KALAHARI QUEEN looks the answer to this tricky mares’ chase. She did well to see off Little Miss Poet at Wetherby last month.
That was on decent ground but there’s a case to say she’s even better on softer.
Her two hurdles wins came on testing ground and she was runner-up behind Cheltenham Festival heroine Roksana in the mares’ hurdles final at Newbury on this day last year when conditions were softer.
Jamie Snowdon’s hope is incredibly consistent and that makes her a much more solid betting proposition than Kupatana.
Paul Nicholls’ mare could easily win but I don’t want to be getting involved with her at short prices when she’s dumped her jockey on the turf in three of her last four races.
On the one occasion she did get round she was beaten by Little Miss Poet. The weights say there’s not much between her and Kalahari Queen but my fancy’s jumping could easily win the day.
My Old Gold drops in distance after failing to overhaul Blue Flight at this track last month. Her jumping could also do with brushing up.
TALK OF THE TRACK Andy Ayres has the inside scoop from the tracks this week
GIVE the bookies in the ‘V’ for victory sign by backing WINSTON C.
He’s taken well to hurdles. After a promising third behind top prospect Brewin’Upastorm he had little trouble getting off the mark at Wincanton.
Last month’s Sandown success was another nice performance and he looks really progressive. The switch to handicaps will tell us how good he is but I reckon he’s up to the job.
Champagne City has proved he’s got races like this in him. He sat too close to a strong pace when fourth at Cheltenham in January and he was only run out of it close home by in-form Crooks Peak at Newbury three weeks ago.
Joke Dancer beat Albert’s Back at Newcastle last month. That was his first run for the best part of a year so it’s not hard to think he might improve enough to defy a 5lbs rise in the weights.
Irish Roe has plenty of good form in the book. Her third behind smart Lady Buttons in a Doncaster mares’ race was another sound effort but the handicapper probably has her where he wants her.
RONS DREAM should catch her rivals napping.
She’s got a decent strike-rate over fences and was successful at this track last season. Her fourth in the Welsh National when the only one to make any impression from off the pace was the only time she’s been out of the first two in completed chases.
It showed she has the stamina for this sort of test and I’m not worried by her fall at Wincanton last time out.
Blue Flight clearly loves this place. He won a handicap here in good style last month before showing a great attitude to hold off smart Black Corton in a Listed race.
That contest was over slightly shorter but my worry is he has been put up a stone for that win as the weights were against him. The return to a handicapper makes this a different test.
Le Reve has been rejuvenated in recent starts. He followed up his Lingfield win by running away with the Grand Military Gold Cup.
Lucy Wadham’s old timer has a particular liking for Sandown but he is still nicely weighted.
Calipso Collonges was a prolific winner of hurdles last season and he made his mark when switched to fences at Uttoxeter over Christmas. There was nothing wrong with last month’s Ludlow second but he’s just not as well handicapped at present.
Some Chaos wouldn’t want to see much more rain and course winner Claud And Goldie is unlikely to get such an easy time in front today.
SADDLE SWAP Injured jockey Phillip Makin swaps the whip for life as a trainer in switch up
PAUL NICHOLLS’ long journey to Kelso should be Worth it.
Unexposed WORTHY FARM has always looked to have plenty of stamina. He would’ve found Taunton sharp enough for him when breaking his duck in November.
The combination of returning to the track just two weeks later and making the running was probably to blame for his Cheltenham flop as that was clearly not his form.
His Ascot victory when ridden more patiently was much better and he should love today’s extra couple of furlongs.
Captain Drake is another on a roll. He won by a wide margin at Southwell last time out when his main rival, Tomkevi, crashed out at the last.
Harry Fry’s hope is another with stacks of stamina and he could easily complete a hat-trick of wins.
Carlisle winner Teescomponents Lad and Seemorelights both need to prove they stay this far.
Rocklander has lost his way over fences but he would have to have a chance on his best form.
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REMEMBER the Name and number.
CHIC NAME is well treated on his Highland National win at Perth last spring.
He’s run better than his form figures suggest this term and he only faded down the straight in the Devon National at Exeter last month.
His sixth behind Classic Ben on his previous start gives him ground to make up but Sandown doesn’t really suit his style.
He’s won at Newbury before and top claimer Jonjo O’Neill is in the saddle.
Classic Ben is the obvious danger. He’s relatively unexposed and the slight step up in distance won’t be a problem.
Strong Pursuit jumped well on the front end when making his return from 15 months off the track at Sandown.
He tired into third up the hill and he’s been given a nice break since. The form hasn’t worked out well but he has got races in him.
The drying ground is against Rock My Style and I’m not convinced his jumping is up to taking on seasoned chasers just yet.
Joe Farrell predictably backed out of it at this track three weeks ago when having his first run since landing last year’s Scottish National. He’s surely being primed to defend his Ayr crown.
UP FOR THE NATIONAL All the latest travel and ticket info from Aintree racecourse
THE KNOT IS TIED has this wrapped up.
He was a regular winner on the Flat when stepped up to staying trips and today’s extra distance might just be the key to him after finishing runner-up in his last three races. Bryony Frost probably sent him for home a trifle soon when trying to use his stamina on sticky ground at Sandown last month.
That race was set up for Le Milos and a more patient ride over today’s longer trip should be ideal.
French import Friend Or Foe made all the running to win at Taunton on his British debut. There’s no doubt plenty went his way and the form is nothing special but he could easily develop into a smart youngster.
Top weight Elysees twice won in November before running Triumph Hurdle fifth Quel Destin to a neck at Doncaster.
It would be wrong to read too much into last month’s all-weather defeat and it should have put him spot on for today.
I’m not convinced by Chaparral Prince’s attitude and I’m more worried about Idilico. He’s been waiting for this longer trip.
GET your teeth into SHE MIGHT BITE in the EBF mare’s final.
Nicky Henderson’s hope has yet to win over hurdles but she certainly hasn’t enjoyed much luck.
She probably would have won at Leicester is she hadn’t have fallen three out when a stumble on landing was her downfall.
Her Warwick third behind smart stablemate Yellow Dockets makes her well weighted today and fortune again deserted her when brought down when in with a big chance at Ludlow last month.
I’m certain she’s well handicapped and today’s conditions should be ideal.
The White Mouse has done little wrong in three hurdles starts. Her debut defeat of Duhallow Gesture has worked out well and it was the drop to 2m that did for her when runner-up at Leicester.
There was a lot to like about the way she despatched Oscar Rose in a three-runner race at Doncaster last time out.
The second has smart form without being a prolific winner which puts a slight question mark over the form but The White Mouse certainly has stacks of potential.
Sixty’s Belle is gradually getting her act together. She’s not got much weight and that makes her a dangerous opponent as she’s open to plenty of improvement.
2.15 Shanroe Tic Tec
4.00 Angels Antics
4.35 Danboru (treble)
1.50 Kalahari Queen
2.25 Winston C
3.00 Rons Dream
3.35 Worthy Farm (nap)
4.10 Halcyon Days
2.35 Ritchie Valens
3.45 Doctor Sardonicus
2.05 Chic Name
2.40 The Knot Is Tied
3.15 She Might Bite (nb)
3.50 Cobra de Mai
4.25 Sunrise Ruby
5.00 Get In The Queue
5.25 Derry Boy
6.00 Velvet Morn
6.30 She’s Apples
7.00 Madame Tantzy
8.00 Global Academy
8.30 King’s Advice
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