We were clearly a little bit disappointed with his run behind Birchdale here last time but hopefully he can return to his best here. He had previously run a great race when second to Elixir De Nutz over 2m1f here in December and was then really impressive when stepping up to this trip here on New Year’s Day. That form hasn’t worked out as well as it might have done but he couldn’t have done much more than win by 13 lengths. On that form, he has each-way chances at a price.
The Worlds End
What a great ride to pick up, this is. I know you have to respect the front three in the betting – and all the runners bar one have stood their ground from the five-day stage, so it’s very competitive – but I think the market is underestimating the form claims of this horse on his runaway win here in December. For sure, he would probably like better ground but he didn’t run badly on soft in the World Hurdle last year and he loses little in comparison with anything here in terms of class. If he can handle the ground, then he could well surprise a lot of people, and hopefully the first-time cheek pieces prove to be a positive, too. He certainly schooled well in them last Friday morning.
We are all aware how brilliant Altior is – but hopefully everyone also knows how good God’s Own has been in this race in the past. And he has been in great form this season, winning the Haldon Gold Cup and finishing second to Charbel in the Peterborough when giving the winner 6lb. His form figures in this race in the last four years read 2453, and it would be great if he can grab another place here. His form this season certainly suggests he can. Of course, he could have done without the rain, but let’s hope that forecast wind dries it out a fair bit. He seemed in very good order when I had a spin around Exeter on him recently.
Fanfan Du Seuil
I rode him to win at Exeter and when second here earlier in the season, and he felt like a really nice horse. I felt we got mugged a little here in December, and he is better than he showed there. That was one that got away, as I got there too soon, and he had a bit of stage fright as a baby. On the plus side that could have saved us a 1lb or 2lb rise in the weights, and that could be key in a tight handicap like this. Hopefully, the break since then will have done him the power of good – in fact, I think it came at exactly the right time for him physically – and fingers crossed a mark of 136 allows him to be very competitive. He won in deep ground in France, too, and I say he would be one of my best rides of the week. I schooled him last Friday and I genuinely couldn’t be happier with him.
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