IN SUMMARY – It is close to impossible to get away from the chances of MR MOONSHINE (4/1) but that is making the assumption that he is back in the mood for racing, and will take to fences again as well as he did to hurdles. There is no reason to doubt that he can (and hopefully will) repeat that effort in which case another winner is expected.
1 FIRTH OF THE CLYDE – All credit due to trainer Malcolm Jefferson who popped the headgear on this eleven-year-old for the first time at Sedgefield last time out, and was duly rewarded with his first win since January 2015. He has a bit more in hand that day than the official seven length margin suggests and a five-pound rise may not stop him, though this is over three miles and he has yet to score over anywhere further than two and a half miles to date.
2 ANAY TURGE – It will take a massive training performance to bring an eleven-year-old back fit enough to win after eleven months or so off the track, especially when he is yet to win over further than two miles five. A decent horse who racked up three win in a row last spring but seems likely to need the run today, and is possibly best watched for future reference.
3 MR MOONSHINE – Unquestionably well handicapped on the best of his form from 2014 when he finished runner up to Maggio in a Listed handicap chase at Kelso off a rating of 149 – eleven pounds higher than he carries this afternoon. Pulled up three times in a row last winter, trainer Sue Smith gave him a year off to freshen him up before he returned over hurdles at Haydock for an easy success and if he repeats that effort over fences (and doesn’t bounce), he is clearly the one they all have to beat.
4 MILBOROUGH – Stays for ever as witnessed with a win at Newcastle over four miles plus in the Eider Chase of 2015, and comes here in preference to a tilt at the Uttoxeter National on Saturday. Dropped five pounds for his last run he is only a pound higher than his last win today but will surely need a truly run race to bring his stamina in to play and may not get that today in this field.
5 TULLAMORE DEW – May find this slightly easier than last time out when put in his place by Soll and four others at Sandown on heavy ground and may prefer the better surface today even if he did win over course and distance on it two races ago. Put up elven pounds for that win, he seemed sure to struggle regardless and a drop of three pounds today may not be enough to see him add to his other career victories.
6 BARAFUNDLE – Two seconds and a third from five runs around here suggest he likes the track and with most of his wins at this trip he needs to be considered. Third here last time out in a weaker race, he has been allowed four pounds grace for that run and has already won off of higher ratings so place chances are very much the minimum connections should be looking for today.
7 HARRY THE VIKING – Keeps knocking on the door but no one ever lets him in! After twenty-two runs since his last success, way back in December 2011, he is hard to fancy today though he has placed nine times so clearly has talent even if he invariably finds one or more too good for him these days.
8 RESTLESS HARRY – Put up to a rating of 141 after beating Bendant seventeen lengths at Newbury in February 2014, he has won since (once), but he has struggled ever since with connections patiently waiting for the handicapper to finally relent. He has run reasonably against some of the better staying handicappers without ever threatening the judge, but has been dropped another six pounds today and has his best chance of victory for some time and certainly has a squeak at a decent price.
9 HOWARDS LEGACY – Not looked the same horse this season as last with two very poor efforts at Ludlow and Exeter (a well beaten ninth and then pulled up when beaten), and is difficult to fancy. May act better on this quicker ground but has a bit to prove before we can even consider backing him.
10 SETTLEDOUTOFCOURT – Not one to trust and rarely runs two races the same. Did win here over further three races ago but has failed to catch the eye twice since and is not for us this Sunday afternoon.
11 SCOTSWELL – One of the youngsters at the tender age of ten, and ran his best race for some time when third to Auldthunder at Sedgefield over three and a quarter miles. Put down a surprising three pounds for that, he can certainly win off his current mark but may need more of a stamina test than he is likely to get on the quicker ground today to be seen at his best.
myracing Forecast Prices: 4/1 Mr Moonshine 9/2 Anay Turge, Firth Of The Clyde 8/1 Restless Harry, Tullamore Dew, 12/1 Harry The Viking, 14/1 Barafundle, Milborough 16/1 Scotswell, Howards Legacy, Settledoutofcourt