After heavy rain across Britain on Friday and Saturday, an inspection meant the meetings at Doncaster and Newbury were called off although no inspection is planned for Newbury.
In the opening 3m 1f handicap Chase at Cheltenham Dan Skelton saddles three and I feel Captain Chaos (2.00) can reward each way support at 16/1 with BetVictor who are betting each way five places. Bridget Andrews take the mount on this 8-year-old who has had a run at Wetherby and ran a very good race in the Kim Muir at the Festival back in the spring.
Quel Distin may struggle to given 4lbs to Torpillo (2.35) in the 2m Conditions Hurdle for 4-year-olds. The selection won well on his reappearance at Chepstow and connections have shelved plans to go chasing to take in this valuable event. He is likely to stay over hurdles if he runs well this afternoon. The selection is 11/4 with BetVictor.
One note of caution – he did run poorly at Cheltenham in the Fred Winter back in Match when he was too free to do himself justice. He settled much better on his reappearance and the hope is that his Festival run was just a blip.
Secret Investor was taken out of his planned reappearance at Chepstow on account of the soft ground earlier in the month and he is a likely favourite who looks vulnerable on the ground in the Novice Chase. Slate House (4.55) remains a maiden after failing to win in four starts over fences last season, but he has had another wind operation since his last run, has good course form over timber and goes well fresh.
At Chelmsford this evening Midport (7.30) returns to the track for the inform Roger Charlton for the first time since looking a potential improver over tonight’s 1m 6f trip when beaten 6l staying on over 1m 4f on his handicap debut at Salisbury. Thomas Greatrex takes off a valuable 5lbs and the 3-year-old has a good draw in stall five.
The ground was given as good at Aintree for Sunday’s terrific card, but significant rain is forecast on Saturday and I am sweet on the chances of Kalashnikov (3.00) in the Old Roan Chase. The selection is 7/4 with BetVictor and gets a stone from last year’s winner Frodon. Indeed, I feel Forest Bihan might be a bigger danger for inform Brian Ellison stepping up in trip to two-and-a-half miles for the first time.
The Veteran’s Chase is another excellent race and I hope Venetia Williams has Burtons Well (1.50) back to something like his best returning from 1 664-day lay-off. Soft ground suits this 10-year-old who has an excellent record fresh and it is well documented how much owner Trevor Hemmings likes to have winners at his local track.