Quentin Collonges ran well for most of the race before starting to make jumping errors, which may have been caused by lack of fitness. Certainly still one to keep an eye on next time out.
Return Spring looked to be winning coming up the hill at decent odds until McCoy managed to conjure a driving run from Sunnyhill Boy to win in the final strides.
Some decent racing but once again a few of the best races have very few runners but I would expect Kings Palace, The New One and Gemix to win the big hurdle races. We are in action in three races from Cheltenham and Doncaster with single selections in each race.
I have posted this evening as all three selections are being backed so take a price with a best odds guarantee.
1.15 Cheltenham Jenny Mould Memorial Handicap Chase (CLASS 2) (4yo+)
An interesting race this with three Nicky Henderson old hands against some up and coming youngsters like Eastlake and Drumshambo.
Eastlake is the likely favourite and has a decent strike rate over fences and we tipped him when he was third at Cheltenham last time. He looked to me to lack a bit of pace in that race and that could catch him out again here.
Drumshambo has a similar profile to Eastlake and of the two is more likely to win this, but he may be out fought by one of the older horses.
Nick Henderson runs four horses in this and three of them are in the top four rated. Interestingly Barry Geraghty has gone for Tanks for That rather than French Opera or Petit Robin.
French Opera appears a bit one paced in the final stages of his races and often places rather than wins. I expect the same again here as several of these are quicker across the ground.
Petit Robin is too high in the weights presently and needs to drop about ten pounds before winning again.
Tanks for That is what I would call a pattern horse and generally if you can spot the pattern you can make some decent money. Barry Geraghty selecting the horse suggests he is going the best of the four Henderson horses at home. Tanks for That has not been out of the top two when running on better than soft over 2m – 2m 1f after a break of 8 weeks or more. He meets those circumstances tomorrow and can deliver a win at generous odds.
2.25 Cheltenham Stewart Family Thank You Gold Cup (A Handicap Chase) (Grade 3) (CLASS 1) (4yo+
Colour Squadron which chased home John’s Spirit here last time is the current favourite but he comes well down my ratings chart.
Both Colour Squadron and John’s Spirit have gone up the weights considerably and I think that will be their undoing coming up the hill here.
Salut Flo is the potential fly in the ointment as he has not run for two years and has had problems; however when he has run he has been impressive.
Champion Court looking at the betting may not run as only a few bookmakers are offering prices. He has too much weight to carry here so may well be better off waiting for an easier task.
Cantlow bounced back to form last time but has gone up eight pounds for that in a better race here. Tony McCoy has also chosen to ride Colour Squadron for the in form Philip Hobbs team.
Attaglance ran his best race over fences last time when finishing fourth to John’s Spirit but has yet to win a chase in seven attempts. His hurdle rating suggests there is more improvement to come over fences but I think there are others with better claims.
I have rarely heard Paul Nicholls talk up one of his horses chances more than he did this week of Grandioso. Grandioso finished third behind Cantlow last time and Nicholls has stated he had missed some work and would come on a lot for the race. The handicapper has been lenient and I would expect him to come late here and pass tiring horses.
3.15 Doncaster BetVictor Handicap Chase (CLASS 2) (4yo+)
Neither of the top two in the betting feature in the top four of the ratings and that knocks out Carrigmorna King and Bears Affair. When this happens it gives us the chance to look for some value.
Aimigayle has been dropping down the ratings until recently and gets in here on a very low weight; however his top rating is based on winning a couple of decent chases as a novice.
De Boitron is definitely a threat here but has gone up in the weights for two wins in his last four. I think he will struggle to win this off his present mark.
Lost Glory is also a threat as he has dropped down in class here and has a pull at the weights with De Boitron. He was disappointing last time and may need a longer break to recover.
At first glance looking at Harry the Viking’s recent form you may wonder why I am picking him! He has been running over a lot further and in a much higher class and consequently his figures are poor. However as you go back through his form he has won over today’s distance and class, but more importantly is 2/2 at Doncaster. I do not think Paul Nicholls would send him all the way from Somerset unless he was back and firing. Ryan Mahon rides and I have been very impressed with him this season – definitely a young guy on the up.
Good luck and have a great weekend.