I have some big fat prices for you today in the hope at least one of them can have us cheering.
A very difficult race in which to be confident about anything, not least because some of these are not always fluent jumpers. King’s Odyssey was travelling well last year in this when falling at the 12th. He ran a couple of uncharacteristically poor races after that (not travelling in them) and his trainer thinks his confidence suffered from that fall here.
But he travelled with his old elan last time until fitness told over what was probably too short a trip although he kept on admirably enough given it was his seasonal debut. He’s not without his quirks and can drift off a straight line late but I’ll go with him for this having considered three or four others. One I’d like to have had a bit more evidence for is Guitar Pete who looked an improving horse at Wetherby two runs ago before being almost brought down at the first at Cheltenham last time, ruining all chance. I wouldn’t be surprised if he runs a big race.
King’s Odyssey 15/2
Some highly regarded horses here but I’m going to go with Aye Aye Charlie, a horse I noticed staying on at Aintree behind the very talented On The Blind Side. He opposed that horse again at Cheltenham last time when coming down three out. He was 40/1 that day and had yet to be asked a serious question. On breeding – trip and ground – he’ll be better suited to this test tomorrow than any of his rivals. Whether that is enough to win, I don’t know but at 18/1 (Stan James), I’m happy to pay to find out.
Aye Aye Charlie 18/1
A cracking race but I haven’t the faintest idea what might win it. Melon has probably been something of a disappointment to his yard given how widely he was touted before even seeing a racecourse. But he could win this. The New One always runs an honest race and is aiming to win this for the 4th time, which he might well do.
Mt Tent Or Yours is vey classy but has not won for almost 4 years.
Old Guard is bang in form but this is just a step too far in class and I’m hoping that they move him up in trip after this.
I’ll have a very small bet on John Constable whose trainer insists he is a summer horse and must have good ground. In that case, why run him here? Despite what the trainer says, John Constable has won on soft ground. His jockey Davy Russell is a master of energy conservation. The horse improved vastly in the spring/summer, running a stone better than he ever had. It could be a mistake to put that down to sunshine and good going.
John Constable 22/1
I’m going with Graceful Legend here as I think she’s improving and Max Kendrick, who claims 7lbs, gets on well with her. She caught my eye when I was looking at the last race at Cheltenham on Friday for a selection. One of the two I picked was Jester Jet who’d been second to Graceful Legend at Ascot. He followed that up with a win and he ran a good race to be just pipped for 2nd here yesterday.
Graceful Legend 14/1
Braquer D’Or is very much the one to beat in this disappointingly small field. The Nicholls horse has kept better company than this and his Topspeed figures are some way in excess of the those achieved by the others. The talented Bryony Frost rides
Braquer D’Or is a standout 11/4 with the online bookie Black Type.
We Have a Dream looked a really exciting recruit from France when winning on his UK debut at Warwick. He led all the way and a squeeze from the knees of Daryl Jacob after the last saw him cruise clear in very classy style. It wasn’t, on the face of it, as strong a race as that won by Act of Valour, his main betting rival today, but the 2nd and 3rd have won since.
We Have A Dream 5/4
Virgilio’s chase career had been progressing well enough in races on good ground over staying trips, so it could be worth forgiving him his last run, a disappointing effort over 2m 4f on soft ground. He has his ground and trip again here and hopefully can return to winning ways.
Enjoy the racing, and don’t bet more than you can afford to lose with smile.