Charlie McCann of BetVictor.com with Friday’s racing selections
Nicky Henderson hinted on At The Races yesterday that his brilliant Champion Chase winner Altior would bypass Aintree and a crack at the two-and-a-half mile Melling Chase next Friday to wait for Sandown and the Celebration Chase (2m) later in the month. I feel connections are making a mistake and would love to see the unbeaten chaser race beyond the minimum trip for the first time.
I would love to see the gelding target the King George (14/1 at BetVictor) at t Kempton on Boxing Day but with stablemate Might Bite 9/4 favourite you wonder if the Seven Barrows handler will go down the established 2m Tingle Creek/Clarence House Chase route. Altior is Even money favourite for the 2019 Champion Chase at BetVictor with Footpad 5/1 but I make no apologies for hoping the equine superstar is stepped up in distance sooner rather than later.
Fontwell report no problems for the jumps card this afternoon although conditions will be testing (officially heavy) at the Sussex track.
It is very rare that a horse is dropped 4lbs for winning but that happened to Morney Wing who was a lucky winner at Fakenham last time when both Potters Legend (winner since) and Minella On Line fell at the last when clear.
Preference is for Wizards Bridge (2.35) who is 5lbs higher than when scoring at Chepstow last time and that form has already been franked by the facile Towcester win of runner up The Bay Birch. That win for the Colin Tizzard yard was over two-and-a-half miles but the selection is a C&D winner and has won from a higher mark previously.
Larry is penalised 7lbs for his facile win at Plumpton last month for Gary Moore, and preference in the Novices’ Hurdle is for Duke Of Kilcorral (3.10) who went close over C&D last time and Noel Fehily takes over in the plate for the first time.
Only three to post in the near two-and-a-quarter mile chase but the trio all hold realistic chances and preference for Clondaw Westie (3.40) is marginal. The selection has won his last three completed starts for Lawney Hill and is likely to have the race run to suit with recent C&D winner Atlantic Roller likely to set a decent gallop.
I am a big fan of Robinsson (4.15) who made a promising return from a 22-month lay-off when third over today’s C&D at the end of February. If this were better ground, the Oliver Sherwood-trained 8-y-old would be something to bet on, but he still gets the each way nod with Thomas Garner taking over in the saddle from the injured Leighton Aspell.
In the Bumper Dandolo Du Gite has had his wind tweaked since finishing third at Wincanton on his rules debut but the vote goes to Gwalia (5.20) who can make it third time lucky having finished second in both Bumpers to date. The Evan Williams-trained gelding was no match for the promising Good Boy Bobby at Chepstow last time.
Richard Hannon has his string well forward and the filly Pepita (4.30) can get her head back in front in the 7f Handicap at Lingfield. The selection has been called a few rude names in the past but is well drawn for one who like to race prominently and the hope is that she can reward each way support.
In the finale, a market move for newcomer Sarvi would be worth noting but the four-year-old Albizzia (5.35) has, arguably, the best form on offer having finished fourth at Leicester on her sole start a year ago. That promising run was over a mile and she can give weight and a beating to her juniors although the Botti debutante does have an eye-catching pedigree.
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