Randox Health Grand National favourite Blaklion will face seven rivals in Haydock’s National Trial on Saturday and the Becher Chase winner is BetVictor’s 9/4 market leader with other possible National contenders The Dutchman (4/1) and Wild West Wind (7/1).
They race at Sandown Park on forecast heavy ground this afternoon but it is likely to be tacky and extremely holding.
Gassin Golf (1.20) could hardly be called a winning machine (1-24) over hurdles but he has run well here in the past and a repetition of his third over C&D behind two progressive rivals last month would give him every chance.
The selection carries 12st 1lb minus his jockey’s 3lbs claim but the majority of the principles also carry a big weight and Kerry Lee’s nine-year-old gets the each way vote.
The Grade 2 Mares Novices’ Hurdle is as competitive as ever with connections looking for black type for breeding purposes. Midnight Tune (2.25) disappointed over 3m at Ascot last time but this drop back in trip should suit Anthony Honeyball’s seven-year-old who can make a bold bid from the front.
The Royal Artillery Gold Cup is a personal favourite and the Paul Nicholls-trained Orbassa must go close but stamina remains an issue over this stiff three miles and a chance is taken on Midnight Monty (3.00) having just his second start for Jamie Snowden.
The selection was a staying on second at Market Rasen over 2m 5f last month and has won over an extended three miles over hurdles back in April.
Aubusson must go close in the 3m Handicap Chase but Step Back (4.05) would surely have won at Chepstow last time had he not jumped continually out to his right. Today’s track should be ideal and this dual winning pointer could have been let in off a decent opening handicap mark.
The form of the Mark Bradstock yard was a concern but they had a welcome winner at Fontwell yesterday. This inmate was well punted two weeks ago and it will be interesting to see if connections try to recoup losses this afternoon.
Herewego Herewego needs a sounder surface to be seen at his best but he is one to be on the right side of going forward. That said Broken Quest (4.35) would be carrying 11lbs more if this race were to be run 24 hours later and this recent Kempton winner is hard to oppose.
At Fakenham, Dashing Perk (2.45) must give 13lbs to Whiskey In The Jar but I thought the selection ran a cracker at Sandown last time travelling like the best horse in the race before failing to get home over three miles. This drop back in trip will suit and he will certainly give the likely market leader plenty to think about.
The class act on view is Rather Be (2.10) but he has to put behind an early fall at Plumpton last month when reported to have burst a blood vessel. The selection impressed when making all on his chase debut at Towcester and will get further in time but connections look to have found a good opportunity.
Chingachgook is a fascinating contender in the Mile handicap at Newcastle this evening and a market move would be worth noting but Ode To Autumn (7.15) thrived for the switch to Tapeta when scoring over C&D last month and can follow up.