Eleven runners will go to post for this extremely competitive 0-140 handicap chase at Hereford racecourse. Run over the extended three miles and one furlong, there’s a fund of £12,512 up for grabs. Read on for our runner by runner guide, expert analysis and free tip for the contest.
IN SUMMARY: A race that revolves around Kerry Lee in many respects as she saddles both the favourite and our selection. Goodtoknow will take a bit of stopping if he can build on his comeback run behind One For Arthur in the Warwick Classic Chase but a chance is taken on MOUNTAINOUS (8/1). The former Welsh National winner is down to a mark of 133, just one pound higher than his National success and Richard Patrick takes off a further seven pounds.
1 AACHEN – Pulled up on both starts this season at Aintree and Sandown and has the burden of top weight for this contest. The 13 year old acts on soft or heavy ground so the more rain the better and a big run wouldn’t be discounted as Venetia Williams tends to blow hot or cold with her horses. Still seven pounds above his last winning mark, the vote is to oppose until he drops down the weights a bit more.
2 FIREBIRD FLYER – Not the biggest of horses but he is a tough individual and he loves cut in the ground so conditions will be to suit. Won the Midlands Grand National at Uttoxeter in 2016 off 138 so he’s not harshly treated off 140 here if he can recapture his form. A hold up merchant, he will sit patiently at the back in the hands of Adam Wedge and will look to pick up the pieces late on so he looks a solid each way player.
3 STREETS OF PROMISE – Westerner eight year old mare trained by Michael Scudamore who won by seven lengths at Towcester when last seen 260 days ago. The long absence has to be a concern here as she will be meeting race-fit opponents but if they have her in good shape, she may be able to string the field out as she loves to be out in front. In testing conditions, they better not give her a soft lead.
4 GOODTOKNOW – Kerry Lee is on fire at present and this is one of her two runners in the field. Won at Wetherby and Taunton last season and came back after a short break to run a cracker at Warwick in the Classic Chase last time out, chasing home One For Arthur at 25/1 in the twenty runner field. He stays further than this, acts on heavy going and must be a huge threat to all if he can build on his latest effort.
5 WALDORF SALAD – Another Venetia Williams runner but this is her most likely winner in the race. The nine year old Millenary gelding is a big rangy animal who won novice handicaps at Towcester, Taunton and Chepstow last season. In December, he was pulled up on his seasonal reappearance but he was entitled to need the run. Usually a front runner, he is high enough in the weights at present and may find one or two too good.
6 WHAT A MOMENT – Lightly raced seven year old gelding trained by David Pipe who is yet to set the world alight. Victorious in an amateur handicap at Cheltenham back in November at 8/1, he will have to step up a lot on his latest run behind Hainan where he was beat about 25 lengths at Wetherby. Another who likes to race in rear, he will need a career best to land this but he is in good hands with Scudamore on board.
7 FEDERICI – Formerly trained by Enda Bolger in Ireland, this eight year old gelding is now with the Donald McCain yard. He won a Fairyhouse handicap hurdle and has won twice over fences from twenty starts over the larger obstacles. It’s interesting that he’s no longer with Enda Bolger as he would not let a good chaser go lightly and the fact he has been poor over fences since he joined this stable would be a concern.
8 RACING PULSE – Jonathon Burke rides this eight year old gelding trained by Rebecca Curtis who is no stranger to these stayers’ handicaps. An inconsistent type, he was pulled up, brought down and unseated rider on his three starts before his latest run at Cheltenham where he ran a solid race, 6th behind Tour Des Champs. He acts in testing conditions and is off a nice mark now so can’t be discounted.
9 MOUNTAINOUS – The second of the two runners trained by Kerry Lee, a trainer is a rich vein of form currently. He beat Firebird Flyer in the Welsh National last season and he caught the eye in the Classic Chase at Warwick last time out, running a fine race in seventh place. That was very encouraging after three straight pull up’s and he’s off a very dangerous mark now if Kerry has his right.
10 BELMOUNT – Nigel Twiston-Davies Westerner gelding who won a moderate handicap at Newton Abbot last September, beating Fort Worth who is no star. Well behind Tour Des Champs at Cheltenham last time out but he had an excuse as he lost a shoe early doors. Stays this far, acts on any ground and likes to front run but there are better horses’ in the field and he looks an unlikely winner on paper.
11 FLASHJACK – Cheekpieces go on this seven year old gelding trained by Henry Daly for the very first time which is interesting and can bring about major improvement sometimes. A winner of two novice events at Towcester and Leicester last season, he was running a super race two starts back at Wetherby on seasonal and chase debut but he fell. Finished last of the seven runners when last seen but was well supported and he is thrown in here off 10-10 if he can come back to his best.