To Win - Balder Succes
It's the final big stop before the Cheltenham Festival for potential Champion Chase and Ryanair Chase protagonists and I am a huge fan of Balder Success from the Alan King yard to grab the dosh in the Grade One Betfair Ascot Chase.
Not only do I like his chances on the book, but I am in total harmony and sympathy with his name having suffered from an ever widening bald patch since my mid-20's.
Glances in a three-way mirror, you have to be cute with the angle, rubbing said patch with beer, then honey and some proper chemical substance all failed to stop the advance of the fallow field.
And then I realised, it really meant I was finally becoming mature and in any case it couldn't be reversed as my dad, his dad and my uncle all possess heads as smooth as a baby's bum.
And smoothness was the way you would describe Balder Succes's last victory in the Listed WilliamHill.com Chase at Kempton when he produced a career best effort.
Jumping with his normal enthusiasm, akin to Zebedee launching himself into the air a la Magic Roundabout, the seven-year-old bounded clear in the closing stages to record an absolute 10 length success.
Two and a half miles is definitely his domain having won the Pendil at the Sunbury-on-Thames track last year and I fancy he will have a dash too much knowhow for the gambled on Ptit Zig.
The form of the Paul Nicholls' charge has been slightly downgraded recently and talented though he undoubtedly is I suspect this could be a step too far so early in his career.
Back Balder Succes @ 3.211/5
Outsider - Theatre Guide
The buzz of treading the boards has always been a penchant of mine, but yet to be realised, but this boy could also give me a real thrill mid-race.
We know he stays a deal further than this distance so I would expect Aidan Coleman to be hugely positive on him and really stretch the field and thus the stamina of his rivals.
Available at Betfair odds of 30.029/1 at the moment, if he still has the box seat coming out of Swinley Bottom and is merrily popping away I would expect him to go as low as possibly 5.04/1 in-running.
So a back-to-lay strategy is the way to go with Colin Tizzard's classy chaser in what could turn out to be a real burn up out in front with Rajdhani Express also set to be to the fore.
Back Theatre Guide @ 30.029/1
Lay stakes back at 8.07/1 and then at 5.24/1 and 2.26/5