Stage Star is loves racing fresh and at Cheltenham
Track and ground favour exciting Larchmont Lass
He's a fun horse who came good at Wincanton in February against four opponents and has been ready to run for a while. But he really needs drier ground and has missed some nice opportunities lately because of all the rain so I will be monitoring conditions and could withdraw him if the going deteriorates.
Switch Hitter is not the best handicapped of horses now and looks to have a tough enough task even with Natalie Parker claiming a useful 3lbs.
He is in top order as he returns to the scene of his superb success in the Turners at the a festival in March. You can put a line through his last start at Aintree which was one race too many after a busy campaign. The Paddy Power has been the target for him since the summer and there are plenty of positives as he is brilliant fresh, having won first time out for the last three seasons.
He also likes racing left-handed, will not mind how soft the ground gets and we know he handles Cheltenham. Yes, he does have a lot of weight because he is rated on what he achieved last year but it helps that the top one runs which means Stage Star is on a nice racing weight of 11st 7lbs.
He ran a series of solid races last season carrying big weights and finally got his reward with a fluent victory at this track in January, then didn't take to the National fences at Aintree. He is 6lbs higher mark now so it's a bonus that Freddie Gingell's claim takes off a handy 5lbs.
Il Ridoto is a year older, more mature and should be knocking on the door again in this competitive handicap racing with little more than 10 stone back.
A likeable mare who was progressive in bumpers last season, she landed the Listed mares' event at Sandown in March in game style on heavy ground that brought her stamina into play.
She is an exciting prospect, has done plenty of schooling and is ready to go over hurdles now. But I just felt it was worth one final start in a mares' bumper where the track and ground conditions will be in her favour.
Paul's Best Chance on Saturday: Stage Star 14:20 - "He is brilliant fresh and I've trained him with this race in mind."
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