A field of seven go to post for the fourth race of the day at Uttoxeter on Tuesday evening, see our betting tips and the full race preview below.
IN SUMMARY: After winning the 2016 renewal of the Grand Annual off an 18lb higher mark, it would be hugely disappointing if SOLAR IMPULSE couldn’t win this for Christopher Kellett. He has run well the last twice at both Aintree and Southwell, with that latest run a second behind an inform rival. He remains on the same mark and he should be up for taking this contest under Dave Crosse with conditions to suit. The obvious dangers are Red Riverman and Virnon, with the former preferred for each way places after two second places the last twice.
1 ROYAL PLAZA – Lightly raced six year old for Alan King who hasn’t been disgraced on two chasing starts to date, finishing placed on both occasions. He was last seen at Ffos Las in June when a long second, coming home strongly to snatch that position in the final strides. On that evidence a drop back in trip wouldn’t be the obvious move, but he remains with potential over these obstacles and he couldn’t be ruled out. Possible each way claims.
2 SOLAR IMPULSE – 2016 Grand Annual winner at the Cheltenham Festival and although he clearly isn’t up to that level anymore, he produced his best effort in some time when second at Southwell two weeks ago. He remains on the same mark and considering he was rated 18lb higher when winning that Festival race, he can surely take victory off a mark of 122. Dave Crosse takes the ride and with conditions to suit, surely he can notch up a fifth career victory at such a low level.
3 AVIDITY – Inconsistent eight year old who is rated eight pounds lower over fences than he is over hurdles, though he can be very sketchy in this discipline. He was a 23 lengths second at Kelso back in May and off three pounds lower on his latest start he pulled up at Aintree. This is an easier race but he has been beaten a fair way on all the starts he has finished of late and others look far more solid proposition.
4 VIRNON – Took his first chasing victory when winning at Market Rasen on his penultimate start and he was only raised two pounds as a result of that. He was last seen at Southwell, falling at the first fence so it’s impossible to gauge anything from that run. Nevertheless, judging by his hurdling mark he should be able to do further damage off a mark of 115 in this discipline. Leighton Aspell takes the ride and with conditions to suit, he’s one to consider.
5 THE YANK – Quirky sort who hasn’t been at his best the last twice and he needs to revive if he’s to be playing any sort of role in this contest for David Bridgwater. He weakened tamely on his latest start at Newton Abbot and he likely will need a soft lead if he’s to be taking this, which isn’t guaranteed in this field. He’s now only two pounds above his last winning mark but others make far more appeal on this occasion.
6 RED RIVERMAN – Nine year old for Nigel Twiston-Davies who is creeping towards the veteran stage of his career, returning from huge absence on his latest start at Cartmel. He finished second in the race in a big effort after 19 months off the track, only headed towards the finish in unlucky style. He remains on the same mark and if in the same form again he’d have to be considered a big danger under Sam Twiston-Davies. That said, he’s turned out very quickly after such a long absence which is a concern.
7 RED GIANT – Looked promising at points in 2016, winning a novices’ hurdle at Kilbeggan when still with Noel Meade but his form has tumbled since and he looks very regressive. He made his debut for Jennie Candlish on his latest start, finishing last over today’s trip after a very poor round of jumping. Hard to see him playing any sort of role in this and others are readily preferred.