IN SUMMARY – On paper, this looks like a very keenly contested race, but there aren’t many runners who bring good form with them to the Midlands. DALIANCE is the only horse two have won convincingly this season, so he could be a real danger in his first crack at fences since winning a similar race at Southwell in April ’14. I think he will put in another good performance here.
1 OSCAR MAGIC – Came back this season after an almost 18 months lay-off and hasn’t had much to celebrate so far. Finished second on his return, but came in 17 lengths behind the winner. Dropped down to a Class 4 for his next appearance, but finished last in a race much weaker than this.
2 DALIANCE – Has shown good form this season, winning two of his five starts in handicap hurdles. Eased to a nine length victory at Huntington at the start of the year, then bounced back from a weak performance later that month, by winning on his last appearance at Fakenham in early February. Noel Williams’ yard have been in good form and his jockey boasts a 7llb weight allowance.
3 IONA DAYS – A lightly raced eleven year old who has performed to a decent level in his two outings, finishing a distant fifth here in November, before finishing second as the top weight in a small field at Southwell. Hasn’t won since the summer of 2012, shouldn’t be a danger here either.
4 ONE FOR THE BOSS – Another consistent 2m 4f runner who has hasn’t raced much this season. Although reappearing in November, his next race wasn’t until the start of this month. Neither runs have offered too much, he was pulled up when struggling at Chepstow, then finished 32 lengths behind the winner at Leicester three weeks ago.
5 NO THROUGH ROAD – Usually a three miler, but he has been dropped down in distance for the second time this season, in an attempt to stop his recent ratings slide. He finished third over this distance at Hexham, without ever really threatening the top two and has had three disappointing results over longer trips since.
6 SPECIAL WELLS – OR has dropped by ten points since the start of the season, after failing to deliver finish better than third in any of his five starts, despite being highly fancied in most of them. Was last seen a few weeks ago finishing a long way behind the leaders in a three mile contest at Catterick.
7 BROOK – A promising four year old, who was rated at 129 when setting out for his maiden five year old run. Results since then have been highly disappointing, with fifth place the best he’s been able to finish, leaving his rating at an all time low of 107. Could be a danger is he can live up to his promise, but that hasn’t looked like happening yet.
8 VALSEUR DU GRANVAL – Returned this season with a promising third after a near two year absence, where he finished just over three lengths behind the winner with Sam Twiston-Davies in the saddle. His two performances since haven’t been as good and he’s yet to travel over any trip over two miles in his career so far. Only time will tell whether he can last the trip.
9 THATCHERS GOLD – Finished strongly to win over course and distance here on his first appearance of the season. Howaboutnever was third that day and has since gone on to win a big Class 3 at Newbury this month. Has only ran on heavy ground since then, so the soft going will be welcome.
10 GAMBOL – He’s gone off at some big prices in his last three contest, including finishing second last in a high quality Class 4 last time out. The two previous races weren’t too dissimilar on quality to this one, but he still finished where his 25/1 starting price reflected. His rating has dropped 16 points since running over course and distance here in September, but that wasn’t a bad performance with Richard Johnson in the saddle, could fancy his chances again.
11 EATON ROCK – Was handed a D/Q victory at Lingfield in early November, but stayed on well from an 11/4 starting price. Ended up fourth when going off as the favourite next tie out and finished fourth again in a near three miler in late January. Won a Class 5 over course and distance last January, and this will be his first visit back to the track since.
myracing Forecast Prices: 5/1 Valseur du Granval 6/1 Oscar Magic 7/1 Brook, Gambol, Special Wells, Daliance, Iona Days 10/1 One For The Boss 12/1 No Through Road 14/1 Eaton Rock, Thatchers Gold