FUGITIF 8/1 generally – 1 POINT E/W (4 places, 1/5 odds)
I have been lining up FUGITIF for this race since he finished 4th in the Paddy Power Gold Cup back in November. I loved the way he travelled and jumped throughout and he only got tired from the second last fence because he was fresh and ran a bit free. Now with that run underneath his belt, I am expecting a fitter horse and a more relaxed horse. I did have my doubts about the horse going into the Paddy Power Gold Cup and whether he could perform off a mark of 153 and he proved me wrong. He has since been dropped 2lb to a mark of 151 and now I have seen what he can do off 153, I have no doubt he is right in the mix here off 151. FUGITIF is a very consistent horse trained by Richard Hobson. He rarely runs a bad race and has excellent form around today’s new course. He was 2nd over course and distance back in January and then ran a career best to come home 2nd of 23 to Seddon in the Plate Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. Gavin Sheehan takes the ride and he is riding out of his skin this season. From his last 17 rides (at the time of writing), he had rode 6 winners, 3 2nds, and 2 3rds.
I think the value on offer for FUGITIF is outstanding and I am happy to raise the stake.
Thunder Rock is the current favourite and looks the one to beat but is plenty short enough for a horse who has no real experience in these sorts of race.
IL Ridoto would be a kick in the teeth if he wins this race and it is quite possible as he run well in the Paddy Power Gold Cup but he couldn’t take advantage of a 5lb claim that day and I am not overly keen with Bryony in the saddle.
Monmiral is the horse who Harry Cobden has chosen and he could be the best handicapped horse in the race if he finds his Novice Hurdle form. So far though he is a maiden over fences and at the price, I am not one to try and take a guess.
You have to fear any Emmet Mullins horse and he has So Scottish while Fakir D’Oudaries is surely going to find it very difficult off a mark of 162.
It is a cracking looking race but FUGITIF loves these types of races and is as consistent as they come and jumps for fun. He will do for me.
BROADWAY BOY 7/2 generally – 1 POINT WIN
BROADWAY BOY could not have been any more impressive at Cheltenham in November and that followed on from his excellent 2nd to Flooring Porter back in October. This horse is progressing fast and looks a proper chaser. Back in November he won by a huge 20 lengths and when they tried to come to him, he kicked again and clearly has stamina in abundance. It is good to see Sam Twiston Davies back in the saddle as this is a horse who likes to go from the front and the stronger the jockey the better. I think he is really going to stretch this field and on this ground, he could have them all in trouble behind. Nigel Twiston Davies horses are also flying along and although BROADWAY BOY is up to 146 in the handicap, I think he is more than up to it and still a good 5lb ahead of the handicapper at this stage of his career. WIN.