News late on Monday that leading Ryanair Chase contender Fox Norton misses the rest of the season which is a blow for the Tizzard’s and the Potts’ family. I wonder if his injury influenced the decision made by the connections of stablemate Cue Card to swerve another crack at the Gold Cup and run in the Ryanair instead?
Last year’s Ryanair winner Un De Sceaux is now 2/1 from (5/2) with BetVictor for back-to-back wins in the race with Waiting Patiently 5/2 and Cue Card 10/1. I really do think the latter represents the each way value with his recent Ascot conqueror Waiting Patiently not guaranteed to line up with connections considering bypassing Cheltenham for a crack at the Melling Chase at Aintree the following month.
They are due to race at Wolverhampton this afternoon and King Kevin was no match for Regicide over a mile-and-a-half at Lingfield last time despite meeting trouble in running. Ed Dunlop’s four-year-old is a dual C&D winner so today’s drop back in trip is no concern, but he is 10lbs worse off with Perceived (3.20) for the three quarters of a length she was behind the Dunlop runner over C&D last month.
The selection has not yet won on an all-weather surface but connections look to have found an excellent opportunity although I would want a true gallop, which is not guaranteed.
Sunshineandbubbles looks to be crying out for a step back up in trip having been getting going too late over-nine-and-a-half furlongs on her recent starts. The mare has never won at 10f or further, however, and preference is for Compatriot (3.50) who looked well ahead of the handicapper when scoring on his first start for Olly Murphy under Lisa O’Neill in an amateur riders’ event last week.
Murphy used to be assistant to Gordon Elliot in Ireland, which is where he was first made aware of O’Neill’s considerable riding talents. The hope is that Jamie Spencer can follow up under a 6lbs penalty.
Nautical Haven (4.25) has finished runner up in all four AW starts and Kevin Ryan applies cheek-pieces for the first time on his 4-y-old today. He certainly deserves to get his head in front but he has been beaten off this mark on his last two starts and is overlooked. A chance is taken on Rose Berry (4.25) reunited with Josie Gordon.
The filly won on her second start following a break on turf back in May and was off the course almost three months before beating one home over 7f – raced wide – at Kempton earlier in the month. The filly has only won at the minimum trip but has run some good races over 6f and gets the each way vote.
Dubai Acclaim (4.55) was only collared inside the final furlong when trying to make all over 7f at Newcastle last time and today’s drop back in trip will suit the Richard Fahey-trained colt in the six-furlong Maiden. The booking of Jamie Spencer for Vj Day is significant and it should be noted that Kevin Ryan’s gelding went off favourite for a valuable 6f Maiden at York’s Dante meeting in May – he has been gelded since his last run.