The second at Chepstow is a Novices’ Handicap Chase, see our betting tips and the full race preview below.
IN SUMMARY: Battle Of Shiloh is up another 9lb for his latest victory at Newcastle and has to be respected as he’s still unbeaten but preference is for ROBINSFIRTH. He’s posted two great efforts since his return from an absence and an opening mark of 140 doesn’t seem harsh on handicap debut. He’s likely to improve further for this extra distance and has to be respected as he’s still unexposed over fences too.
1 BATTLE OF SHILOH – Unbeaten after four starts under rules and is raised 9lb for the latest win at Newcastle in December (2m 7f, Soft). Almost certainly has more to give but this rise does demand more and he faces some sterner opposition today. Needs to be given a huge amount of respect for the in form Tom George and Adrian Heskin combination with conditions to suit, and he is likely to be the main danger today if continuing to show his potential.
2 FLINTHAM – Useful over hurdles at his best with a record of 4-12 but has only raced once over fences, pulling up at Exeter in November 2015 (3m, Soft), though that race would prove smart with the winner being Native River. Likely to be able to do better over fences and his best hurdling form does bring him in to play so does live each way chances, but he does need to prove himself over fences so does rate as a risky proposition.
3 ROBINSFIRTH – Smart hurdler at his best though was only thrice raced in that sphere and returned from a near two year absence in December with a good second at Wincanton on chasing debut (2m 4f, Good to Soft). He improved again when winning at Exeter in January (2m 3f, Soft) and starts of in handicaps at a mark of 140 which doesn’t look insurmountable. This extra distance is likely to eek out further improvement and he has to be respected for in form Colin Tizzard with Harry Cobden claiming 3lb.
4 MORITO DU BERLAIS – Had been off for 13 months before returning at Hereford on chasing debut in December, finishing a well beaten fourth (3m 1f, Soft). A mark of 137 is a decent mark if judged upon his hurdling form and is likely to be capable of much better now that he has that run under his belt. Conditions are perfect today and the trip is fine, so has to be respected for Paul Nicholls and Sam Twiston-Davies.
5 DEFINITE OUTCOME – Won on chasing debut over C&D in October but has not completed his two runs since, unshipping the rider at Aintree in November and was never really at the races when pulled up over C&D in December. A mark of 132 doesn’t look harsh and is surely capable of better, but his last two runs completely temper enthusiasm and despite having conditions to suit, he cannot be put forward today.
6 JOIN THE CLAN – Close second in a beginners chase at Fakenham in November behind Final Nudge (3m, Soft) but has been very poor the last twice, beaten nearly 50 lengths on both starts. Conditions are fine as softer ground is his optimum and there is no problem with the trip, but it is hard to build a case for him with how badly he’s been out of form. Should be capable of better if judged on his hurdling form but impossible to recommend today.
7 TANIT RIVER – Has a record of 221 over fences so far, with that win coming at Taunton in a novices’ chase (3m, Good). However he was poor on his latest start at Ffos Las over hurdles eight days after that chasing win and there didn’t seem to be any real excuse for it. It is possible it all came to soon and he’s had a small break, but is 10lb higher than when second in a handicap at Uttoxeter in October so does need to show much more today. Others have more pressing claims and can only be watched.
8 MAXANISI – Lightly raced seven year old who won over hurdles back in November 2015, though his only chasing start to date in November ended in a poor eighth after making bad mistakes at various stages (2m, Good to Soft). Possible he will have come on for that effort but this is very much a new trip and there is no guarantees he will stay. Risky proposition and others have far less to prove, so possibly best left alone today.
9 SAY MY NAME – Tailed off on his seasonal reappearance at Bangor in November (2m 7f, Soft) and has a lot to prove on his chasing debut today. He has something to find with most of these on hurdling form and obviously needs to prove himself over fences, so it is hard to get excited about his chances. Others have less to prove and best watched.