After a successful Cheltenham Festival Goonyella went and won the Midlands Grand National at Uttoxeter to continue the good form.
Today’s racing hardly keeps the pulse beating let alone the pulse racing. Newbury is the main feature for Channel 4 and they also are showing a couple from Kelso’s card.
The in-form Rebel Rebellion (13/2) looks the one to add to Paul Nicholls growing list of Saturday winners in this Handicap Chase. The ten-year-old can defy top weight to strike for a second time this calendar year. Jack Sherwood has built up a good partnership with the horse winning at Ascot in January and was second in a Veterans’ Handicap Chase behind Soll plus Sherwood is claiming 5lbs, which could be a deciding factor. He has been tried at a range of distances in recent times and has won over 2m5f; today’s trip is a furlong shorter so he has stamina if they go a strong gallop. This will be his second visit to the track and his previous run saw him finish second to Shangani over a year ago so he does have some course form, even though that was on heavy ground.
The mare Pepite Rose won this race last year for Venetia Williams and been on course to defend her crown. She has been off the boil lately and hasn’t won since winning this a year ago. Admittedly she has ran well behind Sire De Grugy and in November last year she finished fifth behind Arkle second God’s Own while in that race finished ahead of Champion Chase second Dodging Bullets. She has solid form but one to take on at the price.
Others to note include O Maonlai, who won he last month by 9l in a Novices’ Handicap Chase but today faces a 15lb penalty for that impressive success. He is one to keep in mind for the future as this looks a big step up. Persian Snow was second to Johns Spirit at Cheltenham in October of this mark and could be dangerous if repeating that run however the Hobbs yard has been out of form of late and disappointed at the Festival finishing without a winner.
Milansbar (8/1) looks like he will relish this sort of race over 3m3f. He has bags of stamina and Neil King’s horse for me is the one to beat as the step-up in trip is something that should suit very nicely. He was third in a Grade 2 at Haydock last time out in a race where he was ridden prominently behind the winner Closing Ceremony and stayed on strongly for third after looking outpaced on the home turn. The better ground today should benefit him and is definitely a contender after being dropped 2lbs for that effort. Prior o that he won on heavy ground at Uttoxeter very easily and was beaten by Barafundle, who won over fences last weekend at the Midlands National meeting at Uttoxeter.
Spookydooky goes for the hat-trik for Jonjo O’Neill however at the price isn’t one that I would consider especially looking at his form, which doesn’t look particularly strong despite his previous two wins at Southwell and Doncaster. Desilvano was third behind Spookydooky and has 3lb claimer James Banks on-board and could well reverse that form in his second Handicap Hurdle. Ballly Beaufort looks well bred and is another that the step-up in trip should suit. However he will have to reverse his form with Desilvano, who beat him in December at Ascot. His victory last time out at Chepstow was less than convincing but battled back bravely to win after looking to have idled and tired out in-front. Again the better ground should help.
4:05 Gowran Park
I rarely take a trip across the Irish Sea for selections but Domesday Book (7/2) caught my eye. He was well beaten finishing last of six behind Douvan at Punchestown in January. However looking at the Novice Hurdle race he won at Navan suggests he is the prospect of this race. He beat Gordon Elliott’s Fort Smith that day, which in his next outing was third to Neptune Hurdle winner Windsor Park. In this the Henry de Bromhead five-year-old should be able to set the tempo, which would mean he could set the race up nicely for himself.
Four-year-old Scooping hasn’t been since winning a three-year-old Hurdle last November and is one to watch with 3lb claimer Conor Maxwell on-board. Killer Crow for Willie Mullins has disappointed in his last two outings but one of those was a Grade 1, prior to those he looked a solid enough horse despite coming up against little as his starting odds suggest. Blair Perrone upset Silver Concorde in one of his successes and has been in Graded territory in his last two runs in which Douvan and Nichols Canyon won so he can be forgiven and comes here with claims.