A great mixed day of action featuring the flat at Doncaster and a super jumps meeting at Cheltenham. It’s great to have Cheltenham back, although there were some cries of anguish when Friday’s confident pick High Expectations unseated his rider just as he cruised effortlessly into contention.
Back at the Cheltenham Festival, we were heavily on progressive handicap chaser Singlefarmpayment. He went down by a nostril in a bobbing finish on Day 1 when looking sure to win. That was hugely painful and had barely receded with 7 months distance.
Saturday’s race (1400 BST) is under similar conditions and a 4lb rise is especially fair given how far the front two pulled clear. The opposition looks weaker and the main question has to be sharpness after a break – worth the risk.
Double W’s (1510) was another to run well at the Festival, looking a possible winner until running out of stamina. He righted that over this shorter trip at Aintree and comes here just a couple of pounds higher. He has had a pipe-opener and looks set to run well.
The staying handicap hurdle (1545) has another strong Festival link with Thomas Campbell looking to improve on his fifth place there. He must have a big chance but this longer trip is unproven. Anteros has good course form, but it must be worth chancing lightweight Stick To The Plan. From the in-form Skeltons, he was set to saunter home in a small race at Southwell last time until an equipment failure caused an unseat in the shadow of the line. This is a class hike, but he is young, in form, and thrown in off a feather burden.
Cheltenham is our focus, but we’ll have an eye on the sprinters at Doncaster (1600) where Spring Loaded can appreciate this return to the course where he blitzed a big field in the Portland. He is 10lbs higher, but that probably wouldn’t have stopped him then, and a good second st unsuitable York was off nearly this mark. He can spring home again.
Singlefarmpayment (1400 Cheltenham), 1pt win, 4/1 generally available
Double W’s, (1510 Cheltenham), 1pt win, 11/2 generally available
Stick To The Plan, (1545 Cheltenham), 1pt win, 8/1 generally available
Spring Loaded, (1600 Doncaster), 1pt win, 11/2 generally available
All of the above, 4 x 0.5pt win trebles, 0.5pt each way accumulator.
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