A tough Handicap Chase to sort out in which all the runners have live chances. Read on for our experts’ thoughts and betting tips.
IN SUMMARY: Dusky Lark can be fancied to continue Colin Tizzard’s excellent run of recent form and he looked a real chaser in the making last year. Venetia Williams has started to send out a few winners recently as the ground starts to get testing and UHLAN BUTE will no doubt appreciate conditions today. He won impressively on his seasonal appearance last year and in a similar race, can take top honours here for his trainer who does so well with Chasers coming off a break.
1 Dusky Lark – Easily won a Handicap Chase at Huntingdon by 24 lengths back in March and good 2nd last time out at Wincanton finishing 7 lengths behind the well-regarded Go Conquer from Jonjo O’Neill’s yard. 9lb higher today and should continue to give a good account for himself if continuing in the same form on seasonal reappearance.
2 Andy Kelly – Won on Chase debut at Plumpton last October, winning impressively by 6 lengths to Cadoudoff from Charlie Longsdon’s yard. Off the track since and has clearly had some issues. Still has bags of potential judged on that win and trainer and jockey have been in good form recently and should come on for the run.
3 Lost Legend – Easily won a Handicap Chase a year ago by 10 lengths and 8 runs since without a win. Mark continues to slide and he has not shown anything like that form since. Will struggle against the top two in the market and yard a bit quiet at present.
4 Mercer’s Court – Gone up 3lb for winning a 3 runner event at Plumpton last month handing a 5 length beating to his rivals. Landed a hat-trick of wins in a Novice Chase at Huntingdon in March before following up in Handicaps at Fontwell and Fakenham so chasing clearly his game. Needs a career best in order to beat the top two off this mark.
5 Morning Reggie – Didn’t really show much in last two Handicap starts having previously won at Sandown in March by a shoulder to Minella Reception from the Twiston-Davies yard. Will probably prefer softer than today’s forecast ground and should come on for seasonal debut.
6 Uhlan Bute – Decent win on first run at Bangor last season winning by 11 lengths and has shown fair form since. Yard hitting top gear now so should go well but well handicapped for today’s race and others look to have better chances today
7 Frontline – Showed some useful hurdling form in Ireland when trained by Peter Fahey and was unable to translate that to fences on his first start for his new yard in February at Market Rasen. Improvement looks unlikely and hard to fancy his chances against these.
8 Atirelarigo – Former French recruit who showed a decent level of form when trained by Philip Peltier but was unable to replicate on his first start for Philip Hobbs in February at Kempton and worse still on his last start at the same track in March. Should come on for run and will win a race or two this year but unlikely that will be today.