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Record of the blog selections

Between March 2010 and April 2017, this blog recommended wagers on 520 individual races on Jump Racing in the UK, resulting in a PROFIT of £1,525.39 on cumulative stakes of £5,726 - this is equivalent to a Return On Investment of 26.60%.


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Tuesday 30 October 2018

Big weekend coming up

My couple of selections ran fairly well without winning on Saturday, the best of the pair being CALETT MAD who was the subject of a bit of a gamble from 10/1 in to 7/1 co-fav and looked (in my opinion) like being involved in the finish on the approach to the 3rd-last but was unable to keep up with the leading pair on the rising ground on the run to the 2nd last.  He did stay on to be 4th which meant my advised wager on him returned a profit.
I'm not sure what to make of the winner, Relentless Dreamer, as this was the 9yo's 24th chase race and he had never won off as high a rating as OR134 before (previous wins were off OR132 and OR128). However, he is a consistent performer on "good" ground around this 3-mile trip (does not really stay beyond 3m2f well enough to win races).  The runner-up Cogry ran a cracker, right up to last years winning performance, but (going forward) his best performances have also been on "good" ground and so a soft/heavy ground winter season may not be to his advantage: Also, he's not won over trips beyond 3m2f despite many attempts.
My other selection Bigmatre, ran below expectation and perhaps needed the run when you consider the performance of the runner-up Duke Of Arran - on a line through that horse he should really have been in the frame. 
On Sunday at Aintree, I missed recommending a good winner in Frodon, who had very little to beat if you thought Flying Angel was unlikely to return to the form of his novice season.  It seems a long time ago now since he powered past Cloudy Dream at Aintree in April 2017 - with Frodon back in 5th and non-other than Top Notch in 3rd. The race fav was Cloudy Dream and although this horse is (to his credit) a model of consistency, he is no better than OR150 at best - you have to remember the horse has not won since April 2017 at Ayr.  By comparison, Frodon ran over 10lb superior (in my opinion) to Cloudy Dream twice last season and ran better than 150 on another 3 occassions. With Frodon recieving 2lb on Sunday from Cloudy Dream, so long as he was fit enough he was more than good enough - I just wish I'd taken the early 7/1 that was available, but the SP of 9/2 was very generous.
We have the Charlie Hall Chase on Saturday at Wetherby, and the current fav is Thistlecrack at 7/4. This horse will have to be at his peak to win and - must as I'd love it to happen - I can't see this 10yo pulling a career-best out of the bag in his first run in nearly 11 months. Last year I tipped Bristol De Mai for this, but he ran without a 6lb penalty and on soft ground. He is not the same horse on good ground but I'm sure he will run well. Clan Des Obeaux just isn't good enough based on his form last season, unless he's found about 10lb of improvement over the summer. However, Nicholls other entry BLACK CORTON is capable of winning based on his defeat of Ms Parfois by 8-lengths at Ascot in February, and he was giving that mare 7lb. Definitly Red is another horse that needs mud, and if we have mud I'd rather be on Bristol De Mai.  Double Shuffle is another who just isn't good enough to win this, unless better quality rivals don't finish the race.
Of the Gordon Elliot entries, Outlander appears to have been aimed at this race and he will go close.  But the one who could take a lot of beating if he is able to come to the races fit to run is DON POLI who will be returning from a 629-day break.
At this time, BLACK CORTON on 8/1 with Paddy Power looks the best value. He should handle the ground and providing he is not run ragged from the front, and Bryony Frost knows what she is doing in the saddle, then this horse has a great chance. I expect Thistlecrack not to last home (as happened at Kempton LTO), and I think Bristol De Mai will not "quicken" in the final half-mile on the "good" ground. OUTLANDER at 20/1 with Paddy Power could be a cracking wager for a place, but I'm not sure any of the Elliot horses will come over for the race.

