The demise of the meeting at Doncaster means that the cameras focus on the jumps action today at Wincanton and Aintree, covering seven races in all.
Feature race at the West Country track is the Badger Beers Silver Trophy Handicap Chase at 3.35, in which Present Man goes for an unprecedented three-peat under Bryony Frost.
We feel that this feat may be just beyond Paul Nicholls‘ 9-y-o and suggest a bet instead on White Moon at 11-2.
Would have won on seasonal debut on this course before going fetlock over stifle at the last fence and, even though 5lbs higher this afternoon, must have a great chance to redress the balance.
We also like the look of Sumkindofking from the in-form Tom George operation, which was second last year and is weighted to get the better of Present Man this time round. Take the 12-1 on offer, each way.
The Richard Barber Memorial Mares’ Handicap Hurdle at 1.50 is replete with good novices making their seasonal/handicap debuts, which is the definition of ‘nightmare’.
However, the obvious starting point is the horse trained by the late lamented Richard Barber‘s great friend Paul Nicholls and there will not be a dry eye in the ring if Danse Idol prevails. All sentiment aside, this 6-y-o has the right credentials and should be backed at 100-30.
Two others in this race catch our corporate eye and we also suggest each way bets on Midnightreferendum at 8-1 and Aimee De Sivola at 11-1.
The other two races at Wincanton are ‘watch and learn’ races, with Reserve Tank (2.25) and Fusil Raffles (3.00) both too short to back and very difficult to oppose.
Over to Aintree then, folks, where the Download The App At Virgin Bet Handicap Chase at 1.30 has thrown up a good bet in the shape of The Last Day.
Evan Williams‘ 7-y-o had a good novice chase season, winning once and twice finishing a close second behind much higher rated horses. Makes handicap debut off what would appear to be a lenient mark and we recommend a fair win bet at 9-4.
The valuable Virgin Bet Handicap Chase at 2.05 has a field of 10 and our interest is drawn to the Skelton representative Oldgrangewood, which is available to back at 5-1.
A winner off a mark of 145 just 8 runs ago, this 8-y-o spent most of last season running over 3m+, which, frankly, is beyond it. Given the pause that refreshes, plus a wind op, Oldgrangewood reverts to 2m4f today, on a course at which it has run really well in the past, so let’s hope ‘Get in, Harry’ will be ringing out at around 2.13pm.
The Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle at 2.40 completes the TV coverage and we think the somewhat ubiquitous Skeltons will be at it again with their runner Diomede Des Mottes, which warmed up for this with a staying on 4th in a Listed race over a wholly inadequate 2m4f. Back up to 3m today, this 6-y-o looks well handicapped and worth a punt at 5-2.
Be careful out there
White Moon 3.35 Wincanton 1.5pts e/w @ 11-2 (4 places)
Sumkindofking 3.35 Wincanton 1pt e/w @ 12-1 (4 places)
Danse Idol 1.50 Wincanton 4pts win @ 100-30
Midnightreferendum 1.50 Wincanton 1pt e/w @ 8-1 (4 places)
Aimee De Sivola 1.50 Wincanton 1pt e/w @ 11-1 (4 places)
The Last Day 1.30 Aintree 4pts win @ 9-4
Oldgrangewood 2.05 Aintree 2pts e/w @ 5-1
Diomede Des Mottes 2.40 Aintree 2pts win @ 5-2