He is a winning pointer who I rode to win his bumper last season before he went to Aintree and finished in midfield in the Grade 2 there. And he looked very impressive when winning for Ciaran [Gethings] on his hurdling debut at Huntingdon last month. This will obviously be a lot tougher and he carries a 6lb penalty for that success – and he has to give 13lb to Countister – but he is hopefully a horse with plenty more to give.
Call Me Vic
He proved he was well suited by 2m4f and good ground when winning at Aintree last season, and he gets those conditions for the first time since. He has run some fair races over further in the meantime, and hopefully he will come on for his reappearance fourth to his stablemate The Romford Pele over 3m1f at that track in October. He normally needs a run or two to put him straight, so I’d like to think he will run a good race here, off a fair mark.
He may have disappointed us slightly in the Pertemps on his final start last season but he did nothing but improve throughout the campaign, progressing into a smart handicap hurdler. Hopefully, he will develop into an even better chaser, and the manner of his win over 2m4f at Ludlow last month suggests that may be the case. I was very happy with him there, even if his market rivals didn’t run their races. He was always thought of him as a chaser in waiting, and the step back up to 3m on decent ground on a galloping track is fine for him. This will tell us a lot more about how good he promises to be over fences.
Act Of Valour
This horse was a good middle-distance performer on the Flat in Ireland, rated 97, and he could not have made a better start to his hurdling career than when winning well from another smart Flat recruit in the soft at Newcastle. I believe Sean was very impressed with him there and we know from his form in Ireland that this better ground won’t be a problem, either. In fact, it could well be a big plus. He carries a 3lb penalty but hopefully that won’t stop him running a big race here, for all that he meets some similarly promising and unexposed types.
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