Grand National winner Tiger Roll was reported to be 75% fit before his belated seasonal reappearance in the Boyne Hurdle on Sunday. Nobody told the three-time Cheltenham Festival winner, however, and he came home 4L clear of his field and is now 12/1 at BetVictor (from 20s) for back-to-back wins in the great race.
Gordon Elliot’s equine star is now just 5/4 with BetVictor to win the X-Country Chase for a second successive year at Cheltenham next month and a fourth win at the Festival following previous successes in the Triumph Hurdle (2014) and NH Chase (2017).
They were watering to maintain good ground ahead of today’s card at Wetherby and I hope to see winning pointer Kalahari Queen (2.25) gain a first win over the larger obstacles. The selection’s best form is on soft ground, but she did run well on her chase debut on good ground back in October and the hope is that the wind operation she had last month brings about a bit of improvement.
Strong Resemblance has been a revelation since joining the yard of Oliver Greenall and he must go close reverting to the larger obstacles having won over timber from a 6lbs lower mark last time. The gelding has not been out of the first two in six starts since moving to his new stable and must have every chance of defying his new mark.
Slanelough ran a cracking race for Rose Dobbin at Haydock at the weekend before coming down at the last when holding every chance. She saddles Attention Please who must go close this afternoon but Irish Octave (4.35) is back down to a feasible mark and has ideal underfoot conditions.
The 2m Novice Hurdle at Taunton is an absolute belter and Sofia’s Rock impressed on his hurdles debut back in October for Dan Skelton. I prefer the chances of the juveniles Montestrel and Scaramanga (2.40) with preference for the latter who is entitled to come on for his hurdling debut when third at Ludlow. The volume of money for the Paul Nicholls’ trained juvenile suggested much better was expected of the former decent flat performer and he is taken to break his maiden tag at the second time of asking.
Fair Kate (3.10) is a half-sister to Kateson who was a disappointing favourite at Haydock on Saturday when she pulled far too hard stepped up to three miles for the first time. This 2m 3f trip should suit the selection who ran a fair race staying on over the minimum trip at Chepstow on her first start over timber.
San Satiro would have won but for jumping out to his left at Wincanton last time and Nicholls’ fits his novice with first-time blinkers this afternoon. If the headgear makes him jump straighter he must go close, but preference is for Voie Dans Voie (3.45) who is slowly getting his act together over the larger obstacles and has been dropped a couple of pounds for his latest run at Bangor. A return to a right-hand track will suit.
The 2m Handicap Hurdle is a cracker and Nube Negra is a horse I feel has a big handicap in him this spring, but he jumped out to his left when winning at Market Rasen on his hurdles debut and this is his first start going right-handed since.
Marginal preference is for Capitaine (4.15) who looks sure to make a bold bid from the front for Paul Nicholls. The selection finished runner up to the ill-fated Finian’s Oscar in the Grade 1 Tolworth Hurdle a couple of year’s ago and he is the each way recommendation in what is an ultra-competitive heat.
I am sure Leg Lock Luke is well treated at present, but he is a law unto himself and Danboru (4.50) can go one better than when second at Sedgefield returning from a lay-off last time on his British debut. A 4lbs rise is not ideal but he looks open to further improvement and gets the vote.
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