We're jumping at Fontwell today, so there's nowhere else Keith Melrose would dare go for the Placepot attempt.
"Although temptation to back Wild Ground would always be firmly resisted, her recent course record and general fine fettle make her difficult to ignore in the Placepot..."
14:10 - The two with the best form, Big Jer and Westaway, both have poor runs last time to put behind them, so we can afford to leave them out. Instead, Via Sundown represents a fairly solid proposition. He's been placed on his last three starts over jumps in France and has a Flat win to his name, so clearly boasts ample ability for this moderate level. Furthermore his new trainer, the excellent Gary Moore, rarely sends one to Fontwell half-baked. Peterbrown goes in as our reserve selection, as he shaped as though this greater test would suit on debut and has room to improve in terms of his developing professionalism, too.
14:40 - At first glance we appear to be in the expensive wasteland of a four-runner race, but lo, there is an oasis! This race is essentially the near-useful and consistent Sustainability against a trio of inferior opponents, each fragile in either legs or mind. That makes the (admittedly long odds-on) favourite a fairly confident banker in the circumstances.
15:10 - We could count ourselves rather unlucky if either Sapphire Rouge or Egretta Island got in on the act, so we're picking from the remaining three for two spots. With that considered, the unimaginative approach of banking on favourite Jupiter Rex can be re-packaged as an inexpensive way through what could otherwise be a trappy leg. Jupiter Rex has the form to back up his current price, too, only 5 lb higher than his last win nearly four weeks ago, while the runner-up in that race went one better on Sunday.
15:40 - Although temptation to back Wild Ground would always be firmly resisted, her recent course record (which probably counts double over Fontwell's idiosyncratic chase track) and general fine fettle make her difficult to ignore in the Placepot, while there's a sporting chance she'll get her own way up front, too. We have to scratch around a bit for a backup option, though Bounds And Leaps, below form this season only following a 3-month break before her second start, gets the verdict narrowly over Orange Nassau, who has looked a weak finisher but is tried tongue tied here.
16:10 - Mares' maiden hurdles are rarely the time to get cute, but quite honestly it's difficult to imagine Iron Butterfly or Just Spot not making the first three. Take both if you're so inclined, but we've been mean with lines so far and will continue the theme by banking on Iron Butterfly, who looks set to be suited by this slightly longer trip.
16:40 - Chestnut Ben is a standout selection, but not quite banker material as it's conceivable that he may both run well and finish out of the two. Back him up with Lady Willa, who was winning from higher marks around this time last year and put up her best effort since second at Huntingdon the other week. She's also the only confirmed front runner in this race.
14:10 - 8, 10
14:40 - 1
15:10 - 1
15:40 - 1, 4
16:10 - 7
16:40 - 1, 3
= 8 lines