I have not always been approving of the idea of describing race meetings as festivals or carnivals – frankly, I still believe that carnivals only really happen in Rio or Notting Hill! However after the beautiful winter sunshine that was enjoyed at Newbury on Friday maybe the Ladbrokes Winter Carnival is indeed named correctly.
There is certainly no doubt that this meeting is more than a bit special and the racing at the track on Saturday promises to be both informative and exciting. Hopefully we can make it more so with a winner or two.
His tendency to get behind mid-race and then stay on valiantly in the last half-mile of these big contests might well be the reason why this admirable high-class chaser has not quite reached championship status.
Blinkers may prove not to be the answer, but giving them a try is a really good idea in my view and if they liven him up as I think they will, he might well have the class to beat a strong field.
Elegant Escape ran his usual race in the Charlie Hall at Wetherby on his reappearance, showing that he had lost nothing in terms of consistency and resolution. He is likely to come on for that too.
In short, he is completely straightforward, has definitely earned his rating, and almost all the opposition in this big race have at least one question to answer. He looks a really good each-way bet, despite his big weight.
It is looking as though the ground is going to be quicker than might have been expected for this meeting and that will not harm my selection here.
He won two small-field novices last season but was then pitched in too deep at Cheltenham and after hitting one halfway around, he appeared to lose confidence.
He did not want to know at Aintree on his final start but I am hopeful that a wind op and a summer off has rekindled the spark. He certainly does not appear to be overburdened in the handicap.
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