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It was nice to get a good day on the board with two winners from three selections. Island Bandit did the back-to-back at Sandown and was impressive in doing so, with 8/1 looking like a steal. Shamida got home, just about, at the Curragh. They went a crawl which wouldn't have suited either of the first two, and with a stronger gallop, I'd probably say she'd have been beaten.
Bangor-on-Dee 6:05 – The Bomber Liston 11/1 (0.5pt EW)
The usual stuff for a Monday, a typical rubbish day of racing and something I wouldn't want to get heavily involved in so I've found myself back over the jumps in the best race of the day, a Class 3 chase which looks decent.
You could easily say that the favourite, Farouk De Cheneau is decent value at 2/1 as he is 3/6 over fences and has won with ease on every victory. However, after going through his replays I think his jumping is a bit sketchy, he does get from one side to another but he is a low jumper and the way his rider reacts after a fence, it looks unnatural. He is the top weight in this contest and I'm not sure his form is worth the paper it's written on so I'll be siding against him. My selection, The Bomber Liston hasn't looked a natural either, but I think he is the value play in this race, but I'll be praying for a clear round of jumping.
He was behind Any News and Pull Again Green at Uttoxeter. He was leading them until making a shuddering mistake which he was lucky not to have fallen. His confidence was shattered after that and he went backwards through the field, which was to be expected, but his jumping up until that point was good and I'd like to see Nico be positive on him again and get a clear sight of his fences, get him into a nice rhythm and I think he is a big player if managing that. This is his second try at 3m or further, he's not guaranteed to stay, but Nicky Henderson is the master trainer and he will have a good gauge of whether he'll stay. The fact he is sending him up to Bangor and Nico rides him suggests they are much more confident than what the market suggests. This isn't a regular track for both jockey and rider, but they both operate at a 26% SR when attending Bangor, so the proof is in the pudding that they don't mess around when sending a horse to the north Welsh track.
They must feel like he has the ability as a chaser as he was sent off a strong 7/4F on chase debut, which saw him depart early, but normally they get it spot on when the money arrives, especially a McManus horse.
I don't think Pull Again Green or Grey Skies are strong enough stayers at the trip. Any News has a good chance but was smoked by the favourite. Jesuitique is the dark horse in this on chase debut, but his best form has come on testing ground and his siblings like that type of surface too.
Bangor - 6:05 pm