It was interesting to see that Lucy Wadham has won three of the last nine renewals of this race but sadly she hasn’t got a runner this year so back to the drawing board on that idea. Only the one winner at double figure odds when 20/1 shot Songsmith scored in 2012 but just two winning favourites so it seems it pays to shop around near to the head of the market if past results are repeated here. Two and a quarter miles plus is an unusual distance and explains why there is not a single distance winner declared in this field, though there are a couple of course winners leaving Dinsdale (8/1 Each Way) to start off this race preview. Trained by Michael Scudamore and to be ridden by his older brother Tom, the four-year-old son of Cape Cross has only had the four races over hurdles, winning the last of them here at Newbury over two miles and half a furlong battling back after being headed on the run in. He showed a good attitude that day to get back up and gave a big clue that a step up in trip may well being further improvement, and his trainer certainly seems to like him. He said after his last win “Dinsdale is entered in the Fred Winter and if he can squeeze in that, that would be the aim. He’s improved with every run and is still going the right way. He’s versatile with regards to ground ……..it’s not a big issue for him” and although he missed Cheltenham, the fact that he was even considered good enough to run suggests she should do well enough in this company.
Final Choice (20/1) is the other course winner having beaten Siruh Du Lac by eight lengths here over two miles and half a furlong on New Year’s Eve. Since then he has been beaten in two races since with a last of four (beaten forty-six lengths back here at Newbury over two miles half a furlong again?), and then at Haydock when a tailed off fourth of five beaten ninety-six lengths after being virtually pulled up. Those two runs are anything but inspiring but this is a handicap and they see him get in here off a rating of 125 and bottom weight regardless. Gavin Sheehan has been booked to ride as expected and with the Warren Greatrex stable firing at a success rate of 14% with four winners in the last two weeks and a level stakes profit, he may put up a bold effort at a massive price come Saturday afternoon.
One more glance at the statistics and those who have stuck with trainer Nick Williams have been rewarded with a level stakes profit of twenty-five points in the last fourteen days which is mightily impressive. He has Night Of Sin (10/3) in here as the Lizzie Kelly ridden four-year-old looks to make it three wins in a row after scoring at Bangor and the Warwick over two miles or so. Those were only his third and fourth starts ever so it seems fair to assume there may well be even more to come from the son of Sinndar and as he keeps finding more when asked, there is a really good chance the handicapper us yet to get his true measure. Better still, this appears to be his long term target with his trainer saying after his last win in February “It was a good performance from a decent juvenile.…..He’s not in at Cheltenham as we didn’t think he was ready, but he could go to Newbury in three weeks for a 2m3f handicap hurdle”, and if he is primed for this afternoon as expected with his jockey taking three pounds off, he really ought to be a major contender.
Everyone in racing is fully aware of just how good Aidan Coleman is in the saddle and despite a run of losers and a mere one winner from twenty nine rides in the last two weeks, he has as good a chance as any on board Tom Symonds’ Don Bersy (7/2) who is yet another arriving here in winning form. Up near the top of the weights today he has won his last three starts at Sandown, Warwick, and Haydock, the last two in Class Four company but he has stayed on strongly over two miles each time and looks to be crying out for this increase in distance and off a rating just a pound higher than last time, he ought to be in the mix as they cross the last hurdle and it will take a brave horse to out battle him if that is the case.
Gary Moore tidies up this race preview with Templar (20/1) a lot better than we have seen recently (apparently). After winning first time out over hurdles at Plumpton connections will have hoped he would have gone on from there but he has been well beaten since by wide margins and has plenty to prove off a rating of 125 this afternoon even with Jamie Moore in the saddle.