There's plenty of high-class racing this afternoon and we head to Aintree for Saturday's attempt at the Placepot...
Sergeant Mattie was by no means foot perfect when making a successful bow in this sphere at Uttoxeter, but he did seem to relish the task, racing keenly and jumping enthusiastically...
14:00- A cracking handicap hurdle to get this under way, and we will side with Garde la Victoire and Wadswick Court. Garde la Victoire enjoyed a profitable time of things last season, winning four times over hurdles, including on this day last year, and he looks fairly handicapped on his reappearance. He is joined in the permutation by Wadswick Court as Charlie Longsdon's charge is sure to be fit on his return, and a flat, speed-favouring course such as this likely to play to his strengths.
14:30- This looks like a tightly-knit handicap hurdle, plenty in with claims, but the first horse that we will turn to is Roberto Pegasus as he represents a red-hot yard and is still unexposed over two and a half miles, his easy win at Worcester over this trip suggesting he is open to improvement yet. The other horse that makes substantial appeal from a Placepot perspective is Get Home Now as he has been running consistently well, often hitting the frame, and his front-running style could be an advantage in a race where there shouldn't be much pressure on the lead.
15:00- Rajdhani Express was undoubtedly a bit disappointing in the Melling Chase, faring no better than seventh, but he possibly found the race coming sooner than ideal following an excellent effort to finish third in the Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. That was a career-best from Rajdhani Express, but he has been a largely-progressive performer, and there is no reason to put it down as a fluke. This is a competitive renewal of the Old Roan, however, so it is also worth adding Conquisto as he took this race from a higher mark last season, and could bounce back to form following a break.
15:40- Lie Forrit's best form has come over hurdles, but he hasn't had much of an opportunity to prove his worth as a chaser for his current yard, his one start coming in the Scottish National, and his handicap mark in this sphere is too tempting to overlook. He is no banker proposition, though, so we will also add Pigeon Island to the mix as he too is also very well treated on some pieces of form, notably his runner-up effort in this last year from a stone higher mark, and he looks interesting fresh off a break.
16:15- Charlie Longsdon has transformed Kilfinchen Bay, getting the six-year-old gelding to rattle up a four-timer since joining the yard, and, based on his success last time, another win looks to be on the cards. Kilfinchen Bay has yet to be beaten for Longsdon and he looks likely to give a good account while in such excellent form.
16:50- We will bank on another Longsdon-trained horse in the concluding leg of the Placepot as we rely on the strong-travelling Sergeant Mattie. Sergeant Mattie was by no means foot perfect when making a successful bow in this sphere at Uttoxeter, but he did seem to relish the task, racing keenly and jumping enthusiastically. The winning margin may have been narrow, but he was value for plenty extra, and could prove hard to catch here, sure to benefit from the initial experience.
14:00- 1, 5
14:30- 7, 9
15:00- 4, 9
15:40- 4, 5
= 16 lines