Our first race on Channel 4 today is a two mile handicap chase. A P McCoy saddles Mr Mole once again and is seeking his hat trick after a comfortable win at Exeter last time out; he will probably start off favourite again for this today and is only a pound higher from his latest win and has every chance to complete that hat trick today.
Dance Floor is unbeaten over fences and completed his hat trick at Ascot mid-December but he has shot up the weights and this is a lot better company than he is use too so he is probably best watched for the future.
The biggest danger and my selection is Desert Cry, he has a long absence to deal with but has shown in the past that he can win from a long break away from the track; he’ll appreciate the cut in the ground and could be the one for Mr Mole to beat.
Desert Cry (E/W)
Our second race is a novice’s chase. Viva Steve wasn’t very convincing last time out where he finished fourth but was knocking on the door on his two previous starts before that and should once again make his present felt.
Atlantic Roller is another that didn’t show much conviction over the fences last year and with a long break to overcome it may be worth looking elsewhere.
The two that take my eye are Neville and Roberto Pegasus. The latter takes to chasing for the first time and has proven form on these conditions of the flat and if he can bring that form to his hurdling he could be a real danger. The former wasn’t as good as most people thought he was going to be over hurdles and takes on the fences for the first time but that’s what he may need to get his career started again. The return of Richard Johnson in the saddle has to be a positive too.
A very small field of four line up for our third race, a Grade 1 Novices’ hurdle. Unfortunately it also looks a one horse race with the very smart L’ami Serge; he seeks his hat-trick here and as long as he doesn’t fall none of the other three should pose much of a threat, he has beaten a couple of very good horses on his latest two outings and it’s hard not to see him progress even more.
Jolly’s Cracked It and Shelford are probably one’s for the future with the former having two great wins at Ascot in November but this looks too much too soon. The latter has also had success last year but I can’t see past L’ami Serge today.
L’ami Serge (WIN)
We come to the mid-way point of the Channel 4 races and return back to Wincanton for this twenty furlong handicap hurdle. Volt Face absolutely blew the last when looking like he was going to win at Towcester last month and may be forgiven as that was his first race back from a lengthy absence; he should also benefit from his riders claim today and looks a real danger.
Both Paul Nicholls horses Provo and Earthmoves have to go on the short list especially with the trainers form already this season. The latter cruised home in a national hunt novice hurdle at Taunton in November and looks a promising. The former hasn’t been seen since falling here on Boxing Day 2013 and may just need this today.
Blue Buttons is one that can’t be ignored he is usually there or thereabouts at this level and is also another that should benefit from his riders claim.
Volt Face (E/W if 4/1+)
A lot of these come here today with some recent good form under their belt but like me I think a lot of people will be wondering how good the Paul Nicholls French Import Bouvreuil is; he won the Lycoming Hurdle last time out and will probably go off favourite for this today.
The biggest danger and my selection is A P McCoy’s ride Amore Alato he had Leviathan behind when finishing second four weeks ago and is only three pounds higher here today; he was unlucky to be caught close home that day and should go one better today.
Song Light has been raised a huge ten pounds for his latest win and even with his jockeys claim he might now be in the handicappers grip and is dismissed in my eyes.
Rock On Rocky was seeking his hat-trick last month and was travelling well in front until he decided he didn’t want to jump one of the hurdles and unseated his rider, something looked to be amiss there and at a potentially good price he could be worth considering for E/W money.
Amore Alato (WIN)
Rock On Rocky (E/W)
Our penultimate race is also the penultimate race from Wincanton with a 20 furlong handicap chase. The clear favourite at present is Black River which is not surprising after he finally broke his duck last time out where he won very comfortably after being hampered in the final two flights and it’s hard to see past him for this today.
The main danger looks to be Tango De Juilley he looks to have the beating of Notarfbad and Filbert on paper and looks to be improving in the right way.
You can’t have Big Fella Thanks in a race and not talk about him; he isn’t getting any younger at the age of thirteen but dismiss him at your peril as he can show some of these younger horses how it’s done if he is on his game today.
Black River (WIN)
We come to the final race here on channel 4. The clear favourite has to be Unioniste, he finished sixth in the Hennessy and that form alone is a lot better than any of these here today but even with all that said he has still not won for 12 months.
Relax and Firm Order are both course and distance winners and the former looks the biggest danger of the two and should once again come home for a place.
Ballyallia Man could be another that could be a danger to Unioniste; he finished third to Relax last time out but is better in the weights this time around and has every chance of reversing the form here today.
Triolo D’alene is another that can’t be dismissed he was pulled up in both the Grand National and the Hennessy but his form before that showed a lot of potential and could come good again here today.
Ballyallia Man (E/W)
Triolo D’alene (E/W)