Paul Nicholls’ has saddled the winner of today’s Haldon Gold Cup five times previously and the former Champion trainer can make it six this afternoon courtesy of Politilogue (2.00) who is BetVictor’s 9/4 favourite for what looks a vintage renewal of Exeter’s flagship race of the whole season.
Politilogue looked sure to land the Grade 1 Novice Chase at Aintree back in the spring until he stumbled badly after the last and fell with the race, seemingly, at his mercy. The selection had been campaigned over further than the minimum trip for much of his novice season, so todays’ extended 2m 1f trip should be ideal. Connections have suggested that Politilogue will be campaigned at many of the best two-mile Chases in the calendar this term and if that is the case, he must go close from a mark of 154.
Garde La Victoire is 8lbs better off with Sir Valentino (12/1 at BetVictor) on last year’s running when the former jumped out to the left in the home straight. Garde La Victoire (7/2 at BetVictor) ran a cracker back over timber at Auteuil last month and he will be spot on for today’s contest with that run under his belt.
The opening novice hurdle is a hot race with Silver Kayf, Just A Sting and Judge John Deed respected but the vote goes to Mance Rayder (1.00) who looked a decent prospect when scoring on his debut in a Warwick Bumper back in March. This race is often won by a decent sort, representing one of the big southern yards and Philip Hobbs, who last won the corresponding race back in 2011, trains the selection.
Only five go to post for the Novices’ Chase but it looks a fascinating contest with De Dollar Man, Elegant Escape and Ballyoptic much respected and likely to win to win their fair share of races over fences this term. The vote, however, goes to Barney Dwan (2.35) who ran some great races back over timber having been, arguably, unlucky not to win both starts over fences last season.
On his chase debut Barney Dwan all but fell at the last after stumbling on landing and on his second chase start the selection was brought down three out when travelling best. This is a top class race despite the paucity of numbers but the Fergal O’Brien charge deserves a change of fortune and gets the vote with Noel Fehily taking over in the saddle from Paddy Brennan.
Ask The Weatherman (3.05) was not beaten far in the Cheltenham Foxhunters and is held in some regard by connections. The selection looks an out-and-out stayer and even this 3m trip might be on the sharp side but he gets the narrow vote in a most informative contest.
At Fairyhouse I’m looking forward to the hurdle debut of the unbeaten Monbeg Worldwide (1.25) who has not been seen since winning his third Bumper at Naas in February. A winning pointer the Gordon Elliot-trained five-year-old is an exciting novice hurdler.
At Kempton this evening Bow Street (5.45) can make it third time lucky for Godolphin despite a draw in stall nine being less than ideal. The selection finished second in a decent Newmarket contest last time when he was just touched off by a Harry Dunlop colt who is held in some regard.