Betting Strategy: 5 Backs & 1 Lay
Weather: Overcast, chance of a shower (5mm maximum). Max temperature 10C.
Going: Good to Soft (advance)
Racing on the old course as on Day 1. Reports from those who walked the track today suggests that the going report was accurate for Tuesday but we can expect to ride a degree quicker on the second day after which racing will switch to the new course which follows a similar line but uses virgin turf.
Thursday sees a couple of so-called bankers with Yanworth representing the UK for an Irish owner in the Neptune which kicks the card off, Un de Sceaux is odds on to land the Queen Mother Champion Chase, in which the last three winners of this prestigious prize line up to take him on. One of the most anticipated clashes of the week comes in the RSA Chase in which punters have struggled to choose between More of That and No More Heroes all year.
*All times AEDT
R1 Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle Grade 1 2m 5f 26y – 12:30am
Race Analysis & Key Trial Races
Yanworth has won the Kennel Gate at Ascot and the Classic at Cheltenham with the latter proving a good trial for this, as well as the Albert Bartlett with two winners of this in recent years having been placed in that event.
The Challow at Newbury is the best novice hurdle at around this trip prior to this meeting, but winner Barters Hill goes for the Albert Bartlett. The Tolworth, won by Yorkhill, is often seen as a Supreme Trial and the last winner of that and this race was Monsignor back in 2000.
10. Yanworth: Shot to the head of this market when scoring at Ascot in December from the very useful Charbel, and very impressive when beating Shantou Village in Cheltenham Grade 2 in January. Only flaw there was when he briefly shaped to duck out at the third last and there is plenty of quirkiness in his pedigree being a son of Norse Dancer. Trainer’s current form is not the greatest either and at the current price there’s little value to play with.
11. Yorkhill: An unbeaten Willie Mullins horse who easily landed a Grade 1 from subsequent winners last time. Remarkable that he’s gone under the radar to some degree, although that has largely been due to uncertainty over what race he’ll run in. This will be a likely test to Yanworth’s perseverance and the conditions suit him just fine. Value in our book anywhere larger than 3.50.
1. A Toi Phil: If Yanworth’s temperament is a worry, the same could be argued for this fella. Disappointing on his debut for the yard. Has since won well twice and jumped with great fluency when winning Leopardstown Grade 2 in January. Could be anything for all he has to improve on bare ratings. Looks worth a small interest in a race where few of the outsiders make any appeal. A bet if bigger than our 9.0 assessment.
R2 RSA Chase Grade 1 3m 80y – 1:10am
Race Analysis & Key Trial Races
The RSA has been publicised as a contest since Christmas, with More of That and No More Heroes emerging quickly as the best staying novices either side of the Irish Sea. More of That is a former World Hurdle winner who has taken both starts over fences here, while No More Heroes should probably have won last year’s Albert Bartlett which has thrown up several winners of this race. Seeyouatmidnight beat Blaklion in the Dipper at Cheltenham in January, with the latter taking the Grade 2 Towton subsequently. Vyta du Roc took the Reynoldstown at Ascot which is historically the key trial.
3. More of That: Untroubled when winning both chase starts at this venue, has not seen since December after missing two obvious engagements in run-up to this while powerful stable has been struggling. Is currently the subject of bullish home reports which will keep his price down. I’m uneasy about his chances but it’s hard to price him accurately.
4. No More Heroes: Has jumped superbly when winning all three chases to date with the last two being at the top level. It could be argued that he’s not been beaten any stars but that seems a harsh enough criticism given the style of his wins, as well as the fact he has not shied away from what should have been tough races. Would be shorter than 3.5 in our book so looks a bet, even if More of That fires.
1. Blaklion: Thoroughly likeable, but this mudlark looks just shy of top class and ran moderately the last time he encountered good ground. Would be several points bigger than current 12.0 and looks value to lay for a place with so many of similar standard in opposition.
5. Roi des Francs: Third when strongly fancied in Martin Pipe at this meeting a year ago and therefore comes similar route as same connections 2015 winner Don Poli. Looks a better chaser than hurdler already beating better-fancied stablemate Pont Alexandre completely on merit last time and would be around 9.0 our assessed price. Marginal value at present but may drift as he looks owner’s second string on paper. Worth considering.
R3 Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle Grade 3 2m 5f 26y – 1:50am
Race Analysis & Key Trial Races
As competitive a handicap you could imagine. The only reliable prep race, the Welsh Champion Hurdle, was abandoned this year so expect the field to be on offer at 10.0 or bigger. Horses with recent winning form tend to show to advantage, as do those towards the head of the weights, although that doesn’t make the task much simpler.
8. Diamond King: Has improved with a move to Gordon Elliott from Donald McCain, catching the eye in a big way at Fairyhouse in November. Won last time out to put himself right in the picture for this. The Handicapper however has taken a dim view and as such may be best to look elsewhere at his current odds.
6. Arbre de Vie: Looked to find 3m just too far when a good fourth in last year’s Albert Bartlett (G1) here, as well as a fine second on latest hurdle start at Punchestown in May. Was let down by jumping on chase bow in January, but fairly treated back in this sphere, and high on the shortlist at present.
15. Politologue: Represents the same combination who won this race last year with Aux Ptits Soins and the assumption is he’s of equal interest, but he’s given the handicapper more chance to get a handle on him after three UK runs. He’s not obviously thrown in at the weights but he could improve a fair bit.
24. Baoulet Delaroque: Stablemate of Politologue, but stable jockey wouldn’t have had choice of rides as Noel Fehily is retained by owners. Progressive in four runs for current yard, has made a strong impression in winning both handicaps. Raced only on soft ground but his pedigree suggests he’ll be as good on a faster surface. Undervalued by betting public at 17.0, though closer to 10.0 in our valuation. Back him to win and place.