Aye Aye Charlie
He has a fair bit to find with some of these form-wise, and has to bounce back from a fall here last time. But he has winning form in soft and had earlier shaped pretty well when third to On The Blind Side at Aintree. Hopefully, he has each-way claims, but it does look a tough task for him.
He improved throughout last season to become a 143-rated hurdler, and he is two from two over fences more recently, winning a couple of races at Wetherby. Quite clearly, this is a massive step up in class from beating one rival last time – this looks some race – but he is a tenacious front-runner for whom trip and ground are fine. And he ran an excellent race over 3m here last season when chasing home Wholestone in a Grade 2. He will love the ground.
This is a great spare ride to pick up, and I think he has a lot of things in his favour. He does still look to have his stamina to conclusively prove at this trip, but he ran well over 3m at Newbury last time and I think he will stay. I am two from two on him, so I know him pretty well, and I think he will see out the trip. He was beaten 10 lengths at Newbury and races off the same mark, so he doesn’t look to have any secrets from the handicapper, as it stands. But he will like the ground – Tom is confident he will handle it – and he is still relatively unexposed after just the six runs over hurdles.
She put up a brilliant effort when beating a whole host of high-class rivals when stepped up to 3m for the first time on her return at Wetherby on her reappearance. And she probably ran just as well in defeat under a 6lb penalty at Newbury last time behind Beer Goggles. She has to carry a penalty again here but the step back down in trip will be no inconvenience for her, especially in this ground, and I think she has a big chance. In fact, I think she is the one they all have to beat, and everything about this race is tailor-made for her. She will relish the conditions.
I have ridden him in both starts and he has been off the track since winning a 1m5f bumper at Market Rasen on good ground in October. Clearly, this is a very different test for him, in terms of class and ground, so we will have to see how he gets on. I just don’t know how he will handle this heavy going. I do think we all have the Exeter winner Volcano to beat, though.
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