VINTAGE CLOUDS (3.00) can prove the pick of an impressive field assembled for the feature Class 2 Handicap Chase at Kelso.
Sue Smith’s popular grey has a tremendous record when fresh. He returned from a 190-day absence when thumping Lovely Job 18 lengths at Aintree in October 2017 and was off the track for 217 days before inflicting a defeat on Takingrisks at Haydock in November 2018.
Vintage Clouds was given another ‘holiday’ in the build up to the Cheltenham festival and almost defied a 75-day break when finding only Beware The Bear too strong in the 24-runner Ultima Handicap Chase.
Sharp Response is not written off as the Smith-trained ‘second string’ and the betting market may prove significant.
Top weight Blue Flight was a credit to his Scottish owners last season, with the dual Kelso scorer taking the notable scalp of Black Corton here in early March.
Blue Flight has consequently shot up the handicap and was raised a further 3lb on the back of his excellent fourth to Takingrisks in the Scottish Grand National. The six-year-old could be in for another sterling campaign but undoubtedly it will be tougher off this lofty mark.
Kim Bailey’s Dandy Dan must have every chance of repeating last season’s success in this event when left clear by the fall two out of Sue Smith’s I Just Know, while Amalfi Doug has earned a crack at this decent prize on the back of a successful summer campaign at Perth.
Aintree Grand National hero One For Arthur attempts to prove he is no longer a back-number and his many fans will be hoping for an enthusiastic return to action.
TROUBADOR (1.45) has been a model of consistency for Michael Dods and looks sure to make a bold bid to land Doncaster’s Listed contest over six furlongs.
He had Aberama Gold well held in fourth when chasing home Summer Sands in the Redcar Two Year Old Trophy (heavy) and is better off at the weights, with Aberama Gold penalised for scooping a similar Listed event at York last time.
Aberama Gold did well to finish fourth from a bad draw at Redcar and is clearly in top form, but the bigger threat to Troubador may emerge from Tim Easterby’s Art Power, a most impressive five lengths winner at York over five furlongs.
With 19 runners declared for the 5f Doncaster Cup, punters will be treading warily. TARBOOSH (4.00) attempts to repeat last year’s success from a one-pound higher mark and he could hardly arrive here in better form.
Paul Midgley’s gelding added to his recent Beverley success by hosing up at Musselburgh last time on soft ground and should be in the thick of the action.
TORPILLO (2.35) was so impressive at Chepstow 15 days ago that he can defy a hefty 11lb rise on day two at Cheltenham.
The track was riding deep at the Welsh track so any more rain should further boost his chance. Quel Destin, a five-time winner last season for Paul Nicholls, scored here last November and is sure to prove popular.
Peter Fahey’s Soviet Pimpernel could be the one to beat in receipt of weight. He beat a useful bumper sort in The Little Yank at Listowel and again looked smart when scoring on his hurdling debut at Gowran Park.
CAPTAIN TOMMY (3.45) is of interest in the Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle over three miles. After winning fairly modest events at Wincanton and Fontwell, Captain Tommy ran into a smart sort at Perth in April when no match for Go Another One.
He is pitched in quite deep for his handicap debut but is worth risking.
Northern raider Aye Right has done his winning at Ayr and Kelso but didn’t fare badly on his only previous visit to Cheltenham when running sixth to Speedo Boy last November.
That 2m 5f trip was just on the sharp side and his stamina should kick in up the hill.
New to horse racing? Check out our horse racing abbreviations guide as well as racebets for a fantastic welcome offer.