The Daily Yankee:
NAP OF THE DAY: Polished Steel, (1450 Fairyhouse), 2pts win, 9/2 generally available
Jessica Harrrington’s hurdler hinted that this rating might be generous on handicap debut recently at Thurles, ultimately finishing third despite being repeatedly hampered. He showed more potential when returning to Thurles for an easy maiden hurdle win. The handicapper hasn’t only pushed him up 2lbs and he looks good for a lot more than that. Holds some ambitious Cheltenham entries and would need a big win here to hoist his rating enough to get in the festival mix.
Vicente, (1440 Newcastle), 11/2: represents the flying Paul Nicholls and is a regular in Spring staying chases with two Scottish National wins both off 146. Was 5th in that last year and is rarely seen at this time of the year but the dry Winter has opened up options for this good ground horse. Back to that magic mark of 146 he is capable of outclassing a modest marathon field. Angel Des Malberaux looks best of the lightweights, but they’ll all struggle to match an on-song Vicente.
Glen Rocco, (1535 Kempton), 7/2: it’s a bit daunting picking a horse for a big handicap like this who has just been raised a whopping 13lbs – but it was well earned. His 23l romp here when stepped up to 3m on good ground was a massive step forward, albeit the form of his second the previous time here has been repeatedly proven to be golden. This is a step up in class but as a novice even with the weight rise he remains on a light weight and could still have any amount of further improvement to come.
Samburu Shujaa, (1540 Chepstow), 7/2: finally got off the mark when making all and running away with a maiden race over this course and distance. A rating of 129 captures the totality of his previous failures, but it might just be that Richard Johnson has found the tactical key, and he could be very hard to peg back. A good win may yet squeeze him into the Cheltenham final of this series.
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