Another good winner and more profit today as PORTRUSH TED battled on bravely to prevail and defy top-weight, tipped at 9/1 and returned an SP 12/1 along with an each-way return at 6/1. Here are tomorrow’s selections. LOUIS VAC POUCH (12.20 Aintree, 0.5pts each-way @12/1)
LOUIS VAC’ POUCH has yet to make an impact this term but I’m convinced he’s got a big handicap in his inventory and his mark continues to slide to help matters. He has course-winning form, which is seen as a positive and looks an each-way player with this bigger field likely to play to his strengths.
NAVAJO PASS (12.55 Aintree, 0.5pts each-way @15/2)
HUNTERS CALL (12.55 Aintree, 1pt win @4/1)
Firstly, Mint Condition has to be feared and is a horse I have plenty of time for but I’m going to back two other horses in the race who I feel are capable of slamming this field.
NAVAJO PASS won a Grade Two last year and ran an astonishing race to finish fourth in the Triumph Hurdle last year, where he didn’t seem to handle the track. He returned with an eye-catching display in a particularly stronger event over course-and-distance last month where he travelled well for a long way. His opening handicap mark of 144 looks workable and I’ll be giving him another chance now in calmer waters.
HUNTERS CALL won one of the hottest handicaps back in 2017 at Ascot, in which was a Grade Three event and has proved at least to be as good as ever, winning back in July over a similar trip before performing with credit to finish fourth in the Galway Hurdle and Greatwood Hurdle the last twice on ground that wouldn’t have been ideal. From the same mark as last time dropping down in grade and with Richard Johnson on board, he’s well worth a chance back on a sounder surface.
JETT (13.30 Aintree, 0.5pts each-way @22/1)
CALETT MAD (13.30 Aintree, 0.5pts each-way @12/1)
All odds are with bookmakers paying 4 places.
If you’ve listened to this week’s podcast, you’ll know that I’m taking a bit of a chance in the Becher Chase with these two selections.
Jessica Harrington has long stated JETT (VALUE BET) to be a Grand National contender and despite his form going a bit pear-shaped of late, his fourth in an Irish Gold Cup earlier this year and his Grade Two victory when giving 8Ib and a beating to Alpha Des Obeaux (third in this last year) is very good form and reads well in the context of this weekend’s event. He’s a very good assured jumper and the booking of Sam Waley-Cohen, who does well over these fences indicates a bold performance to be forthcoming. It’s worth pointing out that it’s Sam’s and Jessica’s only ride and runner on the card. For sure, it remains debatable as to whether he will take to the fences, but if he does, I’m confident the nine-year-old Irish raider can outrun his double-figure odds.
My second choice hasn’t run for a long time but CALETT MAD looks the ideal type for this test. He improved at a rate of knots when last seen on the track, finishing an excellent second in the Borders National off top-weight as a six-year-old before filling the same position in the Classic Handicap Chase at Warwick. He invariably goes well fresh and given that connections have won this prize more than any other trainer over the last ten years (three times) this unexposed eight-year-old has to be respected. Furthermore, he’s 3Ib lower than when last seen and Grand National winning-jockey Daryl Jacob will ride. I really like this horse and, with a clear round, I’d be optimistic about him having a huge say in the finish.
GA LAW (13.50 Sandown, 1pt win @13/2)
GA LAW has made a very good impression switching to fences this season, making it three from three over fences in a Grade Two last month. That race, understandably, fell apart but he was flawless throughout and merits plenty of respect now taking dead aim at the highest level with the drop in trip likely to suit. Allmankind has to be feared, but I feel as though this four-year-old is the value call, particularly if ridden aggressively with stamina assured.
SAINT XAVIER (13.57 Chepstow, 0.5pts each-way @20/1)
THE TWO AMIGOS (13.57 Chepstow, 0.5pts each-way @7/1)
A good renewal of the Welsh Grand National Trial and there’s a couple of runners who are worth an investment.
Richard Hobson’s SAINT XAVIER is a useful hurdler/chaser and has been highly tried since joining the yard following an excellent spell in France. His seventh in the Grade Two Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby on his return to action was a really good effort and although he fell when last seen, has to be feared given that he is comparatively unexposed and was fourth in a Grade One in France beforehand. With that said, this is a significant drop down in grade since Wetherby and with conditions looking his optimism, he has the ability to make an impact providing that fall last time hasn’t dented his confidence.
Nicky Martin’s THE TWO AMIGOS is a likeable stayer and produced an encouraging return to action when third at Bangor. He was an excellent fifth in the Coral Welsh National last year and his mark remains unaltered. He’ll love the taxing surface this weekend, jumps well and with plenty of stamina in abundance, this eight-year-old will take plenty of catching.
DIDERO VALLIS (15.15 Aintree,1pt each-way @6/1)
SAMETEGAL (15.15 Aintree, 0.5pts each-way @12/1)
All odds are with bookmakers paying 4 places.
I’m sweet on the chances of DIDERO VALLIS (E/W NAP), representing the combination of Venetia Williams and Charlie Deutsch. He made his debut over the National fences when fifth in this race last year, where he jumped very well in the main apart from one mistake three out.
Despite making that shuddering mistake, the seven-year-old still managed to recover and get himself on terms approaching the final fence before just plodding on to finish fifth. That was off a mark of 134 and he’s 2Ib lower this time around with a run under his belt and that all important experience. He’s 1Ib better off with the sixth horse in the race last year, Touch Kick and, 1Ib better off with the third horse, Beau Bay, who had the benefit of experience over fences. I think Venetia Williams’ runner has got a cracking each-way chance.
Please note the selection above, DIDERO VALLIS, is my each-way nap of the weekend and was tipped on the podcast at 16/1 yesterday. However, I’ll only be counting the price I have provided you on the spreadsheet if this selection offers reward.
Also, I really like the Paul Nicholls-trained SAMETEGAL, who looks to have been targeted at this race for quite some time. He’s a very consistent sort and ran an excellent race to finish in this off top-weight back in 2017. Interestingly, he’ll carry 10Ib less in weight and is rated 2Ib lower on this occasion. He ran noticeably well to finish third at Sandown when last seen and Bryony Frost will take the ride, who coincidentally rode Touch Kick to finish sixth last year. This veteran is very well treated and looks to have an outstanding each-way chance with track, trip and conditions to suit.