Prolonged rain is forecast to hit the track from early Saturday morning and the ground looks likely to come up testing. That will favour Domain De L’Isle, a winner on heavy at Ascot in January when he had last year’s winner of this race, Happy Diva, ten lengths back in fourth.
He is only 4lb worse off with that rival and warmed up for this major prize with a spin over hurdles. Trainer Sean Curran saddled an across the card double on Thursday at odds of 20-1 and 10-1, and the layers may have underestimated his chances. The gelding can be backed at 50-1, six places ew with William Hill.
Soft ground will also benefit Simply The Betts, a dual course winner, and he is closely matched with Happy Diva on their running at the festival in March. With 17 runners declared there are multiple horses with chances and the ante-post market points to Saint Sonnet and Mister Fisher proving popular.
CAPTAIN TOM CAT (3.25) hosed up here under 7lb conditional jockey Cillan Leonard just over three weeks ago and a follow up is on the cards in the 2m 5f handicap hurdle. The fly in the ointment may be the testing ground as all three career victories have come on good. That is a risk worth taking, with progressive Captain Tom Cat remaining at the right end of the weights.
ELLE EST BELLE (3.55) cruised through her race under Harry Skelton before putting five rivals to the sword at Aintree (soft). She looks the one to beat in a more competitive mares’ bumper.
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