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WE'RE back with a bang after the worrying shutdown last week due to equine influenza and we have an absolute feast of top class racing today as a result.
I have 6 selections today so I'll not waste any more time with pleasantries.
TOP VILLE BEN looks to have stronger form than Mister Malarky and Now McGinty who are his two main rivals. I think he has been overpriced in the market perhaps partly as a result of being trained by Philip Kirby who isn't as big a name as Colin Tizzard (Mister Malarky).
Top Ville Ben can also front run so he won't have to worry about this small field race becoming a tactical affair.
BLACK CORTON is a cracking horse and appears to have been underestimated again here today. He will really enjoy this test today having been a course and distance winner and he looks like a very obvious winner to me in a race where perhaps only Reikers Island is an alternative who is in form and potentially improving.
2.30 Gowran Park
This race was supposed to be a chance to see my beloved Presenting Percy but he is mysteriously now a non-runner. In his absence punters seem to have latched on to Killultagh Vic as the alternative to new favourite Monalee.
The one that is being overlooked is ANIBALE FLY. An absolute class act who was placed in both the Gold Cup and Grand National last year, you would think he would want slightly more of a stamina test than this but he has form at this distance. Crucially today he gets 7lb weight allowance from the other two that I mentioned and I think he should be nearly favourite rather than a juicy 5-1.
Now that the Grand National weights are announced and locked in he needn't worry about getting a hefty bump from the handicapper for winning.
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This isn't particularly imaginative but SCEAU ROYAL wins this and wins it easy in my book. Darryl Jacob has come to Wincanton today to ride the horse rather than take up other options at Ascot or Haydock and he clearly thinks a lot of this horse.
They are aiming him at the Champion Chase but he can take this hurdles race on his way there.
The Grand National weights were announced this week and RED INFANTRY is one with an entry. He is a course and distance winner here and I think we will see his very best today as connections look for signs that he can be a Grand National contender for them.
Each time he has tackled marathon trips he has looked very good to me and I think he will go very close today at a double figure price. I should also add that he is trained by one of the best in the business in the shape of Ian Williams.
There are higher rated horses in the race than ASO, most notably Waiting Patiently, Fox Norton and Politologue but they aren't miles ahead on ratings and are any of them in form as good as ASO's form?
He won his last race looking like a really good horse and although this is a big step up in terms of class he is the one horse in the field who could do it. The price is far too big and it's just a shame that there aren't 8 runners or we would be looking at a lovely each way bet.