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Impervious was a winning selection yesterday, tipped and went off at odds of 7/2. She looks a nice recruit for Colm Murphy who doesn't have many classy horses, so I'm sure he is chuffed to bits with that performance yesterday. Her jumping wasn't all that great, especially the third and second from home, but she has a very good engine, and she pulled clear after jumping the last.
Musselburgh is expecting get anywhere between 12-20mm of rain, and if that is the case then the ground will become increasingly testing and will make it a real stamina test. With that being said, I don't think that will suit a lot of the horses in this race, but it will definitely make the chances of DINO BOY a lot better.
Before his most recent start at Carlisle, you would have said that this trip is far too short for Dino Boy, but his good effort over 2m 4f where he finished a nose second on good ground, proved the doubters wrong. He might've been a bit fortunate to finish at close as he did eight days ago, but I think the form of that race could prove to be quite good with the winner doing it well on his chase debut, and I can see him following up. This horse was seen to good effect over the 4m trips last year, as he won the Kelso Border National race and then went on to finish 2nd in the Edinburgh National Chase, so stamina is definitely up his street, which is why the conditions of today's race could set it up perfectly for him.
Gaeilk Coast and Marracudja comes into this race at the ‘class' horses, but I don't think today's conditions will suit either of them. Gaeilk Coast clearly has the best recent form, finishing 2nd to Whoshotthesheriff which produced an RPR of 142, and he has some good form from the latter stages of last season. I think both are better over shorter, and better ground. The former will stay better, as he is a PTP winner and is proven at this trip, but off top weight I don't think it will be what he wants. He beat Getaway Trump last year over 2m 4f on soft ground, and I don't really rate that form. Getaway Trump is a talented horse, but he isn't a 2m 4f horse, he is definitely a minimum trip type so the fact he was only beat by 4.75 lengths doesn't stand out to me. Marracudja has and will more than likely always be a 2m horse and needs good ground. As for the rest, Slanelough will set the pace and the faster he goes the better for the selection. Elmono has to prove he's still in love with the game as his form has gone out the window recently and Cedar Hill looks to prefer shorter as well.
A horse who could be overlooked in the market, and definitely shouldn't, is THE KING OF MAY. In my opinion, this horse looks well treated off a mark of 128 based on what we saw from him last season. He ran some cracking races on soft ground but didn't manage to get his head in front, but was behind some nice types.
Since going chasing he has won two from his eight attempts, but has been placed as extra four times. His run on seasonal reappearance last year at Newbury was a good effort where he finished 2nd to Phillip Hobbs' Zanza. In behind him that day was Hatcher who went on to win three times during the summer. He then finished 3rd behind First Flow at Wetherby. He was running off 10st that day, but finsihed 0.75 lengths behind the winner, who has since gone on and won a Grade 1. Some Reign who re-opposes the selection today was 50+ lengths behind in last place. The selection then went on to finish 2nd again at Wetherby and the form of that race has worked out well with the horses who fell coming out and winning since. He was then tried in some better races which definitely didn't suit, but he wasn't totally disgraced lto over a trip which is too long (2m 3f), so this drop back in trip is what he needs.
The time away from the track shouldn't be seen to be a negative as he has ran well when fresh before, winning three times and finishing runner-up.
Similar to the first selection's race, I don't think the horses in this race would want this testing ground. Return Ticket is in good form, but has been a non-runner on soft ground before, and has done the winning on good ground. Some Reign, who I have already mentioned, handles the soft ground, but appears to be better on a sounder surface, and was convincingly behind The King Of May when they met. I'd rate Gold Des Bois to run a nice race, and I think he will be the main threat after a couple of good runs so far this season.
Miranda looks like the one they all have to beat in this race, but her odds are probably a bit too slim for me, and the horse who offers value in this race is HER INDOORS.
I've been told that Miranda has been targeted at this race by Paul Nicholl's and they're happy with the horse, even though they didn't manage to get a prep run into her. She will appreciate the ground if the rain comes, but based on conflicting weather reports, there is a strong chance that the ground will probably remain as good-to-soft, and I don't think it'll be bottomless. However, if it does, then Her Indoors will be perfectly fine, as it's apparent that she handles any going, after winning on good and winning on soft in her first season as a hurdler.
The selection has been a progressive horse for Alan King, and is already a Class 1 Listed and Grade 3 winner, after winning at the Cheltenham April meeting and a Doncaster Mares Juvenile Listed race back in January. On both of those occasions it was clear to see that she has bags of stamina at this trip, so a good pace will be helpful, as she will be picking them off when they begin to tire. She is still a 4yo, and I think there is plenty more to come from this horse, who looks to have bags of potential. Similar to Miranda, I think this race has been a plan in the making for some time as Alan King said she would run over the flat this summer, but they've kept her away and used a flat run three weeks ago as a pipe opener for this race, to blow away the cobwebs and have her fit and ready.
For the others, Molly Ollys Wishes is a nice horse, but she should need further than this, as she has previously won over 3m, so I can't see her having the speed to cope. Fiveandtwenty will be the pace angle, so hopefully she sets a good pace, which I think she will as she can be a free going sort and can take a pull. She was behind Her Indoors in April, so it will be a shock to see a swing in that form. Marie's Rock needs to bounce back to form after a couple of poor runs, and Zambella looks better as a chaser these days, and it looks a nice prep run for something over fences in not too distant future.
This is a bit of a punt, and I do expect him to be a big drifter in the market, but REAL STEEL is still a useful horse, and can make his mark felt off 150.
This is a quality handicap, and horses will have been aimed at this due to the prize money on offer (£56,950), and I think that could be the case for Real Steel. Even though he has won when fresh when being trained by Willie Mullins', the Nicholl's yard clearly felt like they needed to get a run into him, and it was clear as daylight that they weren't trying last time out at Chepstow. If you watch it back, Harry Cobden was perfecetly fine with letting the horse drift through the field, and was using it for a fitness run. To my eye he never whipped the horse, and he made him finish his race instead of pulling him up, which is normally what you see when a horse is as detached as he was (57 lengths). He was dropped 4lbs for that, which is nice from the handicapper, as it puts him on a very dangerous mark based on his older form.
When trained by Willie Mullins' this lad was a bit of a weapon. He beat Footpad in a Grade 2, winning by 14 lengths, which produced an RPR of 166 and at the time he was rated 160. He then turned up to the Cheltenham Gold Cup, where he was absolutely cruising round the outside under Brian Hughes, and looked to play a big part, until he got tired after jumping the last, but he still finished 7.25 lengths behind the winner, Al Boum Photo. Since moving to Paul Nicholl's he has been disappointing, like a lot of the Sullivan Bloodstock horses have been, so it's not a surprise, but he did seem to enjoy his time at Ascot on stable debut, where he ran to a level of 161 according to the Racing Post, finishing behind some nice horses in Itchy Feet and Imperial Aura. People will still probably question whether he stays 3m, but based on his Gold Cup run you'd have to say he does, as that trip at the pace they go in that race will find you out if you don't stay, and he was pitching and swinging until jumping the last.
Lorcan Williams takes the ride and takes a handy 3lbs, so effectively he is running off 147 and 11st 1lbs.