Charlie McCann of BetVictor.com takes a look at Friday’s cards
Last season’s RSA Chase winner Blaklion heads the weights and the market 9/2 with BetVictor for Saturday’s Grand National Trial as fourteen horses were declared for the Haydock feature. The gelding is 50/1 (NRNB) for the Gold Cup with BetVictor and 25/1 for the National (from 33s) and obviously some people believe a thorough test of stamina will bring out the best in him.
It is Royal Artillery Gold Cup day at Sandown and I hope to see Rathlin Rose (3.15) land the prize for David Pipe and amputee soldier Captain Guy Disney. Disney lost his right leg from the knee down in Afghanistan back in 2009 and his story is an extraordinary one – Rathlin Rose came back from a long absence when finishing fourth at Newbury last month and that run should have blown the cobwebs away.
The listed Mares’ Hurdle is a belter and I just wonder if Nicky Henderson’s Theatre Territory (2.40) can improve past both Happy Diva and Colin’s Sister especially in receipt of 5lbs. The mare looked likely to score with something in hand when coming down two out at Newbury last time on her first start at today’s 2m 4f trip. She can see off the challenge of Tizzard’s Colin’s Sister who is unbeaten in three starts so far this term over hurdles and won’t give up her unbeaten record over timber without a fight.
I will kick myself if King Of Glory makes a winning reappearance for Venetia Williams but he has yet to prove he stays this three-mile trip and I’m going to take a chance on Flight Commander (4.15) at the foot of the weights for Oliver Sherwood. The 8-year-old hasn’t been in the best of form so far this season, but he is dropping down the weights and he is much better on a right-hand track.
Tim Vaughan had a double at Newcastle earlier in the week and Debece (4.45) can maintain the yard’s good run in the finale. The selection is a half-brother to leading chaser Don Poli and certainly improved for the step up to today’s 2m 4f trip when third at Aintree when last seen back in December.
At Fakenham Zeroshadesofgrey has not really taken to fences and I’m keen to oppose the likely favourite in the Novices’ Chase. Omessa Has (3.00) receives plenty of weight from her four rivals and I thought she ran her best race yet when not beaten far at Kempton over timber last time. She has some chase experience back in her native France and connections look to have found an excellent opportunity.
In the Hunter Chase Wild Bill (4.05) can follow up his recent point-to-point win despite the fact that he would be meeting likely favourite Warden Hill on much better terms if this were a handicap. The ground is currently good to soft with no further rain forecast and that should suit the selection who I was an admirer of when handled by Evan Williams.
At Newcastle I hope to see Saxon Flames (2.20) go one better than when runner up on debut at Lingfield (7f) with today’s step up to a mile a positive. The colt holds an entry in the Derby later in the year and can get the better of David Barron’s Spiritofhayton who belied his odds of 25/1 when second over C&D last month.
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