On the face of it he ran pretty poorly at Aintree but I think we will see a different horse now he goes right-handed again. All his best recent form has been that way round – his King George fifth and his Peterborough win – and I think that is the key to him. I think he will run a big race, though I am well aware Menorah is aiming for his fourth straight win in the race and is the horse to beat on official figures.
There is not a lot you can say about Altior that everyone doesn’t know about already. But I can tell you we have freshened him up nicely since Cheltenham, he is working as well as he usually does, and he seemed in great order when I schooled him over six fences at home on Monday. We know how the race is going to pan out with the Champion Chase Special Tiara blazing off in front, and we have to keep tabs on him and then go from there. You have to give him the utmost respect but the other two in the race also come into it with good recent wins under their belt, with Vaniteux putting up the kind of performance we knew he was capable of at Ayr last time.
This horse owes me one after unseating me at the first in the Scottish National last week! To be fair, it wasn’t his fault at all, as he was bumped off his landing feet there and we had nowhere to go. But it wasn’t a pretty unseat for me, that much is true, so I personally can’t tell you how much he ran loose at Ayr before being caught, though I am told he did have a good run and jump around afterwards, so hopefully that didn’t take too much out of him! What we said about him going into that race still stands – he is unexposed over fences and shaped like a stamina test would definitely suit when a strong-finishing sixth in the Kim Muir – and I think he is fairly handicapped, as is our Vyta Du Roc now off a mark of 137. He comes here a fresh horse, and has chances.
Volnay De Thaix
This looks an open and competitive hurdle and, although I am probably on one of the outsiders, he is certainly not without a chance. He reverts to hurdling after two chase efforts this season, and comes here a fresh horse, and he is a pretty classy horse on his day in this sphere. He has finished second in a Relkeel and third in an Aintree Hurdle and I rode him to finish a good second in a handicap chase on this card last season. He could surprise.
He showed at Ayr that he is as hard as nails, putting up two brilliant performances on consecutive days, and he is coming back for more here. On the form he showed when second to Cloudy Dream on the Saturday then I think he is fairly handicapped off a mark of 148 and if four quick runs haven’t caught up with him then you have to give him every chance in an open race.
He had a very bad run round around Aintree, and did very well to finish fourth. Everywhere I went in the race I faced a wall of horses, and got stopped, and I think we would have finished a lot closer there with any luck in running. So off the same mark then I have to think he will go well here.
Find 32Red’s latest odds here – we offer price boosts on every UK and Irish racing event, as well as enhanced multiples and jockey specials. If you’re still up for a flutter, be sure to check out our award-winning casino too!