NEW Year’s Day was a real disappointment with Cheltenham and Exeter falling foul of the weather.
However, it looks like Sandown and Ayr will go ahead on the 2nd and there is plenty of good racing to enjoy including the Tolworth Hurdle and the final of the Veterans series with lots of old friends making an appearance.
I can keep this simple: IBLEO was ten lengths clear of the rest when he was 2nd to my old pal Sky Pirate last time out and has only gone up 3lb in the weights. It will take a good horse to beat him here based on that form and 2/1 seems more than a fair price.
There isn’t as much strength in depth as you might expect from this year’s Tolworth Hurdle and I think that GALICE MACALO can take advantage of her useful mare’s weight allowance. She ran a close second in a competitive handicap against older rivals last time out and looks capable of going one better here. She is the clear value pick for me when compared to the favourite.
I can make a case for plenty of these and given their age most have various pieces of form that you can point to in support. Of course there will also be plenty of these that some of us have followed off a cliff in the past. The one that I like though is the least experienced of them all, having only had 5 chase runs to date. STRONG PURSUIT has clearly had issues of some sort over the years but arrives here in decent form and gets the benefit of a change in the weights from last time when he was 3rd to Potters Legend, another one that has a strong chance. The conditions should suit Strong Pursuit and he looks a good each way shout in a wide open race. Another one worth a shout although a bit riskier is Seeyouatmidnight who is very well handicapped on his best form and needed his first run of the season last season before winning next time. William Hill and SkyBet are both paying 6 places so make sure you take advantage of that. I’m taking the 8-1 with Hills and 6 places on Strong Pursuit rather than 9-1 and 4 places elsewhere.
In this race I am very interested in Strong Economy who relished the step up to 3 miles last time and can improve again but I am waiting on the prices to settle down once Late Romantic (presumably) comes out of the race for his first preference which is the veterans’ chase at Sandown. I’ll update later on Twitter if I think Strong Economy is worth a punt.