1 bet for today on what looks a bit of a trappy day. All eyes will be on Ascot where Altior and Cyrname go head to head in an eagerly anticipated clash but I’m staying up north, wouldn’t you always!
In the 1.15 at Haydock ACTIVIAL has a fair bit going for him and I think the 7/1 being offered is underplaying his chance.
He won this very race last year coming into it off a similar preparation. He’s 3lbs higher this time and the ground will be a little softer but he handles cut so I am not too concerned on that count. On his day he is a fair performer, winning this by 16 lengths from Paul Nicholls’ Magic Saint 12 months ago, but was probably a bit fortunate in that River Wylde cam down at the last when looking the probable winner. But that was a good effort and he followed it up by narrowly failing (beaten short head) to give the useful Kildisart 10lbs at Ascot.
He continued in a consistent vein all year, running well at Cheltenham at both the January and March meetings, having gone up 6lbs on the back of those earlier season efforts. At the festival he was a good sixth in the Ultima Chase but was reported to have lost a shoe. He lost a shoe from the same hoof (right hind) when given a crack at the Topham Trophy over the National fences at Aintree (hampered badly at the first fence and struggling from that point).
Slightly worryingly he was reported to have sustained a cut to the same leg on his seasonal reappearance earlier this month, hopefully coincidentally and not the result of an issue with his action rendering him susceptible.
He has a bit on giving a fair amount of weight to three promising young horses here, any of whom may improve on their marks, but they will similarly have it all on to overhaul the selection if he gets into a rhythm in front, as is likely. Jarveys Plate is the one I’d fear most but at 7/1 currently with both William Hill and BetVictor I think we are getting a good deal on Activial and he’s my sole play this afternoon.