Milan to enjoy a big day out
Back Forza Milan @ 11/1 in the 13:05 at Cheltenham
The flower delivery with Black Poppy didn't turn up yesterday and Ringo Starlight was given far too much to do with Cieran Fallon completely out-ridden by Hollie Doyle at Kempton to give us a blank day, but we are hoping to strike back and land one for the win council for a super Saturday.
James Nash's Forza Milan has only won once over fences but the 13:05 amateurs' race looks so open he certainly looks worth a play each-way. And he can add to the scoresheet of the Ireland v Britain narrative no doubt, which has zero interest from anyone who has a bet.
The ground is obviously the 'Banquo's ghost' as most of his form (and indeed runs) has been on heavy, but he's been in far deeper races than this in his day and has stamina in abundance.
He has form in some grade B handicaps, and while he was probably flattered in some of his graded efforts, and he'll be fitter for his hurdles' effort last time out. He is quite hard work and is likely to trade at a much greater price in-running, so it might be worth placing a back bet at 21.020/1 or higher, but he does gallop and will not be lacking for stamina.
We can also use the Extra Place special on the Sportsbook and he is 11/1.
Midnight lurking in the shadows for a statement victory
Back Midnight Shadow each-way @'10/1 in the 14:15 Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham
The first real big handicap of the year with the Paddy Power Gold Cup and the strength in depth is highlighted by the price of Midnight Shadow - a horse with plenty of graded form over fences and is a 10/1 poke, and it was close between him and Paint The Dream - who has been backed from 20s to 16s on the Sportsbook. This is certainly more competitive than England's match against Albania last night.
Fitness is certainly not an issue as he raced behind Allmankind last time in the Old Roan and was set to make a challenge two out but made an error that ruined any sort of hope of getting closer. But he was meeting Allmankind on a nice flat track which played to his strengths.
He has a decent record at Cheltenham as a one-time Dipper winner and ran a fair second in the Caspiar race at the track last December, albeit well beaten by a seriously well handicapped runner. I think he can win off 147 and he can give the Sue Smith yard a bit of a boost as they have been a bit quiet.
The pace is likely to come from Manofthemountain, who set a fierce one at Chepstow last time. He could be a nice back-to-lay trade.