Friday, 16 March 2012

1.5pts win BABY MIX 6.8/1 (Both exchanges) JCB Triumph Hdle
1.5pts win SADLER'S RISK JCB 7.2/1(Both exchanges) Triumph Hdle

These two occupied the first two spots in the Adonis last time with the rest of the field, including subsequent Fred Winter winner Une Artiste, well beaten off. The form looks absolute stonewall solid and the preferred option is to take both on board here rather than one, and something from the other trials. Baby Mix was convincing at Kempton and has also won around here though it is quite possible that this more testing circuit will bring about enough improvement from Sadler's Risk to enable him to turn the tables.

Lost - 3pts

2pts win MOUNT BENBULBEN 6.8/1 (Both exchanges) Albert Bartlett Novices Hdle
1pt win SEA OF THUNDER 9/1 (Both exchanges) Albert Bartlett Novices Hdle

Mount Benbulben had quite a bit of hype surrounding him early in the season and his defeat to Boston Bob at Navan in December came as a disappointment to those around him. Three months on, in a different scenario, he makes plenty of appeal at over 4 x the price of the Mullins horse. It will al depend on which one handles todays ground the best and it could be that Boston Bob is the one requiring a slog in testing conditions to produce his optimum.

Lost - 3pts

Sea of Thunder was well beaten behind Boston Bob in January; again in the mud. He was previously trouncing his field in a G2 here in December when coming down at the last. That was on similar ground to todays and he looks certain to give a very good account of himself here.

1.5pts win SYNCHRONISED 11/1(Generally available) Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup
1.5pts win WEIRD AL 12.5/1(Betfair) Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup

There are lots of doubts surrounding many of these - Long Run has not been convincing at any one stage this season, Kauto Star is vulnerable with doubts surrounding him, his yard, and his age, and Burton Port was no doubt flattered to get so close to a below par Long Run last time and has never really appealed as a Gold Cup winner.

This leaves some unthinkables but the fact is that Synchronised now has to be viewed as the new look horse that he is and not some marathon type going around Chepstow or Uttoxeter. There was no fluke about his Lexus Chase victory of which the form looks reasonably solid and there is some precedent for a horse with his sort of profile winning this as The Thinker had at one time in his career settled into the mode of your typical staying handicaper that graces the Uttoxeters of this world.

This is still a bit of the unknown about Weird Al. However, he is clearly a high class chaser who looked the part when winning the Charlie Hall earlier in the season. He has won around here, is best fresh and is fully effective on good ground. All in all the scenario here is perfect for him to run the race of his life and his claim has to be taken seriously.

Synchronised won + 15 pts

1.5pts win SALSIFY 6/1 (Generally available) Christies Foxhunters Chase
1.5pts win CHAPOTURGEON 13/2(Betfair) Christies Foxhunters Chase

Salsify has very strong claims to this. He won at both the Punchestown and Fairyhouse festivals last Spring and returned to his best when winning at Leopardtown last month. He has the beatng of quite a few of these on those three races and with the ground in his favour will go very close.

Not too long ago there would have been massive doubts about Chapoturgeon getting home over this trip. However, he seems to be a more relaxed type in new hands and judging by his impressive Newbury success has every chance of lasting home. If so, he'll take some beating as he has always had a touch of class about him and is till only 8 years old.

Salsify won + 7.5pts