TV TIPS (SATURDAY)
The forecast favourite for our opening race is The Druids Nephew and he arrives here looking to make it two wins from two for the season. He ran out a twelve length victor despite jumping left at Huntingdon last month and with Barry Geraghty booked for the ride today he could prove tough to beat.
Lamb Or Cod could prove to be the biggest challenger and has finished in the top two positions in an impressive 62% of his career races over jumps. He notched up a hat-trick of wins earlier in the year, including a win here at Cheltenham, so must be considered a danger to the favourite.
Of the remainder, Gevrey Chambertin catches the eye at a likely bigger price. He disappointed when last seen, finishing well down the field but has a 50% win record over jumps and won on his penultimate run, where both opponents in this race have gone on to place in subsequent races.
The Druids Nephew (WIN)
Our first live race from Wetherby sees seven scheduled to go to post, with the two at the head of the market looking the most likely to fight it out for the win.
What A Good Night is the early favourite and looked to be well in command when falling two fences from home at Southwell last month. Prior to that he was a winner on good-to-soft ground at Uttoxeter and will no doubt be a key player in this race if he gets round. At the forecasted prices he seems very short considering he has only finished three of his eight races in the last twelve months so preference is for Shouldaveboughtgold.
Shouldaveboughtgold had previously struggled to get his nose in front, finishing second in four consecutive races before finally winning somewhat impressively at Carlisle earlier this month. This was his first win in eleven attempts but with a 45% strike rate of finishes within the first two places he has been consistent and will hopefully build on this recent win.
Present View has only failed to place in one of his ten career runs, winning three. He signed off last season with a win here at Cheltenham over todays’ trip and ran a credible second on his seasonal re-appearance, again over course and distance. Forecast as early favourite in this race, he will no doubt have his supporters but Buywise looks a more exciting prospect.
Buywise has won five from his last six with his only defeat coming at the hands of the aforementioned Present View. He was in contention in that race and would have likely challenged for the win if his jumping had been more consistent. A previous course and distance winner, he should be strong enough to go close today as long as his jumping doesn’t let him down.
At a slightly bigger price Indian Castle is another to consider, a course and distance winner who steps up in grade having won four and placing twice from seven runs.
Buywise (E/W if 5/1+)
Indian Castle (E/W)
This looks like a tough looking race to decipher, with Grand National winner Pineau De Re the potential highlight. He is sure to have his supporters after his heroics at Aintree in April, where he finished five lengths ahead of Balthazar King (who won here yesterday). He is passed over for this race as he is sure to have bigger targets this year and may be best watched on his seasonal re-appearance.
Katkeau and Heronshaw return to action after two years and one year away from competitive races respectively but with no recent form to go off, both are difficult to recommend with any conviction.
A chance is taken on Invicta Lake, who attempted todays’ race distance for the first time on his last run and was an impressive five length winner. Three of the five that finished behind the selection that day have all raced again since and have all finished in the top two, so the form seems to hold up well.
Invicta Lake (E/W)
Circus Star will no doubt lead from the front and could be a threat if the rest of the field allow him to build up too much of a lead. However, if the rest keep in touch then it is likely that he will find one or two too strong on the run in.
Early favourite Forced Family Fun has won two from three over todays’ race distance and finished a close third in the other. He should be fit for this race, having warmed up with a placed effort on the flat at Catterick at the end of October.
Master Red is another who is of interest, having finished last season with two wins and a third after suffering a couple of falls earlier in the season. He finished a respectable second on his seasonal re-appearance last season so could figure today if running to a similar level today.
Forced Family Fun (WIN)
Golden Doyen won exactly as an odds-on shot should in his last race, finishing sixteen lengths ahead of second and looking it total control. His jumping looked better in this race, more fluent than his first attempt over hurdles and with further progression expected he looks a potential class act in the making.
He is likely to battle it out for favouritism with the Nicky Henderson trained Hargam, who is hoping to follow in the footsteps of Royal Irish Hussar who won this race for the Henderson/Geraghty combo last year.
L’Aigle Royal is another to consider, arriving here with two wins from three over todays’ trip. Both these wins came on better ground than forecast today but he has also competed on softer ground and could be the one to watch if either of the market principles underperform.
Golden Doyen (WIN)