There are a fair few horses from my alert list running at the meeting this afternoon, and a couple go in the 2:45 which is a 3m4f handicap chase; they are Handy Andy and Imperial Circus. This trip is too far for the latter, but Handy Andy is fav for this race. Thing is, I reckon todays ground being good-to-soft is too quick for him and I’m also not sure he’ll stay this sort of extreme trip as he was one-paced LTO at Haydock over a similar trip. There are 16 runners still in this race, so there are 4-places available, but 7/1 doesn’t look value. The 2nd-fav Hunters Lodge won a weak 4-horse race LTO and going-up 7lb for that looks harsh. The 3rd-fav Dusky Bob is a grinder who should be on the premises at the finish, but he’s not my idea of the winner on this ground. Bounds And Leaps likes to dominate her races, but she’ll be up against it today and a 13lb hike for her LTO win looks harsh. This ground should bring out an improvement in African Picnic, but he’s not guaranteed to stay this extreme trip. As such, I’m taken with the chance of QIANSHAN LEADER @ 10/1. He was lucky to be 2nd LTO as the leading pair fell at the final fence, but that was his first run since the autumn and an inspection of the formbook suggests he’ll improve a fair bit for that run and he’ll go well on this ground and stay the trip. He was a good 5th in the Skybet Chase in Jan’12 and before that beat Benny Be Good a neck off OR126 which is only 1lb below his rating today. The remainder were over 28-lengths further back that day and a repeat of that performance would see him take this race.
The main race of the day is at 3:55, the MacMillan Cancer Suppert Silver Trophy Chase over 2m5f and, at the weights, it looks like GHIZAO has a chance of finding the winners enclosure. Menorah looks too high running off OR169 and giving weight away all-round. Hunt Ball will relish this trip and ground and we may see a career-best effort from him in this race, but he will need to find about 5lb of improvement if he’s to hold off Champion Court and GHIZAO. Champion Court is an admirable horse who is very consistent, but I rate him a consistent 157-159 performer, whereas GHIZAO is about 160-161. Not much between them in ability, but Champion Court is 9/4 today while GHIZAO is 15/2. At those sort of odds, I have to have a wager on GHIZAO and I will risk ½pt to win.
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