There is some competitive action at Ayr and Newbury on Saturday – which will both be shown live on Racing TV – and I have four each-way fancies. Best of luck.
Most bookies are going 1/5 odds, four places in this Scottish Champion hurdle so the 15 runners is not an issue.
I am not, in anyway, convinced that Cheltenham suits this horse despite the fact he ran well there last October.
He made his name taking a typical Alan King Juvenile route via Kempton to the Triumph and got to the destination impressively, only to find heavy ground on the day making that race totally unsuitable.
He has shown improved form on the all-weather through the winter – he was a non-stayer over two miles recently - and this race, which his locally born trainer would presumably love to win, would seem ideal.
This horse came up against Sharja Bridge at Ascot on his final start last season and only just got beat.
I believe the winner will prove to be a Group Three horse at least this season and I don’t think it is impossible that Escobar will be either.
I am sure this one flirted with Guineas favouritism after an impressive start to his two-year-old career when trained by Hugo Palmer, but he never made that grade.
I believe that David O’Meara was only just getting him sorted out by the end of last season. The tongue tie is on and conditions are on the easy side but, most of all, O’Meara is in very good form this spring.
I usually write off horses who contest Cross Country races, but I am thinking I may have to have a rethink after what Tiger Roll did last week!
Kingswell Theatre is no Tiger Roll, but I think he has always been better than a mark of 137 and, in a wide-open race, he certainly doesn’t deserve to be 50-1 with William Hill who are paying six places.
A few strands of thought lead me to backing him, but the main positive is he definitely stays well and is trained by someone who excels with these types.
Kingswell Theatre is a prominent racer, generally best for this particular race and his run in the Cheltenham Cross Country could be viewed slightly more positively as he definitely went too quick, probably as a result of being fresh after his absence.
He has had a wind op and looks none the worse for it, so is worth a speculative punt for me.
Crosshue Boy is definitely one of the plot horses in this race, and it looked as though the original plot was Aintree, but he really didn’t seem to enjoy it when he went there in the Becher Chase.
He is a prolific winner over fences but has had two hurdle races at Wexford since Aintree and, as a result, is only 6lbs higher than when winning in very good style at this meeting last year.
His usual amateur rider is replaced by Sean Flanagan and the going will be similar to last year. I have missed fancy prices but, even though he is a prolific chase winner, I still think he has been kept less exposed than several in this field.