CRAMBO 7/1 generally – 0.5 POINTS E/W (5 places, 1/5 odds)
HENRI THE SECOND 7/1 generally – 0.5 POINTS E/W (5 places, 1/5 odds)
We have 2 selections in this race.
CRAMBO is a horse who Fergal O’Brien thinks a lot of and I can’t help but think he is better than his handicap mark of 123. He was a winner on debut over hurdles at Ascot, doing all his best work at the end of the race. He was then sent to Newbury for the Challow Novice Hurdle and was quietly fancied but unfortunately he was pulled up behind Hermes Allen. He quickly had his wind operated on so immediately you can say he had his excuses with the ground. The way I am reading it though is, if they thought he was good enough for a Grade 1, he is surely way better than 123.
He then returned at Bangor last time out and was an easy winner.
This is a step up in class once again but is one horse who could possibly be way ahead of the handicapper. E/W.
HENRI THE SECOND has been disappointing since winning a Grade 2 at this course back in December but a return to a course he clearly loves, I am confident he can get things back on track. Although I say he has been disappointing, he was 2nd to Pikar last time out, he is a decent horse. HENRI THE SECOND was described as a horse who had so much raw ability when winning here in December and described him as possibly the best novice in the yard. As mentioned above it hasn’t worked out since but what you can expect is improvement with every run. He is now rated 133, which again, could be below what he is capable of when he reaches his full potential. He does carry top weight which is not ideal on this ground but they could have put a claimer on but they are happy for Harry Cobden still to ride him. This does not look the best handicap hurdle and he could just possibly be too classy for these. E/W.
METIER 9/1 generally – 0.5 POINTS E/W ( 6 places, 1/5 odds)
The mud loving METIER and this tip is based solely on the ground. The softer the better and with the ground described as heavy, he surely has a big chance. His form on heavy ground reads 71111, that is 4 wins from 5 starts on bottomless ground and you simply can’t ignore that form. Sometimes it is best to keep it very simple and not over-complicate things.
Sean Bowen takes the ride and he is one of, if not the strongest jockey in a finish when the going gets tough. It is sure to get very tough here and with him in the saddle, if METIER is close enough come the last hurdle, Sean Bowen is sure to get him home. E/W.
GOLDEN WHISKY 4/1 generally – 1 POINT WIN
Another horse who loves the mud is GOLDEN WHISKY. He is by Flemensfirth so straight away that tells you all you need to know when it comes to soft ground. He has not been seen since December when 2nd to the Fugitif but that form has taken a big boost with Fugitif coming 2nd to IL Ridoto at Cheltenham on Festival Trials Day. GOLDEN WHISKY also sits on the same handicap mark of 128 which is 2lb lower than his last winning mark 15 months ago.
GOLDEN WHISKY is also the only horse Evan Williams takes to Sandown and it is also the only ride of Adam Wedge.
Surely they are not making that long trip from Wales just to make up the numbers. WIN.