Friday 26 October 2018

Cheltenham - Saturday 27th October

The first big Saturday of the jumps season sees racing return to Cheltenham, and we also have a supporting jumps meeting at Kelso.  The ground looks perfect at Cheltenham and we should be set for a great day’s racing. The plan this jumps season is to follow the lead set last year writing a blog at the weekends and focusing mainly on the major Saturday races.  This paid-off well last season, and I found some decent winners. Already this season I’ve provided profitable wagers, for instance yesterday my narrative on the blog only highlighted one race, the 20-runner 2m 5f handicap hurdle run at Cheltenham and my shortlist of 2 against the field were FIRST ASSIGNMENT who won at 9/2 (was 8/1 when the blog went online) and CHRISTMAS IN APRIL who was 3rd at 7/1 (was 10/1 when the blog went online).  So, if you find the advice I provide to be useful and profitable, please use the donate button and “spread the wealth”.  
The action gets off to a bang with a 3m1f Class 2 handicap chase at 2:10pm and a good place to start is last year’s winner Cogry who returns to run off a rating just 2lb higher at OR135. With Sam Twiston-Davies back in the saddle there is no reason the horse cannot run a similar – or better – performance than last year.  The 8yo Laurium showed LTO that he should not be underestimated but whether he can repeat that effort off a 7lb higher rating is debateable. A better show may come from Shantou Village who was a decent novice chaser and comes here having had a busy summer. There’s no reason he won’t stay this trip on this ground (the soft beat him LTO). 
Another interesting runner is Calett Mad (stablemate of Cogry) who looked a top novice chaser but then reverted to hurdling last season. He was the fav for the 2m5f Class 1 “Summer Plate” h’cap chase LTO but that trip was too short for this multiple 3-mile hurdle winner. He looks well handicapped on OR142. 
At the bottom of the handicap, For Good Measure carries just 10st 1lb but he looks a tad one-paced for me. He should improve for the step-up in trip to 3-mile but this is only his 3rd chase race and there will be no hiding place for him. 
Finally, if the wind operation works for Braqueur D’Or then he could be on a lenient rating of OR135 as he ran a couple of decent races this time last year at Ascot and Newbury. However, all things considered, I’m favouring CALETT MAD @ 10/1 especially as Daryl Jacob rides and he has a 30% strike-rate when riding for Nigel Twiston-Davies.
Some bookies are paying 5 places to a 5th odds a place.

At 3:10pm we have a disappointing turn-out for the 2-mile Class 2 handicap chase with just 7 runners going to post – but the race does look competitive. I don’t like either of the Paul Nicholls entries: Modus and Tommy Silver.  Of the pair, Modus is (in my opinion) the better horse over hurdles but he still has to prove himself as a chaser at this level.  I like the look of BIGMATRE who won 3 of 5 chase races last season so we know he jumps well. He finished ahead of Modus when they met at Cheltenham and some may consider him to be badly handicapped on that run as Modus was rated a 5lb better horse going into that race, and Modus was given an easy time when he was beat. However, I think this trip will suit BIGMATRE well and Modus does not look a natural chaser, he certainly didn’t at Cheltenham in March. Odds of 7/2 this morning (he was 3/1 last night) look fair and it would not surprise me if BIGMATRE started at shorter than 5/2.

Cheltenham 2:00pm CALETT MAD - £5 eachway @ 10/1 (Bet365 quarter-odds a place 1,2,3,4)
Cheltenham 3:10pm BIGMATRE - £10 win @ 7/2 (Bet365, BetVictor, etc)

