another (1.35) makes his hurdles debut for Olly Murphy at Catterick having shaped with considerable promise when third on his sole Bumper start for Kim Bailey. The selection is likely to get further than today’s 2m 4f trip in time, but connections look to have found a very winnable race for his hurdles debut.
Ballasalla (2.10) will surely get further than the minimum trip in time, he is related to Grand National winner Ballabriggs, but he jumped well on his chase debut over 2m at Carlisle when runner up and a 2lbs rise looks fair.
At Limerick, I hope Willie Mullins, who must still be wondering how Footpad was beaten yesterday, saddles the winner of the Grade 3 Irish Independent Hurdle courtesy of Stormy Ireland (1.40) who ran away with a listed mares’ contest at Punchestown last time.
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