HILLCREST 4/1 generally – 1 POINT WIN
All eyes will be on I Am Maximus here who is trained by Nicky Henderson and the only horse to beat My Drogo (apart from when he fell). I Am Maximus will also improve for the step up in trip so will be hard to beat but this is going to be a real test and I am not 100% convinced that is what he wants at this stage of his career. In soft ground this is going to be like a 3 mile race and with that in mind HILLCREST is a stand out. He is trained by Henry Daly and is an absolutely huge horse. In fact Henry Daly quoted ”my measuring stick goes up to 18 hands and it won’t go over him. I don’t know how big he is because of that”. I think the quote tells us all we need to know about how big HILLCREST is.
A horse who is made for chasing and I will predict before he even jumps a fence that he is the perfect Welsh National Horse, which won’t be for another 2 years.
In the meantime I have been impressed with what he has done so far over hurdles. with 2 wins at Aintree and Wetherby and jumped for fun. He is that big he just steps over the hurdles.
A course like Cheltenham is going to suit as he also has a very big stride and can gallop and gallop. I expect HILLCREST to make the running and I believe he can outstay these going up the hill. I don’t think speed is going to come into this, which will be I Am Maximus biggest weapon, it will be stamina which will win this race which is HILLCREST biggest weapon. WIN.
THE WOLF 9/2 generally – 1 POINT WIN
UNDERSUPERVISION 9/2 generally – 1 POINT WIN
We have 2 selections in this race in search of the winner.
I was taken by the performance of THE WOLF last time out even though he came home 4th to Two For Gold in a tough handicap chase, he was travelling supremely well but made a big mistake 3 out and Heskin lost his irons. He could not recover and lost his rhythm, yet only went down by 5 lengths. Would he have won but for the mistake, I guess it was too far out but my intuition tells me he would have won and that means his handicap mark would have been raised. Instead he stays on the same handicap mark of 136. Soft ground is what he wants and normally he is a very sound jumper. I think he will close here and hopefully make amends for a race which slipped by last time out. WIN.
UNDERSUPERVISION ran a nice enough race last time out at Cheltenham to come home 3rd of 6 to Corach Rambler. That race was on the back of falling at Cheltenham in November so it would have done his confidence only good things, to get home with a clear round of jumping. On his first start of fences in October he would have beaten Does He Know but for running through the rails when coming up the hill. He is a horse who has always done better on soft ground and given he has been running on good ground on his 3 starts over fences, you have to expect a fair bit of improvement on slower ground. He is rated 136 by the handicapper which could still be workable and if this gets into a battle up the hill, as it so often does in these conditions, having the strong Sam Twiston Davies on your side always helps up this hill. WIN.