The heavy rain that has fallen around the country will be music to the ears of many National Hunt trainers and punters after a prolonged dry spell. The ground in Ffos Las today is officially described as heavy and there could be a few shock results with the ground now riding so different.
Although defying a potential win for Relax in the Walters UK Ltd Handicap Chase at 2:40 as a shock would be over stretching the mark as he’s just a 9/2 shot, it’s best to remember that this is a horse whose last three runs have all seen him be pulled up.
We’re not concentrating on those flops on unsuitable ground though, and would rather speak about his facile success at Doncaster back in February, where he won like a horse going places.
Things quite haven’t fallen for him in his next four outings, where trainer Venetia Williams decided to pitch him in at the top end of staying handicap chases, including the Scottish Grand National and the Kim Muir at the Cheltenham Festival.
The confidence behind his chances was very strong for his reappearance at Haydock in a much deeper race than today’s, but he clearly wasn’t as fit as Williams though as after jumping well and being in contention with five to jump, he weakened quickly and was pulled up with jockey Liam Treadwell seemingly happy to save his mark and give him an easy race.
He is only 5lb higher than for that Doncaster success now and strikes as a horse with plenty of scope and potential. We’re going feet-first with a 3pt win today.
Meanwhile, in regards to looking ahead to Cheltenham, the clear horse to note over the weekend was Champion Hurdle contender and now ante-post favourite The New One, who once again floored a top-class rival in the shape of Zarkandar in the International Hurdle at Cheltenham.
We’re sitting quite pretty at the moment with our 8/1 ante-post voucher for the festival as the Nigel Twiston-Davies superstar is now no bigger than 7/2 to follow up his win in the Neptune Investments Novices hurdle with a Champion Hurdle success. Punters will be licking the lips at the prospect of a matchup between The New One and Champion Hurdle second favourite My Tent Or Yours, who made a winning reappearance in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle, in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton Park on Boxing Day.
The early prices from sponsors William Hill make The New One the 8/11 favourite with the Nicky Henderson runner at 11/8. It’s sure to be an epic encounter.
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