Unfortunately Alan had two non-runners on Friday but he is looking to get his week started with selections from the televised races at Kempton and Warwick...
"Back up in distance, which will help him and his current rating looks very attractive."
Nicky Henderson's charge can sneak up On The Blind Side
The class act in this handicap chase is Nicky Henderson's On The Blind Side, he looks more than capable of conceding weight to these rivals. He easily won a novice chase over today's course and distance about this time last year and has been slowly getting his act together over fences.
The eight-year-old can count himself unlucky to bump into a decent type in a competitive graduation chase at Ascot on his latest start and he can make up for that today. He steps back up in distance, has won four of his seven starts on this ground and his current rating looks very attractive. He was a decent hurdler, winning three of his five starts, and a big run has to be expected under Nico de Boinville.
Paul Nicholls runs Touch Kick in the familiar Trevor Hemmings silks and he looks the most likely to chase the selection home. The nine-year-old made a successful return to action at Fakenham in October, winning by and easy seven lengths and despite a 7lb rise for that he wasn't disgraced at Aintree when he took his place in the Grand Sefton. He is back up in distance today which he will enjoy but off 138 he will have to be at his very best to get the better of On The Blind Side.
Decor Irlandais could be too classy for these
Only six go to post for this Grade 2 Novice hurdle but I quite like the look of Noel Kelly's smart Point-to-Pointer who has improved markedly since he has been sent hurdling, winning three of his five starts. He won well at Catterick last month, returning from a 113 day break in a race where the front two pulled 20 lengths clear of the remainder. There could still be more to come from the lightly raced seven-year-old and a repeat of his last performance, or a run up to his official mark of 145 and he could prove too classy for these rivals.
It looks like favouritism in the race will be between Colin Tizzard's smart six-year-old Harry Senior, who hasn't finished worse than fourth in his five career starts and Dan Skelton's pointer Shan Blue, who won by 20 lengths in a very weak maiden hurdle last time after being sent off the 2/7 favourite.
While both are strong contenders from quality yards, they are also likely to be well supported in the market and for me that will just make Decor Irlandais even better value.
2020 (prior to this week) : 0pts
This week so far...
Staked: 0 pts
Returned: 0 pts
2019 P&L +0.31pts
2018 P&L +82.29pts
2017 P&L +53.30pts
2016 P&L +15.23pts