Four on ITV4 to warm us up for what looks a promising weekend.
I can’t understand how Viking Mistress is available at 20/1 here with the champion jockey on board. She’s no world beater but had a progressive profile until disappointing last time when favourite. This is an open looking mare’s handicap chase and I’m more than happy to forgive Viking Mistress that bad run (every horse should be forgiven the odd poor run, so long as it is not in a recognisable pattern).
Viking Mistress 20/1 (Betvictor)
Most of these have question marks of various sizes but one who looks straightforward and promising is Wotzizname. As trainer Fry points out, there’ll be many more competitive Grade 3 steeplechases run than this and Wotzizname has a fine chance of picking it up.
He seemed to idle in front when winning at Exeter last time but the way he jumped the last suggested he had quite a bit left.
I love watching these cross country races and I’m surprised so many diehard fans dislike them. They can be a good betting medium too as horses who take to them tend to run well time after time. It’s the cross country debutants who can muddy the betting waters; you simply don’t know how they’ll react, so different are the fences from conventional birch jumps.
If More of That ran to his best he’d win this. He has a touch of class but has been bedevilled by breathing problems and has had several wind ops, none of which has seemed effective for any length of time (two tie-backs reportedly broke in quick succession). So betting him would be chancing his breathing and the likelihood of him taking to the fences.
Tiger Roll is another who has buckets of talent on his day, He won the four-miler at the festival in March but he’s pulled up twice in his last three runs with what could well have been temperament issues. Maybe trainer Elliott is hoping to scare him back into life over these unfamiliar obstacles. He’s prone to tripping over his own feet too – a frequent mistake-maker. All in all, he’s not worth chancing.
I’m happy to give Kingswell Theatre the chance to follow up his win here last month. He’s one of the youngest in the field and the key might well be front-running with him. Expect to see Scudamore try to make all.
Kingswell Theatre 5/1
There are a couple of improving horses here and I’ll probably split stakes and back both.
At Market Rasen last time, Arthur’s Gift very gamely overturned previous form with Psychedelic Rock who had beaten him at Worcester. He has a fine attitude and really sticks his neck out. His rider Tom Humphries who claims 7lbs has won on him last twice although the horse has looked a touch bemused at the boy’s very busy style. I have a slight concern about that affecting his jumping and young Humphries might want to just sit a bit more quiet approaching a hurdle.
The other I like here – and if pressed would, at the price, be my single choice – is Jester Jet. The most notable feature from his last win (Plumpton) was his rider Robbie Dunne, on realising the horse was pulling easily clear, trying not to win too far. Jester Jet was most convincing that day and while this is a rise in class, he won’t be far away. He has a penalty for that last victory and is due to go up 4lbs.
Arthur’s Gift 11/2: Jester Jet 14/1
Enjoy the racing, and don’t bet more than you can afford to lose with smile.