IN SUMMARY: It has all gone down hill for AFRICAN GOLD since a very promising start to his career but made a big step back in the right direction for his new yard when 4th at Ffos Las on his seasonal reappearance over hurdles and surely is capable of better back over fences. If even close to his former best he’d have a huge chance in this and therefore is give the vote today to get back into the winners enclosure. The obvious dangers are More Buck’s and Azure Fly.
1 MORE BUCK’S – In good heart recently and performing consistently well at present, latest when holding on at Fontwell (2m5f, Soft) to take victory. Tries this new trip today and ran well enough when attempting it over hurdles in May 2015 but it is still a slight concern and no guarantees he will stay today.
2 ARDKILLY WITNESS – Out of form on both starts since May, latest when pulling up at Cartmel (3m, Good to Soft). Latest creditable effort was over C&D last season but doesn’t make much appeal today.
3 TAKE A BOW – Won nicely at Plumpton on penultimate start (3m1f, Good to Firm) but then struggled at Cheltenham (3m1f, Good) which is more like how he has been performing lately. That win represents his only good effort in his last four runs and doesn’t make much appeal today.
4 AZURE FLY – Returned with a bang this season with two good efforts, the latest of which when 2nd at Cheltenham back in October (3m1f, Good) under today’s jockey Jordan Nailor. In good heart clearly and demands respect as he’s a very consistent sort.
5 VIKEKHAL – Out of form for a year before finally posting a good effort when winning a 3 runner handicap at Warwick beating a 2/5 favourite (3m1f, Good). Still a risky proposition as he’s been very in out since October 2015 and needs to show more again to feature here. Each way claims if managing to build on that effort.
6 DREAMSOFTHEATRE – Up and down throughout his career and went down again when showing nothing on return from a small absence at Exeter at the start of November (3m, Good). Dangerous to discount but he rarely shows his good side these days and probably best watched today.
7 TWIRLING MAGNET – 19l behind Azure Fly on penultimate start at Cheltenham (3m1f, Good) and held when unseating the rider over the same C&D last month. Way down the weights now and should run his race but others have more convincing claims.
8 AFRICAN GOLD – All has gone downhill after falling from the lead at Uttoxeter nearly 3 years ago (3m, Soft) after a very promising start to his career. With new yard now and made a good debut when 12l 4th of 7 at Ffos Las latest (2m5f, Soft) over hurdles, the best he’s done in a very long time. Now back over fences he should come on for that reappearance and if getting back to anywhere near his best he’d be a huge danger in this race.
9 ARBEO – Consistent enough last season but usually comes on for his seasonal reappearance and most likely best watched for today with that in mind.
7/4 More Buck’s, 4/1 Azure Fly, 11/2 Vikekhal, 6/1 African Gold, 7/1 Dreamsoftheatre, 10/1 Arbeo, 14/1 Ardkilly Witness, 16/1 Take A Bow, 16/1 Twirling Magnet