Rhys Williams has analysed Wednesday's racing and has three selections at Perth, which includes a two point stake.
"Hunter chases in the north and Scotland tend to be run at a slightly steadier pace than those in the rest of Britain when there’s no raiders from the south and that can help him to see out the trip."
Strong pace could set the race up for him
The two-mile novices' handicap chase could be very strongly run with the likes of Slanelough and Away At Dawn in the contest and a few others dropping in trip that will likely be trying to make it a test of stamina at the trip.
That could set the race up perfectly for Schmidt, who returns to the track only eight days after running at Ayr. He finished a well-beaten fourth that day but he travelled very well and jumped slickly, if out to the right at times, for much of the race. He was still in a tightly-packed leading group of five turning the final bend before dropping away quickly from that point.
His tendency to jump right-handed also suggests that this track will be more suitable for him and I think the drop back to 2m will suit him too.
Since joining Stuart Crawford from Henry de Bromhead, Schmidt's form has been on the decline but that was a more encouraging sign that he does still retain some ability.
This looks a fairly moderate contest with Slanelough having got off the mark over fences at the 17th attempt last time thanks to a very good ride while Away At Dawn hasn't quite fulfilled his early promise, although he could improve for the switch to fences. Others in the race either look in need of further or aren't obvious types to improve for going chasing.
It may be that Schmidt goes back to disappointing but in a race that could set up ideally for him, any 6/1 or bigger appeals.
Stronger quality of races in the Midlands/South
Point The Way heads the market for the hunter chase, likely as a result of him finishing second to Alcala at Musselburgh earlier in the season. That was a good run but he's a dour stayer and he might even find this 3m trip sharper than ideal.
One horse for whom that certainly won't be the case is Magna Sam. He was last seen 12 days ago when being well beaten in the 2m hunter chase at Cheltenham's hunter chase meeting. He got taken off his feet that day by the extremely strong pace so I'm inclined to forgive that.
He also raced against Alcala earlier in the season when falling at Ascot. Having been held up for much of the race, he made headway to hit the front approaching 2 out. He jumped that upsides the leader but was just starting to get the worst of the battle with his two rivals when falling at the last.
Between that run and his latest run, he ran well for a long way in the Lady Dudley Cup at Chaddesley Corbett. He was still in contention going to 3 out but started to drop away from that point with the 3m2f trip proving too far for him.
While a trip of around 2m6f might be his absolute ideal, I think he can operate perfectly well over 3m, particularly in the scenario he's likely to face today. Hunter chases in the north and Scotland tend to be run at a slightly steadier pace than those in the rest of Britain when there's no raiders from the south and that can help him to see out the trip.
It's possible that he will have just had enough for the season but if he shows the level of ability that he did at Ascot, then he's likely to be too good for this field and any 2/1 or bigger appeals.
Hood coming off to spark improvement
A wind op prior to the 2017/18 point to point season transformed Refusal from a horse who couldn't win a Restricted into one who won four of his five starts in the season and the only defeat came behind Caryto Des Brosses at Stratford.
Following that, he was off the track for nearly three years before returning at Sheriff Hutton in mid-April. He showed up for a while that day before dropping away on the final circuit.
His latest run at Witton Castle was a bit more encouraging. He was allowed to set a slow pace for much of the race and was then outsprinted by Royal Chant after the last while pulling 15 lengths clear of Shantou Prince.
I thought Refusal looked half-asleep that day with the hood on and that's now come off today which is a positive for his chance. He was rallying after the line so he clearly had plenty left but just wasn't able to go quick enough with the 'calming' headgear on.
It may be that he's just not the horse he once was but outside of the front pair in the market this is a moderate race and he's simply too big at 16/1 to ignore given his back class and the positive headgear removal.
RHYS' PROFIT/LOSS 2021
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