Post-racing update: two non runners left us with £5 staked in total for a return of £7.90 (1 winner, 1 2nd, 1 loser). We go into Saturday carrying a deficit to £1 stakes of £21.32. Hopefully one or two long-time readers here will have backed Jester Jet in the first, who won the first, a non-TV race, at 20/1. I’ve tipped her two or three times but sadly deserted her today.
The favourite Global Citizen could be the Next Big Thing so impressive has he been in his last two outings. But a combination of him being very short in the market and, more importantly Irish Roe being far too big, makes me opt for the latter. Irish Roe had been in fine form until running at Newbury last time in the Betfair Hurdle where she flopped badly, running no sort of race and being pulled up. Prior to that she’d run some fine races in very good company and I think the bookies have seriously overreacted to the Newbury defeat. Every horse is entitled to an off day and Irish Roe is worth backing each way.
Irish Roe 20/1 EW Betfair, Paddy Power, Bet365
I’ve liked Terrefort a lot since first seeing him. I tipped him when 2nd at the Festival and won’t desert him here.
Terrefort 7/2 Betfair, Paddy Power
An improver like Balko Des Flos is typically a horse I’d be keen to have a few quid on. But I’m wary of his jumping style; he seems scrappy at best and downright sloppy at times and it speaks volumes for his engine that he’s achieved what he has. But these Mildmay fences just might catch him out and, at the short price, I’m not willing to take the chance. Min is another whose jumping does not convince me; he can look babyish and lanky at times. Min also needs to prove he gets this trip in a truly run race and that he’s over his Cheltenham exertions. He too is very short in the market.
I’ll take a chance with Cloudy Dream, who’s been called more names than L’Ami Serge has. But he is – touch wood – usually a fine jumper and has run really well here before. Track and ground should be fine and he is the choice.
Cloudy Dream 12/1 Betfair, Paddy Power
It’s more than 2 years since Art Mauresque raced on soft ground, a surface he’s run on just 4 time since coming from France where he won on very soft ground. He’s known now as a good ground horse and that has helped his price here. I think he might be improving and is worth taking a chance with. He ran well behind the top class Waiting Patiently when 2nd at Kempton (good to soft), then went well for a long way (arguably being made too much use of by young Cobden) over 3 miles last time when his stamina seemed to run out. Nick Scholfield, who has ridden the horse in all 6 of his UK victories takes over in the saddle. At this 20f trip he can make amends, although he’ll need plenty of luck in a field this size over the Grand National fences.
Art Mauresque 20/1 Bet365: Wm Hill
The two at the top of the market in this took part in the Albert Bartlett at the festival, a race in which there are no easy runs. They’re both pretty short here too and I’d rather go with the improving mare Roksana. The Skeltons brought her along quietly until moving her suddenly up in class to win a Grade 2 at Newbury last time, her first venture into handicap company. Her two runs before that were easyish victories at Fontwell and Plumpton, although between those two races, from a total of 19 runners have come a total of 12 wins (inc Roksana) and 7 places.
She races as though she’d prefer better ground but has won on soft and on heavy. She also looks like she still has quite a bit to learn about racing which gives me confidence that there is probably still a fair bit of improvement to come. This is a step up in trip but she stayed on well last time in soft ground and, on breeding, it shouldn’t be a problem. Her sole half-sibling, Robin Roe, showed bags of stamina to win at Aintree in 2016 (he too is a Skelton horse although he’s been out injured for some time). Her sire has a solid strike rate at around this trip.
Roksana 12/1 Bet365 Skybet Ladbrokes
In the 4.05, Skybet will pay 6 places on each way bets and in the 4.40, 4 places, and I recommend as part of today’s stakes you include a £1 EW double with that firm on Art Mauresque (16/1) and Roksana (12/1).
Enjoy the racing and don’t bet more than you can afford to lose with a smile.