Fanfan Du Seuil
He won his only start in France and was in the process of running a good race when falling at Chepstow on his debut for the yard. But he gained compensation when winning really well for me at Exeter last month. I think the form was pretty smart – it rode like a good race and the placed horses were both expected to go well – and the step up to this level is more than justified. It’s a tough-looking race, as per usual, and he carries a 7lb penalty, but he certainly isn’t out of place in the line-up, that’s for sure. And Tom knows what is required to win this race, having landed it in recent years with Olofi and Baby Mix, both of whom I was lucky enough to ride.
He finished second in this race last season, and he must have a good chance of going one better after his reappearance win here. I know he went up 10lb for that victory but he really was impressive for me there, travelling really well throughout and quickening up like a good one after the last. This is tougher, obviously, but he felt like an improved horse last month and we know he handles soft if the rain does come.
Aye Aye Charlie
It may have only been a small-field race that he would have struggled to lose, but it was still great to see him get his head front over hurdles, wearing first-time cheekpieces, at Kelso last time. A few people may have been disappointed by him when he was beaten on his reappearance but the winner proved he was a good horse when just beaten a head by Doux Pretender at Ascot next time. My horse has the best single piece of form coming into the race courtesy of his 2m4f Aintree Grade 1 fourth to Black Op last season and I see no reason why he wouldn’t see out this 3m trip. In fact, I think he has been crying out for it, as you would expect of a half-brother to Chase The Spud. He schooled great during the week and felt unbelievable, and everything is in his place for a massive run here. A good gallop in a good race is what he needs.
She ran another good race at Ascot last time, when we got squeezed for room on the run-in, and we know that she can be competitive off this mark again. It’s just a matter of things falling right for her. She unseated me in this race last season but she has run well here in a bumper and a handicap hurdle off this mark in April, and she just needs a bit of luck now.
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