Thirteen go to post in what should be a frantically run Handicap chase over 2m7f. Read on for our experts’ thoughts and betting tips.
IN SUMMARY: Delgany Demon has a good chance judged on his second behind Henri Parri Morgan who has proved himself a classy animal since. He should go well, as should Alternatif who on best form should be able to make his presence felt here. This could be best left to BALLYHENRY though, who is a smooth traveller in his races and being by Presenting should make into a smart chaser for his in-form yard. He is lightly-raced but shaped well on his chase debut and he looks to scope for much more improvement than his market rivals.
1 Fourovakind – Won at a canter by 17 lengths at Exeter (Heavy) in February, but flopped when tried over a marathon 4m1f on latest start at Uttoxeter. Significantly down in trip today and probably needs more cut in the ground to get involved here.
2 Alternatif – Showed improved form when winning over 3m1f at Fontwell (Heavy) a year ago and good chance judged on that off a 5lb lower mark here. Could do with it softening up further, but has been plying his trade in better company. Although his most recent efforts leave a lot to be desired, he can have a say on best form here with yard in good nick at present.
3 Wings Attract – Three-time winner for Chris Bealby including twice over fences. Didn’t fare too well on debut for new yard when sixth of seven last month over 2m5f so perhaps this trip will see him in a better light (has won at 3m). Needs a career best against a few of these.
4 Cloudy Copper – Well-backed favourite on chase debut at Ffos Las three runs ago over this trip, but hasn’t really lived up to expectations since. Has unseated his rider and been pulled up last two starts, so hard to have any confidence in him. However, his yard is beginning to spark into life, so best watched for now.
5 Delgany Demon – Winner over this trip in February (Good/Soft) and followed that up with a good second behind the smart Henri Parry Morgan from the Peter Bowen yard, himself a runner-up behind Hennessy winner Native River in the Grade 1 Mildmay Novices’ Chase at Aintree in April. Back on a good mark here and should take a hand in this.
6 Ballyrock – Only 14 career runs for this ten-year-old who landed only his second victory at Southwell on his third start over fences last month, doing so in taking style by 14 lengths. Went up 13lb for his next start at Kelso and ultimately pulled up. Down in grade and trip here, but wears tongue-tie and too unreliable at the moment.
7 Wiesentraum – Has done most of his winning at Fakenham and Southwell and recent form doesn’t inspire much confidence here. Hasn’t won in two years and unlikely to in this.
8 Saint Raph – Back-to-back Handicap winner over this trip and 3m1f in the spring. Pulled up on comeback run after going up 11lb last month after a seven month absence and will no doubt struggle again off the same mark today.
9 Ballyhenry – Presenting gelding and two-time Bumper winner and won a Novice Hurdle at Kempton on his second attempt. Lightly-raced since and decent third of five on comeback at Southwell last month looking like he needed it. Strong traveller in his races, he is down in grade slightly today and has cheek-pieces back on (worn them in previous win). Big player with yard in fine form at present.
10 Ulis De Vassy – Previously with Dan Skelton where he won three races. Good debut third for new yard, but has regressed since, including when well beaten on latest start at Wetherby. Hard to fancy having never won over this far.
11 Wood Yer – Has a fine strike rate and came back from a long lay off to just win at Chepstow in March. Decent enough second upped in grade next time out, but well held in a 0-135 on latest start at Haydock. Seems to thrive on this ground and probably needed that run. Yard in fine form, but still has it to prove at this level and best watched unless market vibes are positive.
12 Heroes Or Ghosts – Still a maiden, but a point winner in Ireland. Career best effort over 2m6f at Uttoxeter (Heavy) on latest start and only 2lb higher here. Probably not one to get too excited about, given pedigree, and this looks a tougher race than he has encountered before.
13 Onderun – Hasn’t won in eight starts for the yard, but came second in this race last year on only his second chase start. 8lb lower here, but was pulled up on his latest start in January and has an absence of 324 days to overcome. Best watched for now.