News broke yesterday that July Cup (6f) and Prix Foret (7f) winner Limato will contest the Breeders’ Cup Mile in Santa Anita on Bonfire Night next month; he was cut from 4s to 3/1 at BetVictor behind the American wonder mare and holder of the Mile crown Tepin who remains our 6/4 market leader.
All eyes will be on the chase debut of Thistlecrack (3.35) as the World Hurdler runs in the Novice Chase at Chepstow; the eight-year-old was quite imperious over timber last season winning his five races by an average of 8L and his wins at Cheltenham and Aintree were quite sublime.
Trainer Colin Tizzard has suggested that, as he will be nine in the spring, he will go straight to the Gold Cup rather than down the Novice route although he is making a “low-key” beginning. The gelding is currently 6/1 joint favourite (incredible when you think he has not jumped a fence in public) at BetVictor for the Gold Cup.
There is a cracking Novice Hurdle to open the card and Laser Light (1.30) represents the inform Alan King yard; the selection won a Towcester bumper on soft ground back in February and was put away by connections. It should be noted that the horse who beat him in an Irish point last November was Robin Roe who was a 12l winner at Aintree on his hurdles debut on Sunday.
Boa Island (2.00) jumped like a buck at Wincanton on Sunday and Paul Nicholls wastes no time in getting his dual point winner back on the track; for a novice his jumping was great to see and he will be hard to beat if over Sunday’s exertions. Nicholls suggested he might run at Ascot at the weekend; note if the rain arrives do look out for Highway Storm who has always threatened to make up in a decent staying chaser for Rebecca Curtis.
Persian Delight (4.05) has been off the track since he was a beaten favourite in the Aintree bumper of 2015; that was a top class race and the selection had previously won a Taunton bumper (soft ground) by 12 lengths. Another trained by the champion trainer who has his string in such good form.
Less rain is forecast at Bangor where the ground is likely to be on the fast side of good; Value At Risk (2.40) is given one last chance in the 2m 4f novice chase having jumped well on his reappearance before finishing tamely at Uttoxeter. The bottom line is that he is not as good as we first hoped he would be although his effort at the Staffordshire track there might be something wrong with his breathing.
Noel Fehily rides Blake Dean (3.45) for Gordon Elliot and the Irish raider will appreciate dropping back in trip having looked a non-stayer at Hexham last time over an additional three furlongs. The selection had earlier won over timber at Perth and connections look to have found a very winnable race.
At Catterick La Fritillaire (2.55) is only 3lbs higher than when scoring at Pontefract last time and I hope the filly makes this a decent test having won over 2m 1f last time; the Godolphin horse who finished runner up to the selection on the level earlier in the month ran a cracking race over timber at Cheltenham on Saturday and I feel she has more to offer.