The ground is sure to be testing, but there are some interesting horses in action at Fontwell and that is where we head for today's Placepopt attempt...
This is by no means a strong race and Niki Royal, who jumped assuredly over fences in Ireland, should be capable of dominating and rates banker material...
14:20 - Regal Park and Mighty Mambo both make plenty of appeal from fair-looking marks but their fitness has to be taken on trust as they return from long absences, so, reluctantly, we will oppose them with Chappelle du Roi and Safferano, both of whom arrive on the back of their best efforts. Chapelle du Roi doesn't look well handicapped but he stuck to his task well at Bangor, something which could be important given today's testing conditions, and he can hit the frame, while Safferano stayed on well to win at Towcester last time and may yet do better still.
14:50 - Kind of Easy has obvious claims for his in-form yard but he hasn't been the most fluent of jumpers and it could pay to take on the likely favourite with the consistent, but not so well handicapped, Venetian Lad. Something of a course specialist, Venetian Lad took this event 12 months ago and, with no worries about his effectiveness when fresh (won on reappearance last season), we will bank on the likeable Venetian Lad as we attempt to keep the lines down.
15:25 - An interesting novices' hurdle that should throw up plenty of winners, and we will have to include a couple if we are to progress. Cole Harden won on both starts in bumpers, justifying strong market support on the first occasion, and, still completely unexposed, he looks like an interesting recruit to hurdling. Dark Desire created a good impression when winning on his only start in bumpers, defying obvious signs of inexperience to prevail, and he looks sure to progress.
16:00 - A good novice chase but with only seven set to go to post we won't risk banking on Ohio Gold, though he did produce some fine efforts in defeat over fences last term and sets a good target for his rivals to reach. In addition to Ohio Gold, we will also add Black Thunder to the perm as he ran well in some valuable contests last season and is a fascinating recruit to chasing. He is proven on soft ground and should prove to be at least as effective in this sphere.
16:30 - Hayjack and San Telm could be the pair to concentrate on here. Hayjack's trainer, Charlie Longsdon, has his string in excellent form, so fitness is highly unlikely to be an issue for the returning Hayjack whose best form sets the standard. San Telm proved to be consistent last term and is effective on heavy ground, so merits inclusion.
17:05 - Niki Royal was a wide-margin winner of a mares' maiden hurdle in heavy ground at Towcester last term and, though she has failed to reproduce that form, she looks well handicapped on her seasonal return, particularly with her yard in fine form. This is by no means a strong race and Niki Royal, who jumped assuredly over fences in Ireland, should be capable of dominating and rates as banker material.
14:20- 2, 3
15:25- 4, 5
16:00- 1, 4
16:30- 3, 6
= 16 lines
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