Brian Ellison’s Definitly Red landed the feature Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham on Trials Day and his stable star was cut to 25/1 with BetVictor (from 40s) for Gold Cup glory after a smooth win although it might not have been a vintage renewal of the Grade 2 contest. The event has not thrown up the winner of the Gold Cup itself since Looks Like Trouble in 2000 and I would not be rushing to take the 25s although the Gold Cup picture remains cloudy following the defeat of last year’s winner Sizing John over Christmas.
If we did see a Festival winner at the meeting, it is likely to have been the filly Apples Shakira although she remains 3/1 with BetVictor for the Triumph after a workmanlike success in the opening juvenile hurdle.
There is a valuable extended mile handicap at Wolverhampton for fillies’ and mares’ this evening and there is every chance this will be a tactical affair with no confirmed front-runner in the field. With that in mind Dellaguista (6.30) will need to be ridden closer to the pace than was the case last time when she was a fast-finishing second in search of her four-timer.
The filly has been raised another pound for that good effort and I would expect jockey Andrew Mullen will make sure that from stall one he is not too far out of his ground.
Technological (7.00) was slowly away but came to win his race at Lingfield last time before jinking right and did well to only go down by a neck from a 3lbs lower mark. That race was over ten furlongs and he steps down to an extended mile this evening. I still think he can be competitive at this trip, however, with Oisin Murphy taking over in the plate for Newmarket handler George Margerson.
At Hereford Report To Base (2.10) is hard to oppose in the Beginners’ Chase given he was first past the post at Exeter but his jockey (Adam Wedge) failed to take the third last fence and he was subsequently disqualified. Leighton Aspell takes over in the saddle today and he will be hard to beat.
There is a valuable handicap chase over the best part of three-and-a-quarter miles and Houblon Des Obeaux has to carry 12st 7lbs minus the jockey’s 3lbs claim. My two against the field are Another Venture (3.40) and Streets of Promise with marginal preference for the former who is only 3lbs higher than when scoring at Chepstow last time.
Toby Lerone won the Hunter Chase on the card in 2017 and must have every chance of following up for Dan Skelton, but a chance is taken on Loughaderra Prince (4.40) who is making his British debut for Tom George. The selection was six lengths clear when coming down at the last on his sole point in his native Ireland and won a Naas Bumper when trained by Alan Fleming. This is his first chase start over rules, but he has the scope to jump a fence and receives 8lbs from a number of today’s rivals.
At Plumpton, the mare My Dance carries a 6lbs penalty for her recent Fontwell success and the vote goes to Puppet Warrior (2.55) who is fitted with cheek-pieces for the first time as he bids to end a frustrating run of seconds given he has finished runner up in five of his seven careers starts.
Clondaw Rigger (3.55) has been raised 15lbs for winning at Hereford last time when he jumped consistently out to the left. He will obviously appreciate the return to a left-hand track and if he is over those exertions – only 13 days ago – he can follow up in this better grade.