KALA CONTI 15/2 generally – 0.75 POINTS E/W
The strong favourite here is Storm Heart who is trained by Willie Mullins. No doubt he was visually impressive when winning by 22 lengths at Punchestown last time out and he may well improve again. The trouble I have and the reason at this stage I am happy to take him on at the price is, I am not convinced by the quality of the field he beat and I believe a few more in this race may well have done the same thing. He could obviously win, he look a good horse but he is not for me at 6/4 and I will be taking him on with KALA CONTI who is improving with every start. The Gordon Elliott trained horse has been running at a decent level on his last two starts, a Grade 3 at Fairyhouse in December where he came home 2nd and then he stepped up to Grade 2 company over the Christmas period, at this course, winning by a length, to another of todays runners in Kargese. I think KALA CONTI has much more to come as he didn’t settle that well last time out, yet won with a bit in hand and jumped well on the whole. like the fact that KALA CONTI has winning form at the course and not only winning form, but Grade 2 winning form.
I think he makes the frame at the very least and with a bit of luck and improvement, he can give the favourite plenty to think about. E/W.
WEST BALBOA 7/1 generally – 1 POINT E/W (5 places, 1/5 odds)
I am surprised WEST BALBOA is a big a price as she is. Yes she has to carry top weight but this is a graded horse running in a handicap off a mark of 143. Last time out she was sent off 3/1 fav for a the Grade 1 Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot against horses like Crambo, Paisley Park, Champ, Dashel Drasher. She underperformed trailing in last, but I am happy to put a line through that form as it was Grade 1 company and she was having an off day, as Mares do so often.
Previous to that she was an easy winner at Aintree and back last year, an easy winner again Aintree in a competitive handicap, off an 8lb lower handicap mark.
WEST BALBOA is a very lightly raced 8 year old with just 7 runs to her name, so she still has plenty of improvement to come.
She also likes going right handed as she was 2nd at this course last year, coming back from 339 days off the track and followed this up with a win in the Lanzarote Hurdle at Kempton.
Tristan Durrell takes the ride and he claims 3lb bringing her weight down slightly and looking through the field, I don’t see many horses as classy as WEST BALBOA.
With 5 places on offer this is a great bet in my opinion and I am even happy to raise the stakes. E/W.