Thursday 25 October 2018

Weekend review: 26th October - 28th October

An exciting weekend of jump racing lies ahead, with the opening meetings of the season from premier tracks Cheltenham (Friday and Saturday) and Aintree (Sunday), as well as supporting meetings at Kelso (Saturday) and Wincanton (Sunday). Let me remind you that there is no hurry to get involved with a wager - there is plenty of racing so pick and choose your wagers, and, with that in mind, the educated punter holds the advantage.
Time constraints prevented me from posting a blog last Saturday, but the suggested wager which I posted on twitter and on this blog, very nearly came off. It was an eachway double on CORONET at Ascot, and LE PREZIEN at Ffos Las and both horses came home in 2nd placed which meant the place double was successful. If you had placed a £5 eachway double (£10 staked) you would have left the bookies with over £28 in your hand. When considering an eachway double both of your selections must have a realistic chance of winning. I really thought that CORONET was the strongest horse in her race and she ran bang to form; I rate her a solid OR110 horse, very consistent, and that's what I reckon she ran on Saturday. Unfortunately, the Aidan O'Brien trained Magician managed to transfer her form over a mile to the 12-furlong trip and that was something I did not anticipate.
LE PREZIEN is another consistent performer, and although seen over fences last season, he has improved in stature and I thought he was on a lenient rating for hurdles, but he met a well-handicapped rival in the 5yo Silver Streak.
Back to racing on Friday, and the meeting at Cheltenham offers few wagering opportunities unless you fancy taking a chance on the several novice races on the card. The 20-runners handicap hurdle over 2m5f looks particularly tough to solve. What's interesting is that only one winner in the past 10 years was older than 6yo; all the other 9 winners were 5yo or 6yo.  Also, the market has been a good guide, with no winner at odds longer than 12/1. Currently, only the 5yo First Assignment @ 8/1 and the 6yo Christmas In April @ 10/1 fit those criteria, and the unexposed FIRST ASSIGNMENT looks an interesting runner.   
The amateur riders handicap chase at 4:55pm run over 3m1f is a race that I usually have a wager in, but this years race looks wide open.  There will be other days to have a wager.
Keep your powder dry.

Saturday 20 October 2018

Saturday 20th October

No time to write a blog this morning but two horses that look primed to run well and are good value are LE PREZIEN in Ffos Las 4:25 (6/1 with Paddy Power) and CORONET Ascot 2:40 (13/2 with Bet365) #horseracing ew double

Friday 19 October 2018

MIA'S STORM wins at 4/1

Cracking result for the blog yesterday when MIA'S STORM romped home an easy 4-length winner of a 6-runner race at the remarkably generous odds of 4/1.  As I wrote yesterday, I fully expected to see MIA'S STORM exploit her OR142 hurdle rating, as she'd already won a 3-mile hurdle race plus another couple of chases since then over 3-miles and, having been rated OR149 after her latest chase win, she had to be well-in. The only realistic opposition was the fav Boreham Bill who looked to be in the handicappers grip (this was his 4th run off OR130 since winning off OR126) and it was his first race further than 2m6f, so would he stay the trip? There was a bit of a move in the betting for Coologue as he was running from OR120,  but that low rating was due to him pulling-up on all 4 starts last season, so was he still interested in racing? As it turned out, only just - he finished last of the 6 runners. The other 3 in the race were outclassed. I really could not see MIA'S STORM not winning (provided she finished the race) and advised being quick to take the early 5/2 as I expected MIA'S STORM to start at much shorter odds than that - the SP of 4/1 was a gift.

The other race at Carlisle that I looked at also came good as the horse I had my eye on - COOKING FAT - ran a very solid race nearly snatching 2nd on the line from the 3/1 fav and only finishing a length behind the winner Looksnowtlikebrian.  I will be honest, I overlooked the winner mainly as trainer Tim Vaughan had a poor season last year with only 27 wins from 344 runners; but this season he is doing a lot better especially with his chasers and Looksnowtlikebrian was his 8th chase winner from 48 runners. Also, Looksnowtlikebrian won well over 2m5f on heavy at Ffos Las last December, and followed that up with another facile win before making lots of errors when last seen at Kelso in April. If you ignored that last run, he held a good chance off OR125 and he's now won 3 of his 5 chase races.  We will see more from COOKING FAT next time.

There are two jumps meetings today, at Fakenham and Wincanton.  
The racing at Fakenham does not offer a wagering opportunity and I'm not too happy about the Good-to-Firm ground at Wincanton.  
If the ground were softer, then I would be all over CAPTAIN BUCK'S in the 3-mile Class 3 handicap chase at 2:55pm, but on this fast ground I have no idea if he will run his race, or even start. The 6yo LTO winner Canyouringmeback is clearly in-form and could make a bold run but - if pushed - I'd be more interested in the 10yo SPORTING BOY who loves this ground, always seems at his best at this time of year, and if he can find a bit of the form he showed this time last year he will be thereabouts. Unfortunately, some other shrewdies have had the same thought and the early 20/1 has long gone, with best odds now being 10/1. 

