TV TIPS (SATURDAY)
Politilogue has won two races so far this season and both were in relatively small fields. Last time he was able to wdominate his rivals from the outset and they could never reel him in. The fourth placed runner in that race has come out to win since giving the form a bit of substance. He won at this track on his only previous visit and the slight drop back in trip won’t be a massive inconvenience. He handles everything from good to heavy ground so the ground is unlikely to be an issue.
Itsafreebee took the notable scalp of Cole Harden when last seen out at Wetherby last month. He was a little uneasy in the market that day but backers never had a minutes worry as he powered home by seven lengths. Harry Skelton takes the ride today and he has won on him twice in the past. Proven at this trip and over slightly further, he is likely to go well today. Waiting Patiently has done nothing but improve since being sent to tackle fences. His two most recent wins have come at Newcastle and Sedgefield. This is a marked step up in grade but he fully deserves to take his chance and is another likely danger.
Neon Wolf puts his unbeaten record on the line but he has impressed in both of his starts so far. He scored by a dozen lengths on his racecourse debut when allowed to make all at Uttoxeter early last year. He was wrapped up until New Year’s Day when Harry Fry Sent him to a novices’ hurdle at Exeter. He travelled smoothly throughout and won going away by around three lengths in the end. Being by Irish mudlark Vinnie Roe, he ought to appreciate any further softening of the ground and with an in form Noel Fehily in the plate he looks the one that they all have to beat.
Elgin has won three of his last four races but this will be the toughest field that he has ever faced. He clearly handles flat tracks well and is a previous course and distance winner. Other notable successes have come at Newcastle and Kempton. Daryl Jacob has won on him before and the pair look the biggest threat. Craggaknock meanwhile looked useful on the flat last season and he has certainly transferred his ability to hurdles. Two wins at Wetherby in larger fields means he has gained plenty of experience and that will stand him in good stead for a place at least here.
NEON WOLF (WIN)
Irving can’t have the ground soft enough and he showed good form to turn over Apples Jade in the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle back in November. The form was given a notable boost following the runner up’s hard fought success at Fairyhouse in a Grade one next time. Despite the burden of top weight this afternoon he is trained at a yard noted for its big race wins and it will be of little surprise to see him go very close this afternoon.
L’ami Serge gets a noticeable amount of weight from his two chief rivals today. He found a rejuvenated Agrapart too strong at Cheltenham last time but he is a model of consistency and cannot be ignored.
Vintage Clouds sneaks in here at the foot of the weights and represents last year’s winning stable. Despite not having tasted success as yet over the larger obstacles, he has finished second the last three times he has run. He is fully at home in what are likely to be underfoot conditions and receiving up to a stone and a half from his rivals may well cause him to have an impact in this stamina sapping contest. Danny Cook knows his mount inside out and that will prove invaluable in this mud bath.
Alary has been impressing so much so at home that connections think he is the second coming. He will need to be something special in order to win this on what is his British debut and off top weight. If he was beatable in France, he is certainly vulnerable here and I wouldn’t want to be taking short prices about him. Sausalito Sunrise meanwhile is a previous course and distance winner. He loves nothing more than to slog it out from the front always wearing his heart on his sleeve. He is a classy act and looks the biggest danger to the selection. Otago Trail, Katenko, Gevrey Chambertin and Seventh Sky have more letters beside their names than is in the alphabet so cannot be trusted. Bristol De Mai was beaten at odds on in a two horse race back in October so I wouldn’t be lumping on him either.
VINTAGE CLOUDS (E/W if 9/2+)
SAUSALITO SUNRISE (E/W if 9/2+)
Written by Karl Hedley