He was really good when winning for me at Cheltenham in December but just found the rise in the weights – he was also out of the handicap – beyond him in the Imperial Cup here next time, though I actually thought he did okay there. It was good to see him back in the winner’s enclosure at Market Rasen last time, and the return to a bigger field and stronger pace of a competitive handicap will suit him even better. He could maybe do with a bit more rain if he does get on the quick side, though O see they have been watering, but he goes there with a decent chance. I wouldn’t swap him for anything else in this field anyway. We were thinking about the Scottish Champion Hurdle for him but then we spotted this race.
No Cyrname, but there is a horse called Altior in here, and he could prove a problem, I suppose. We could all be running for places again obviously but, if he does finally underperform for some reason, my horse has his ground again and can hopefully leave his Aintree run behind him. Certainly, he has place claims on the form he showed when winning the Haldon Cup and when second in the Peterborough Chase under a penalty. He isn’t getting any younger but he is a different horse on decent ground.
We also had him in the handicap at the end of the card, but we thought this looked a winnable Grade 2 Hurdle, so we decided to chance our arm. He was obviously very good at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day and, while he hasn’t run up to that form since, he didn’t do too badly in the Ballymore last time. He has plenty of class and I’d like to think he is better than his current mark of 141 indicates, so he may not have as much on his plate as the ratings suggest.
He ran well when just touched off over 2m at Huntingdon last time, but I think he will be much better served by a stronger pace in a better race, which he will hopefully get here. Most of his best form is over shorter, but he has one good run over 2m3f over hurdles to his name and the ground should put less emphasis on stamina.
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