The low sun prevented the three fences from being jumped in the home straight at Aintree on Sunday on ground that was no worse than good to soft. No rain at Bangor-on-Dee Sunday, Monday or forecast for Tuesday but today’s meeting was abandoned in north Wales on Monday morning. Funny old game.
As well as the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby this weekend we have the two-day Breeders’ Cup meeting in Santa Anita and, at first glance, it is unlikely to be as profitable for British raiders as has often been the case with the recent Arc and Champions Day meetings having taken place on testing ground.
One horse I am interested this weekend is Old Persian – 4/1 at BetVictor – who won a Grade 1 in Canada last time, despite being slowly away. Charlie Appleby’s four-year-old cannot afford to be as tardy from the boxes in this stronger race.
There is a good card at Chepstow this afternoon and if there is market support for Apollo Creed in the Novices’ Handicap Chase, I suggest we follow the money given he was a novice hurdler who I always thought would make a superior chaser for Evan Williams. He is returning from a 569-day break, but the yard are in form and, if it is not today, he is one I believe we should stay on the right side of this term.
The each way vote, however, goes to La Casva Nostra (1.45) who is making his handicap debut for Neil Mulholland from what looks an attractive mark. The selection was a dual winning pointer in his native Ireland and connections will be disappointed if a mark of 108 was the summit of his ability.
Arrivederci (2.20) looked ready for a step up in trip when third at Warwick on good ground on his hurdles debut and today’s deeper ground will suit, given he won his Bumper at Hereford on soft ground.
I remember Oliver Sherwood being shell-shocked when Severano was beaten over two miles here last season and it is too early to give up on the six-year-old who remains highly thought of by the yard. Fado Des Brosses cost connections £200,000 after he won a point back in February and is another Evan Williams’ trained runner for whom a market move would be significant.
Truckers Lodge looks sure to come on for his reappearance when fourth over C&D but beaten a long way – albeit in a better race than todays. I hope he helps make the market, however, for Finawn Bawn (3.25) who gets the vote for Olly Murphy in what promises to be a most informative Beginners Chase.
The selection finished third in a Grade 3 Novice Hurdle over 2m 5f at Warwick but has the scope to make up into a better staying chaser. He would be receiving 7lbs from Truckers Lodge is this were a handicap hurdle, but he is taken to improve past the Paul Nicholls-trained runner for the switch to fences.
I hope it is a good day for Murphy as Linelee King (4.30) can land the concluding Bumper. The selection cost £180,000 after winning a four-runner Bumper in Ireland and this grey should have the necessary pace for his Rules debut.
They go on the flat at Catterick and Cornerstone Lad (2.35) looks very well treated on the level when you consider his hurdles form. He was too keen when losing out to a stablemate at Carlisle when last seen at the end of May but can race from the same mark today. He is likely to need a true test on this sharper track but gets the vote, although he remains a maiden on the level.