Former Talksport man Charlie McCann marks your card with eight to follow on Saturday at Chepstow, Kempton, Wetherby and Leopardstown. View selections below
The big betting race of the day is the Coral Welsh National from Chepstow and there hasn’t been a winning favourite in the race since Silver Birch scored for Paul Nicholls back in 2004.My two against the field are the 2012 winner Monbeg Dude (race took place in 2013!) and Benbens (2.35) and the latter gets the each way vote at 14/1 with BetVictor.
The selection was still going well when coming down at Aintree last time but he has hinted that an extreme test of stamina would suit and his talented conditional takes off a valuable 5lbs.
The following 2m 4f Chase is a cracker and I take a chance on David Pipe’s Shoegazer (3.10) coming back from a season long absence. The stable can certainly get them ready following a lay-off and the recommendation finished second in this corresponding race two years ago off a 2lb higher mark. Deputy Dan has disappointed me over fences so far this season and was easily brushed aside at Exeter last time having scored in workmanlike fashion at Plumpton previously.
Big Hands Harry (12.55) somehow scored at Ascot last time despite consistently jumping out to the left and this track ought to suit him down to the ground. He has only been raised 3lbs for that effort and gets on well for his excellent conditional who, again, is very good value for his claim.
At Kempton I would be disappointed if Balder Succes (1.40) didn’t get back to winning ways having finished fourth in the Tingle Creek at Sandown last time. A Grade 1 winner as a novice it is possible that he will have to step up in trip in time but this looks a pretty ordinary Desert Orchid and Special Tiara is likely to ensure that it is run at a decent gallop.
Cowards Close (2.15) wouldn’t want too much overnight rain but is lightly-raced and open to significant improvement over fences for Paul Nicholls. Nick Schofield takes the ride and he has a perfect one for one record on the gelding having won a Novice Chase at Taunton back in April.
I think the handicapper may have erred giving Chatez (3.25) an opening mark of 128 for the finale and he gets in off a feather-weight of 10st 1 lb for Alan King and Wayne Hutchinson. The 4-year-old has landed both juvenile hurdles in the manner of a decent hurdler and he is rated 96 on the flat. He gets 2m well enough for a horse who has yet to win beyond a mile on the level but is a confident selection.
The Castleford Chase at Wetherby is not the race it once was but I hope Upsilon Bleu (2.40) can land the feature for Pauline Robson and James Reveley having won at Auteuil at the beginning of the month. Still only a 6-y-old the selection would not be inconvenienced by overnight rain and he is another who looks open to significant improvement.
At Leopardstown I think Foxrock (2.55) can go close despite top-weight in the Paddy Power Chase the big betting race of the day. The selection loves soft ground and could make up into a Grand National horse one day for Ted Walsh and Adrian Heskin. The selection was reported to have lost his front-shoes on his prep run but ran a cracker in the circumstances over a trip short of his best.