Flat track to help
Aintree 13:45: Whatsupwithyou 0.5pt e/w 16/1
Whatsupwithyou has run consistently well all season despite not having the ideal circumstances in many of those races.
Three starts ago at Cheltenham, he was sent clear after 2 out and was picked off late in the testing conditions by the far more patiently-ridden Stimulating Song.
He ran at Kempton over Christmas and was still in contention when crashing through 2 out and landing awkwardly and his chance was gone after that. He managed to get into that position despite the right-handed track not being suitable, as he was often out to the left at hurdles or made mistakes.
On his most recent start he finished fourth in the conditionals race at the Cheltenham Festival. Prominent from the off, he was pushed along after 2 out and hit the front early in the home straight. He was joined by Galopin Des Champs with two furlongs to go and was headed soon after. He was still only about a couple of lengths behind at the last before weakening up the hill and was eventually beaten twelve lengths.
I think he's better than the bare form of all of those three runs suggest and the switch to a flat, left-handed track might see him in his best light. He also has the assistance of Kevin Brogan in the saddle and his 5lb claim is an overly generous one. Any 12/1 or bigger appeals.
Removal of hood a positive
Aintree 13:45: Stolen Silver 0.5pt e/w 33/1
A hood is often used on keen-going horses in an attempt to help them relax and settle early in their races. An issue, at times, is that the hood initially has a positive impact and connections constantly leave it on even once a horse has settled much better. This can end up having a negative impact as it relaxes the horse too much, now that they would settle fine without it, and they start to run poorly as a result.
I think this may be the case with Stolen Silver. A hood was applied on his second start at Chepstow and has been applied for all ten subsequent runs. It initially had a positive impact was still arguably required on his first start of this season when freshness resulted in him being a bit keen but I think that's no longer the case. In his latest three starts he's not shown the same spark that he did over hurdles as a novice or on his chasing debut.
It could be argued that is partly down to his going chasing, as he's not looked a natural chaser. His run at Newton Abbot showed that he still has plenty of ability as he frequently lost ground with poor jumping and was still only beaten 6¼ lengths by Eldorado Allen. His two subsequent runs over fences have been a bit disappointing and he ran awfully on his latest start at Ascot, back over hurdles.
He was reported to have never been travelling that day and he jumped badly too. He also looked to be racing quite awkwardly and hanging left a little, so I think the return to a left-handed track will help today.
After those 11 runs with the hood on, it finally comes off today and I'm hoping that will spark him back to life. He's been dropped 3lb for the Ascot run and is now off 8lb lower than when a fast-finishing eighth in last season's Betfair Hurdle.
I think the talent is still there and while it may be that he needs a summer break to revitalise him before it's fully shown again, I think any 20/1 or bigger is worth taking now the hood is taken off.