The handicapper didn’t take kindly to his Ludlow novice win for me earlier this month as he has raised us a harsh 14lb for that win in a six-runner race. He clearly did it very well from the front there but that rise in a much better race, and tougher handicap, here makes life difficult for him, though at least the win allowed him to get in here. But hopefully he can build on that impressive win last time and be competitive, and he will love the ground.
He is a very good horse on his day but unfortunately his handicap mark probably more than reflects that these days. He has actually been eased 1lb for his Cheltenham run last time and is now 1lb lower than an excellent third at Kempton previously, but I just wonder whether the handicapper has him now in races of this quality. And he does have his stamina to prove, though I think he will stay. Good ground suits him well enough and the stable is flying.
As I mentioned with Theatre Guide, the stable is in great form now, and that wasn’t necessarily the case when he ran no sort of race for me in the RSA last time. I was never happy with him there and he never gave me the feel he did when winning at Cheltenham off a mark of 143 previously, or when taking the Kauto Star at Kempton. If he is the same form as when winning those two races, he is a player here with Colin’s horses in such good form again, but he clearly has no easy task off a mark of 152.
He comes here a fresh horse, having not raced since slightly disappointing at Plumpton in February. The handicapper has left him on the same mark and ideally he may want a bit more cut, but his earlier win at that course worked out okay – and his earlier fourth to No Comment and Minella Awards at the track certainly did – and I think he could run well at a price here, for all that he is not the easiest to keep sound.
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