IT was a brilliant start to day two with Windsor Park obliging at 5-1 in the first race, followed by gruesome disappointment with The Young Master who I had been looking forward to for three months.
The drama continued in the Champion Chase when the fears over Sprinter Sacre were realised. It’s scary how the best horse in training can look so average 18 months later.
The dream is over for Sprinter and I hope he is now retired and can have a quiet life. Volnay De Thaix got us a place at 20-1 but never looked like winning and then Sire Collonges threatened and was poised to arrive late in the Cross Country chase but didn’t find enough and was maybe hampered just as it looked like he might jump to the front.
Baron Alco and Thunder Max showed very little but thankfully Moon Racer obliged in the lucky last with some style to give us another healthy winner and leave us in profit for the day.
So on to day 3 we go with a spring in our step and the hope that we can find another couple of winners…
1.30 – JLT Novices Chase
– 2 miles 4 furlongs
– Mostly first season chasers
– Looking for a horse with a turn of pace who also has the stamina to get up the hill at the death
– Won last year by Taquin De Seuil
A race for novice chasers, similar to the Arkle on Monday but run over a further half mile so the horses need to be able stay a bit further but also jump well and have a touch of pace.
Vautour is the 6-4 favourite at the time of writing but I’m not sure that represents great value. His win in the Supreme novices here last year was magnificent but he hasn’t quite reached the same height over fences yet this season and I think he is vulnerable to one or two at a bigger price.
Main Selection: Apache Stronghold
Apache Stronghold arrived late in his win at Leopardstown in February but it was a perfectly timed ride and he looks the ideal sort of horse for this race. He will be held up by Paul Carberry who is the master at that sort of ride and I’m hoping he will produce him just at the right time. I don’t think there is much between Apache Stronghold and Vautour but at the prices I have to side with Apache who can be backed at each way prices, perhaps as a result of the Mullins/Walsh factor with Vautour.
Each way selection: Colour Squadron
I am not under any illusions about this horse. He is now 9 years old and despite a great record in competitive handicap chases he has yet to actually win a chase, hence the reason he is eligible to run in this. He is always there or thereabouts but his recent form is less convincing. If he can bounce back to the form that got him a close second in the Paddy Power Chase then he has a great chance for a place at fancy odds of 25-1 and is worth keeping onside.
Apache Stronghold – 2 points each way at 11-2 with Totesport
Colour Squadron – 0.5 points each way at 25-1 with Totesport