IN SUMMARY: Trainer Kerry Lee capped her excellent first season with a Grade 1 success here on Sunday and Top Gamble has a good chance to provide her with another notable victory. However, the form of the gelding’s clearcut success over former Champion Chase winner Dodging Bullets at Newbury last month shouldn’t be taken at face value and today’s opposition may provide greater resistance. At the prices, the suggestion is SIZING GRANITE (8/1 E/W), who is yet to show his best form this season but was a Grade 1 winner at last year’s Aintree festival and was probably unsuited by the heavy ground when behind Flemenstar in December. The 8yo lost all chance when blundering at the first fence at Cheltenham last month but is worth persevering with.
1 Flemenstar – Getting quite long in the tooth now and hasn’t been able to match his best form since returning from a long absence in November; still good enough to gain hard-fought success in Grade 1 contest at Leopardstown (2m1f, heavy) just after Christmas, though, and is a danger to all if bouncing back from his disappointing performance in the Ascot Chase last month.
2 Sizing Granite – Struggled on the heavy ground when behind Flemenstar at Leopardstown in December and made chance-ending blunder at first fence in Champion Chase at Cheltenham a fortnight ago; however, it would be foolish to write him off at this stage and he’s a big player if still capable of the form that saw him win a Grade 1 novice chase at last year’s Aintree festival.
3 Twinlight – Beat two rivals to win this race in 2015 but hasn’t been firing on all cylinders since then; took step back in right direction when second to Days Hotel at Naas (2m, heavy) last month but never looked likely to threaten the winner; 6lb better off with that rival today but still needs to up his game,
4 Days Hotel – Five-times a Grade 2 winner over fences, most recently when making all at Naas (2m, heavy) last month; might not be quite as effective on the better ground here and is always vulnerable to a top-notch chaser, but is evidently in good heart and can give a decent account.
5 Top Gamble – Placed in valuable handicaps over 2m4f and 2m5f this season and proved well suited by drop to 2m when convincing winner of Newbury Grade 2 (2m, soft) last month; his main market rival (Dodging Bullets) probably wasn’t fully revved up that day, but that still goes down as an excellent performance and he’s a leading contender for this.
6 Ludo Et Emergo – Produced a useful performance to win a Limerick handicap (2m1f, soft) a year ago but was well beaten on sole appearance this season (in November) and is out of his depth here.
myracing Forecast Prices: 5/4 Top Gamble, 4/1 Flemenstar, 9/2 Days Hotel, 5/1 Twinlight, 8/1 Sizing Granite, 50/1 Ludo Et Emergo