Charlie McCann previews Saturday’s cards
Competitive cards from Doncaster and Newbury this afternoon and it is Greatwood day at the Berkshire track with the feature the Veterans’ Chase over the best part of three-and-a-quarter miles. Kim Bailey’s Harry Topper (2.05) cannot have the ground soft enough and Friday’s heavy rain will suit the gelding down to the round. The 10-year-old was taken off his feet at Exeter last time but was doing all his best work at the end of the race. The selection (9/2 with BetVictor) did win a good novice chase here on heavy ground and he wouldn’t want the ground to dry out too much today.
O’Faolains Boy was a big disappointment at Ascot on his reappearance but is thrown in on his best form. The Rebecca Curtis yard continue to be a bit hit and miss, however, and it will be interesting to see if the market speaks in his favour.
Sumkindofking (2.40) hasn’t yet transferred his promising bumper form to hurdles but the drop back to the minimum trip should suit and he has been given a break to freshen up since his last start. This represents a drop in class and he should go close given he has decent form on soft ground although he is one of many in the field who would have preferred a sounder surface.
Oldgrangewood is chasing a four-timer for Dan Skelton but is 11lbs higher than when scoring easily at Wetherby last time and is reluctantly overlooked. Paul Nicholls has saddled the winner of this corresponding race seven times in the last nine years, Vibrato Valtat is his representative this afternoon, and this represents a drop in class for his former Grade 1 winner. He must go close but Vic Du Touzaine (3.15) represents the yard of Venetia Williams who saddled the winner of this corresponding event (Shangani) back in 2014.The selection is 5/1 with BetVictor and can reward each way support.
The selection seems to ply his trade almost exclusively right-handed which is a slight concern but he ran well last time and looks to be hitting top form – I like the booking of Tom Scudamore.
At Doncaster taking into account jockey claims The Last Samuri must give 29lbs to Looking Well (3.35) and that might be too much for last year’s Grand National runner up who is at his best on a sound surface. The selection also prefers good ground but a dry day is forecast in south Yorkshire.
Happy Diva (3.00) can get back to winning ways for Kerry Lee in the Mares’ Listed Hurdle over three miles. She was no match for Colin’s Sister at Sandown last time over two-and-a-half and suggested she would improve for the return to this trip on that occasion.
Reivers Lad (2.15) can follow up his recent C&D win in the opening novice hurdle at Kelso for Nicky Richards before hopefully going on to better things. Forest Des Aixles failed to land a gamble at Ayr last time but he jumped well in the lead and this slight step back up in trip should suit Lucinda Russell’s French import who has been dropped 3lbs for that run back in December. Connections have given him plenty of time to recover and it will be interesting to see if he is well-supported again.
At Huntingdon on Sunday Azzuri (2.00) should take the opener for the Skeltons and Antartica De Thaix (3.30) can take advantage of the 10lbs she receives from likely favourite Desert Queen in the listed mares chase, a race that has been rearranged following the abandonment of the last scheduled meeting on account of the high winds.
For all your sporting odds check out BetVictor.com