As such, no wagers today.

Remember, when you read this blog is it a BOOKIES ADVERT FREE ZONE - I make money from the bookies, I do not make money taking a 30% of your losses from losing wagers that I recommend.
This blog is free, and remains free, because I love horseracing and bet with passion.
If I recommend a wager you know that I have my money on too, and it will likely be a fair bit more than the wager that I recommend (because, in my opinion, you do not have to bet big to get enjoyment).
Finally, yes the blog is free, and I know many people make good profits following my advice, so if you want to share your good fortune press the donate button and drop me a few quid from your winnings.
All the best from Wayward Lad.    

Thursday 18 October 2018

Thursday 18th October

This Thursday in October is a special one for me as way back in 2009 before I started blogging (that was in March 2010), this was the day when I went back to horseracing in a bigger way than I had before.  Back then there were meetings at Carlisle (as there is today) and Ludlow.
Today we have jumps meetings at Carlisle and Uttoxeter. 
At Carlisle there is a fairly competitive looking novice chase run over 2-mile at 2:10pm; a Class 3 event it should have plenty of pointers for the coming season. Of interest is the runner sent by Venetia Williams, only her 2nd runner of the season so far, Du Soleil - this horse has multiple entries and may well run again this weekend. What is interesting is that both times he's run on ground better than heavy, he's won - and the ground is good-to-soft at Carlisle.
Later on the card at 3:45pm there is a Class 3 handicap chase run over an extended 3-mile with 11-runners declared, including yesterday's winner ACDC.  Many years ago I subscribed to the statistical service SMARTSIG (don't ask me what it stands for) and one of the nuggets of information I obtained from that service was the high probability of winners from horses that turned our to run again within 5-days of a previous run, and the better the first run the more likely of a winning performance on the 2nd run. If ACDC runs this afternoon, I will be surprised if he does not start the fav at 4/1 or under, which makes him a value proposition at current odds of 11/2.  With Tintern Theatre usually needing a run to show his best, and Sky Pirate not convincing me he stays this trip well enough, a bigger challenge could come from the 7yo Cooking Fat who does stay this trip and looks to be on an attractive rating of OR127 which is 5lb below his hurdle rating.

At Uttoxeter, there is a very interesting Class 3 novice handicap chase at 3:25pm run over 2m6f & 110 yards, and it looks near impossible to make a selection, however the race should provide a wealth of notes for the notebook. The next race on the card looks a better wagering opportunity, as this 2m7f handicap hurdle should see MIA'S STORM exploiting her OR142 hurdle rating. With Boreham Bill looking to be in the handicappers grip, of the others only Coologue has the potential to make a race of it running from OR120 due to pulling-up on all 4 starts last season which he started on OR140.  We know the horse stays 3-mile (and more) and he likes to front-run, but is he still interested in racing? We won't find that out til the race starts.

No recommended wagers today, but I'm expecting another win from ACDC if he runs at Carlisle, and I really cannot see MIA'S STORM not winning at Uttoxeter, but if you are going to get a decent price on your wager you have to be quick as all the bookies go 5/2 or shorter except Bet365 who are 3/1.

We nearly had a winning start to the season last Saturday when LOVELY JOB jumped the last looking like the potential winner, but faded on the run-in and probably need the run; we will recoup that wager NTO I'm sure of it.

Saturday 13 October 2018

Chepstow - Jump racing is back!

