Silver Trophy Handicap Hurdle tips for Saturday’s Grade 3 race at Chepstow. A huge field of 18 go to post in an ultra-competitive early season handicap. Read on for our free betting tips, predictions and analysis.
IN SUMMARY: This is a tough handicap to crack and there could be some value in DRUMCLIFF. Harry Fry’s runner doesn’t hold the strongest form in the race but a mark of 125 could be rather lenient and he can take advantage here. Wholestone brings solid form into the race and deserves a prominent market position whilst Souriyan should go well having hit a purple match of late.
1 OLD GUARD – Has some excellent form to his name in strong races but he looks vulnerable today off a mark of 150 in this handicap event. He’ll need to be spot on following a winter break and the presence of a 5lb claimer suggests he’s high enough in the weights today.
2 ALARY – Hasn’t progressed since arriving in the UK from France. He’s only completed once in three starts and he was a long-way behind in the Ryanair Chase. This is obviously easier and the switch to hurdles is an interesting move. Has questions to answer here.
3 WHOLESTONE – Lightly-raced sort who has won an impressive 5 times from 9 races including two Grade 2 events. A mark of 145 looks reasonable and the drop in trip should be fine although he may just want the ground to dry out a bit over this shorter trip.
4 THREE MUSKETEERS – Drops in trip on his first start of the season having been tried over 3m and further on his final two starts of last season. A mark of 145 looks more realistic for Dan Skelton’s runner but Harry rides his stablemate which is concerning for this runner.
5 LE ROCHER – Bumped into a runaway winner at Fontwell last time out but he had shown continued progression right through the winter of last season and he should continue that here. A mark of 143 looks fair and he commands respect with Tom Scudamore booked to ride again.
6 RIVER FROST – Steadily improved throughout last season having arrived at Alan King’s yard from France. He has form over shorter which is a positive here and he looks versatile in terms of ground so there’s plenty to like. Barry Geragthy rides and the stable is flying (35% strike rate in the past fortnight).
7 COURT MINSTREL – Has been a grand servant to connections now aged 10. He was well-held in a Stratford handicap last month and whilst a 2lb drop in the weights is welcome, he looks up against it in this stronger race. Best watched.
8 SAM SPINNER – Lightly-raced 5yo who improved at a rate of knots last season. He makes his first handicap start today off a mark of 136 which looks reasonable although he has a bit more to prove than a few of his rivals based on form. Interesting sort though.
9 BAGS GROOVE – Was well-beaten in a Listed novice hurdle back in February and he’s yet to take his form to the next level. He won a weak novice hurdle at Taunton on his final start of the season and he has something to prove today in a Graded contest for the first time.
10 DOESYOURDOGBITE – Struggled when stepped up in grade late last season having taken advantage in a couple of weaker novice hurdles and a Class 3 handicap. A mark of 133 leaves him a pound above that last handicap win but this is far stronger.
11 LOUIS’ VAC POUCH – Has been raised 7lbs for a Class 3 handicap success at Market Rasen in April following a head success off a mark of 125. He improved towards the end of last season and he likes this ground so he’s entitled to go well. Has something to find on form though.
12 SOURIYAN – One of the few runners in this with guaranteed fitness having had a couple of recent runs. He won both of those starts, exploiting a low handicap mark and he’s been raised 19lbs in just two starts. He’s progressing quickly at present and he’s worth respect in this tougher grade.
13 WHATDUHAVTOGET – Finished second in a relatively strong Class 2 handicap at Ayr on her last start of last season. A mark of 130 could be generous for this lightly-raced mare and she’s the choice of Harry Skelton which looks significant. Respected.
14 SUMKINDOFKING – Finished midfield in a Grade 3 event at Aintree in April and Tom George’s runner needs to improve on that performance to be in with a chance here. He’s only a pound lower today but there was market support for him that day and support would be significant here.
15 WISHING AND HOPING – Wasn’t suited to fences having fallen twice in succession last winter. He ran with promise at Kempton in a Class 3 handicap when he finished third of 13 over 2m 5f and a mark of 128 remains workable. This is tougher though and he will need to have improved over the winter.
16 DRUMCLIFF – An interesting sort for the Harry Fry stable lingering on a low mark of 125. There’s a suspicion that he could be much better than that rating and he has a chance to prove that here in conditions that will suit. Niall Madden comes over to ride.
17 MILROW – Has shown improved form since switched to the Sophie Leech yard including a placed effort in a Class 2 handicap at Newbury last time out. He may have been flattered by that performance and he’s opposed in this stronger race.
18 PEAK TO PEAK – Interesting entry from a top stable. He’s won four of his 7 career starts including a couple of novice hurdle events in April. A mark of 125 may be generous if he’s improved over the summer and he has a C&D win to his name which is a major positive. He looks versatile in terms of ground. Interesting.