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Juge Et Parti, yesterday's selection, looks to be in the grips of the handicapper. As he simply had no excuses yesterday, and he didn't have the gears to go with the horses in front of him. He jumped well, had his optimum ground conditions, so he clearly needs to come down in the handicap for him to get competitive again.
A lot of horses in this field have something to prove, which is why I think ROCKSTAR RONNIE is a pretty solid bet. He is in good form, even though he was fortunate to win last time out at Kempton, but there are reasons to believe that was still a good effort, and he can land the hat-trick.
If truth be told even though there appear to be some good horses in this race, I'm not totally sold on the fact that it's that competitive. At the top of the weights you have three horses who aren't in great form, other than maybe Gumball who can be excused on his latest run. Fidelio Vallis has to carry 12st 3lbs, and based on what we saw from him last time, it didn't look encouraging. Getaway Trump is a good horse on his day, but his form after his fall at Aintree at the back end of last season has resulted in some poor runs, so I get the impression that has knocked his confidence. Then you have Ashutor who is interesting on old pieces of form, which makes him dangerous to fully underestimate off his current mark of 127. However, he has shown little recently, and didn't offer much more on stable debut 25 days ago, so can be ignored, unless the money arrives. Desque De L'Isle is probably in the grips of the handicapper, as he didn't manage to land a blow off his current mark under a 10lb claimer at Sandown, so effectively he is 10lbs worse off today. Which leaves Not Available who arrives in this on the back of a win, but I'm not totally sold on the form, I think he is the main danger, but will need to better than he was last time out to beat Rockstar Ronnie.
The selection wasn't going to win last time at Kempton, but he was still running a respectable race despite that, and would've been beaten by a couple of lengths if Sebastopol stayed on his feet. On that day the selection was carrying a penalty, which meant he was giving away 6lbs to the faller, which was always going to be a tough task, considering if it was a handicap race, the selection would've been in receipt of 8lbs from that horse, so effectively he was 14lbs wrong at the weights. Sebastopol is a good horse, and he ran well to finish 2nd at Cheltenham the time before Kempton, where he finished behind Third Time Lucki, who is a good horse on his day, when given the correct ride. Now Rockstar Ronnie is in a handicap, I think his current rating of 132 makes him off high interest, and the fact he stays slightly further than 2m will come in handy in this specific race as there will be plenty of pace on offer. Hopefully, Harry Skelton won't get involved in the pace battle, as that would be suicide.