Tiger Roll may be small and bred to win a Derby rather than a Grand National but he jumped like a stag and had the heart of a lion to repel the renewed challenge of Pleasant Company. There may not have been many Irish horses at Aintree this season with Punchestown looming large on the horizon, but they still won the National, Liverpool Hurdle, Foxhunters’ and Mares’ Bumper.
Identity Thief was a facile winner of the 3m Grade 1 Hurdle and he is 12/1 for next year’s Cheltenham Stayers’ Hurdle with BetVictor behind dual Festival winner Penhill who is the 5/1 favourite.
Kelso stage a decent jumps card this afternoon on ground described as soft and I hope to see the mare Streets Of Promise (3.40) go one better than when second over a slightly longer trip at Haydock last time on heavy ground.
The selection has won over much higher marks in the past and conditions should be ideal. She gets the each way vote in a competitive and valuable contest.
Mumgos Debut has dropped to a winning mark and must go close in the 2m 1f Handicap Chase but John Williams (4.10) gets a narrow vote.
The 9-year-old has been hinting in recent starts that he would appreciate reverting to a left-handed track and he gets on very well with Rachael McDonald for Sandy Thompson whose Seeyouatmidnight travelled so well for such a long time in the National but ended up finishing 11th of the 12 finishers.
The Maiden Hunters’ Chase for the Buccleuch Cup looks fiercely competitive and I hope to see Chanceiton (4.40) reverse previous form with Diamond Brig on 7lbs better terms over this stiffer test over three-and-a-quarter miles.
Heavy ground for the first Monday fixture of the season at Windsor and it will be interesting to see if the jockey’s make a beeline for the far rail as they do so often on testing ground.
The previous winners King’s Proctor and Morning Skye carry a 7lbs penalty in the Novice Stakes and Sevenna Star (3.20) has had a wind operation since finishing runner up on good to soft ground over a mile for John Gosden back in October. The selection races as if this step up in trip will be ideal and holds an entry in both the Dante and Derby.
Silvestre De Sousa takes over on Bombero (3.50) and can race off a mark just 1lb higher than when second at Doncaster on soft ground last month. The selection won at Nottingham on heavy ground back in August and must go very close especially if getting an uncontested lead.
The champion jockey also rides Mobsta (4.20) who was slowly away and met trouble in running when fourth at Doncaster last month. The selection runs off the same mark this afternoon and has to go close if getting away on terms. Note De Sousa is 2/5 at BetVictor to retain his jockey’s title this year.
There is a good card at Leopardstown this afternoon and Gardens Of Babylon (4.00) ran with great promise when third behind stablemate James Cook on his sole juvenile start over a furlong shorter trip here back in October. The selection is 33/1 at BetVictor for the Derby and is a colt of some promise.
The Listed Heritage Stakes is the highlight and the vote goes to the filly Pannstar (5.00) who might have a fitness edge on some of the principles having ran well in a Group 3 at Naas last month.
Nine-year-old Brendan Bracken can go well fresh and will love conditions but might not be able to give the selection 8lbs first time out.