Warwick’s Classic Handicap Chase was won a couple of years ago by Lucinda Russell’s One For Arthur who went on to Aintree glory in the Grand National three months later. Thirteen will go to post later today for this year’s renewal and my two against the field are Calett Mad (7/1 with BetVictor) and Duel At Dawn (3.00) who is also priced at 7/1 with BetVictor who are paying each way four places (1/5th odds) on the race.
Calett Mad ran a cracking race when runner up under the steadier of 11st 12lbs at Kelso in the Borders National last time and he must go very close this afternoon despite a 5lbs rise. Marginal preference, however, goes to the Alex Hales trained nine-year-old who ran as if in need of the run when down the field at Haydock on his reappearance (2lbs lower today). Today’s better ground should suit, and I remember the selection running a cracking race on this card 12 months ago when runner up to Ms Parfois. The winner has certainly franked the form in the interim period and I hope to see the real Duel At Dawn this afternoon.
Rocky’s Treasure is a bold jumping front-runner who stays well and clocked a fast time when scoring at Doncaster last time – he will be tough to pass in the listed 3m Novices’ Chase. He is priced at 11/10 with BetVictor, however, and that looks plenty short enough given he must give 5lbs to three talented rivals including Secret Investor (1.50) who was no match for Bags Groove on his chase debut at Wincanton over 2m 4f.
The selection jumped slightly out to the left at the Somerset track and he looked as if this step up in trip would suit. The selection is 5/1 with BetVictor and represents the yard of Paul Nicholls who saddled the winner of this corresponding race back in 2013 with Rocky Creek.
Nicky Henderson should know where he stands with the Philip Hobbs’ trained Tidal Flow (2.25) who has beaten Henderson’s Before Midnight (Kempton) and Downtown Getaway (weight and a beating at Newbury) already this term. The Lambourn handler bids for revenge with BetVictor’s 13/8 favourite Birchdale this afternoon but I was taken with the manner of the win of Tidal Flow (5/2 with BetVictor) and feel he can land his hat-trick in the Grade 2 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle.
Mercian Prince is only 2lbs higher than when winning the 2m4f handicap chase at Kempton on today’s card 12 months ago, but he has run poorly in his two starts so far this term and is best watched unless the market speaks in his favour.
The vote goes to Amour De Nuit (1.30) who has won three of his five chases and has Lorcan Williams in the plate taking off a valuable 5lbs. The selection was beaten at odds on at Leicester last time, but he is 2 from 2 at Kempton and is taken to get back to winning ways.
The Listed 32Red Casino Chase is a tremendous contest with Charbel (2.05) and Top Notch going head-to-head with preference for the former who I hope does not get embroiled in a battle for the lead with the admirable Black Corton who may find this (2m 4f) trip on the sharp side.
The selection is 13/8 with BetVictor and just gets the nod over Top Notch who will have his optimum conditions and will look to pick up the pieces if Charbel and Black Corton cut each other’s throats.
I hope to see Kloud Gate run a big race in the Lanzarote Hurdle, but I hope Darling Maltaix (2.40) will have the race run to suit – needs true run race – and at 7/1 with BetVictor – each way 4 places – I would be disappointed if he didn’t make the frame in one of the most competitive handicaps of the season.
The most valuable race of the day is the BetVictor Dan Moore Memorial Handicap Chase at Fairyhouse and I hope to see Kildorrery (2.10) ridden a bit more prominently and aggressively with Ruby Walsh a significant booking for his Father Ted. The selection is 11/2 with BetVictor and is an each way recommendation.