We were extremely close to a 9/1 winner today as Now Children was just touched off into second place but returned us each-way returns.
Here are tomorrow’s selections.
DOUBLE SHUFFLE (13.45 Kempton, 0.5pts each-way @8/1)
GUITAR PETE (13.45 Kempton, 0.5pts each-way @14/1)
Firstly, DOUBLE SHUFFLE was a very smart chaser in his prime and may be worth siding with in this wide-open event. He absolutely loves it around here with C&D form reading 1, 2, 2, 5, 2, 7 and 3. Essentially, all of those performances have been off much stiffer marks and practically in graded company. In fact, on two separate occasions, he was second in the 2017 King George behind Might Bite and fifth in the 2018 renewal. He ran very well to an extent over C&D last time out in a better race from a 2Ib higher mark and I’m quite confident he’ll fill the frame at the very least.
Secondly, GUITAR PETE was also a high-class individual at his peak and proved he retains most of his ability when fourth at Wetherby, staying on nicely at the backend of the race. Furthermore, he has won and run well in much stiffer assignments over the years, particularly in graded-class at Cheltenham (former Caspian Caviar Gold Cup winner) from similar marks to the one he’s been handed here and looks to have solid each-way credentials with question marks surrounding most of his opposition.
EASY AS THAT (14.30 Chepstow, 1pt win @11/4)
The Venetia Williams-trained EASY AS THAT returned a well-beaten second on hurdling debut at Bangor when last seen, but he’s entitled to strip fitter and his jumping lacked all sorts of conviction on that occasion. I do, however, believe the winner Any News is an above-average individual and that horse franked the form by going close at Cheltenham next time out. This six-year-old is bred to be very smart and couldn’t have been more impressive when landing a couple of bumpers last season. Open to improvement and providing he jumps proficiently, he can take this with much bigger assignments lying in wait.
BIG RIVER (15.10 Chepstow, 0.5pts each-way @16/1)
CALIPSO COLLONGES (15.10 Chepstow, 0.5pts each-way @33/1)
The feature race of the weekend, the Coral Welsh Grand National, takes centre stage this weekend and with plenty of places on offer, ideally, you want a couple on side.
I’m quite hopeful BIG RIVER can be competitive. He’s lightly-raced for a ten-year-old warmed up for this event with an eye-catching third at Cheltenham last time out and is weighted to get closer to Yala Enki and Ramses De Teillee on this occasion.
He has plenty of winning form on ground ranging from good-to-heavy and last year he finished fourth in the Ultima at the Cheltenham Festival from a mark of 140 and was then a fast-finishing fifth of 23 in the Scottish Grand National from the same mark on ground that would have been quicker than ideal. His penultimate outing saw him fill fifth place in the Ultima at Cheltenham again and it’s very appealing to see the handicapper keep him on a workable mark.
In conclusion, Lucinda Russell sends the ten-year-old, who has good efforts to his CV in big-field handicap’s, on a 12-hour round trip (only runner of the day) and Derek Fox has his only ride on the card. He will appreciate this extra tax on his stamina and looks a serious each-way player.
CALIPSO COLLONGES looks over-priced at the bottom of the weights. He’s only got the one win to his name over fences but he showed he retained his ability when staying on to finish fourth in the Becher on his return from 23 months off. He may well have finished closer if avoiding some carnage when hampered at a crucial stage. He possesses some useful pieces of form and Olly Murphy has always thought of him as a stout stayer. Given the fact that he’s comparatively unexposed over marathon distances, he looks a serious each-way player and is worth an interest at double-figure odds.
MISTY WHISKY (15.30 Kempton, 0.5pts each-way @10/1)
As ever, the Lanzarote Hurdle has attracted a quality field and, with four places on offer, the bottom-weight MISTY WHISKY has a lot going for her in a bid to extend her winning sequence for the in-form Harry Fry. She was a smart performer in bumpers, winning two of her four starts that led to her finishing a creditable seventh of 20 in a highly-competitive Grade-Two event at Aintree.
Crucially, this improving mare has translated that form to hurdling with form figures in this sphere reading 2, 2, 2, 1, 1 and, her mares’ allowance could prove vital in the contest of this weekend’s event. She’s won her last two races stylishly and looks well-handicapped with the soft-to-heavy ground right up her street. This demands another personal best, but Harry Fry’s seven-year-old looks ready for the task ahead.
DANDOLO DU GITE (15.45 Wincanton, 0.5pts each-way @10/1)
If you're willing to forgive DANDOLO DU GITE and strike a line through her poor effort at Taunton the last day, then surely he would have an excellent each-way chance in this wide-open event, The handicapper, surprisingly, has dropped him a handy 3Ib, which makes him very well treated at present. A glance through his recent form testifies his ability to make an impact. For instance, his 19-length defeat of the 123-rated Jaboticaba at Southwell back in May 2019 would be good enough form to capitalize on his current mark of 119. In conclusion, he remains unexposed and very much of interest off his current mark and at the odds.