THIS is a cracking race with 24 runners virtually all of whom can have a case made for them today. I think Nicky Henderson holds the key to this race.
He hasn’t had a good festival so far and he looked haunted yesterday before the Champion Chase where Sprinter Sacre was eventually pulled up. If he has either Hunt Ball or Rajdhani Express fully primed for this then they will be hard to beat but I’m really struggling to tip either of them given the current form that Henderson is in.
I might have a small each way on Hunt Ball for old times sake but I think the winner of the race can be found elsewhere. Monetaire for David Pipe is one who has been heavily tipped and now sits at around the 6-1 mark but his form in France was poor and I’m not sure how much more improvement he has. In a competitive handicap like this I don’t think I can recommend him at 6-1.
4.00 – Brown Advisory and Merriebelle Stable Plate
– Handicap race
– Run over 2 miles 5 furlongs
– Previously known as the Byrne Group Plate
Main Selection: Buywise
Evan Williams saddles Buywise who has had his handicap mark preserved this season, presumably with the festival in mind. He has won twice over hurdles and also had a reasonable showing over fences in the Paddy Power handicap where he never in contention after a mistake early on but rallied well to take 5th.
He is in good form as his wins over hurdles demonstrate and I think he could come good today which would be brilliant for Williams and Paul Moloney who I think is a very underrated jockey.
Each way selection: Filbert
Philip Hobbs and Richard Johnson team up with Filbert who won comfortably at Wincanton in January. That was on heavy ground but he also has form on good ground so today’s good spring ground shouldn’t be a problem and there may well be more improvement to come from this one at an attractive price.
Buywise – 2 points each way at 9-1 with Totesport
Filbert – 1 point each way at 28-1 with Totesport