We've had the Arc de Triomphe, and while most of the "glitterati" of the horseracing world will be focused on Newmarket and the running of the Dewhurst Stakes for 2yo’s run over 7-furlongs, the attention for jump racing fans will be on Chepstow and a meeting seen as the “opening night” of the new jump racing season.
Despite there being a major rainstorm over South Wales, Chepstow seems to have escaped the worst of the weather and the course has said the ground is "good, good-to-soft in places" even though they had 21mm of rain yesterday! 
There is a top-class novices chase at 3:35pm and long term followers of the blog will remember I tipped-up a winning double on this day in 2015, including the winner of this race. As it happens, that winner – Cocktails At Dawn trained by Nicky Henderson – was the oldest winner of this race in the past 10 years at 7yo; all the other winners were either 5yo or 6yo. Henderson sends the 8yo Monbeg Legend for this and (like Cocktails At Dawn) he’s already run in an won novice chases this season. He looked particularly impressive LTO when winning over 2m6½f at Stratford in September when making-all to beat some seasoned handicappers, and the worry is that this trip could be too short for him. However, he is the only one of this small field of 5 runners that has jumped a fence on-course, and we know he can jump at speed, so MONBEG LEGEND really is the one they have to beat as he’s likely to set a good pace from the front and he will not be stopping. The one in the race that most will be watching is Master Tommytucker sent by Paul Nicholls, of whom great things are expected - let's see if he can jump a fence. A winner on this card over hurdles last season, Poetic Rhythm could well upset the apple cart but, for me, my money is on Monbeg Legend, and there is plenty of 9/4 available as I write.
Later on the card at 5:20pm, there is an attractive Class 2 handicap Chase over just under 3-mile. The top-weight is Coo Star Sivola but he will have to have improved a bit from where he left off last season if he’s to take this race from OR150.
The lightly-raced Step Back absolutely ran away with the Bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown last April, and this horse really could be a serious contender for top honours if his improvement is continued this season, however it is likely this trip is a touch too short for him.
Another lightly-raced young chaser is Thomas Patrick who made-all to take a Grade 3 handicap chase at Aintree in April, leaving some decent chasers in his wake. He is the 5/1 2nd-fav for this and the 6yo could be very well-in running off a rating of OR148. 
Traffic Fluide has never looked a 3-mile chaser in my opinion, and he may have been flattered when winning LTO over 2m5f.
Rock The Kasbah won this race last season, so we know he goes well fresh and he’s now won twice at this meeting. He’s also weighted to be able to reverse form with Step Back on Bet365 Gold Cup form, and this trip will suit him better than the 3m5f of that race. However, he is very short in the betting being the 9/4 fav, and personally I would not make him the fav for this (I think it should be Thomas Patrick).
Brave Eagle is another young 6yo novice chaser who has won both his chase starts this summer, but this race is throwing him in the deep end.  
Captain Chaos usually needs a run to get to peak fitness, and Cobra De Mai is another who may find this trip stretching his stamina, as is Silverhow.  This race will likely be run at a strong pace and you need one to be "in the van" and staying the trip. 
Bigbadjohn, Our Kaempher and The Young Master have all had plenty of chances however, at 9yo, they are going to find the young guns hard to control.
Lovely Job is an interesting contender, has he only ran 3 times between 1st-Oct and 30thApril last season, and he’s improved with every run; he likes to front-run and stays this trip, he could be a dark-horse at 18/1.
As it stands, the ones I’m interested in are Rock The Kasbah, Lovely Job, and Thomas Patrick; and, for me the best value in the race is THOMAS PATRICK @ 5/1.
For a bit of fun in the race, I would not put you off having an eachway wager on LOVELY JOB at 18/1 (with Bet365 and Paddy Power) and - if you are quick - there's 20/1 at William Hill, quarter-odds a place 1,2,3.
Good Luck!

Wednesday 10 October 2018

Enable joins the greats

ENABLE joined the greats of horseracing when winning the Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe for the 2nd time on Sunday, but it was a close run thing.  As the 3yo filly See Of Class bore down in the final furlong, reducing the deficit with every stride, the “slow-motion” replay that focused on the leading pair close to the finish showed ENABLE blink just before they crossed the line – it was that close -  or was it?
Last Wednesday, I went through the runners for the race and, in my opinion based on known form and my own personal ratings, there did not seem to be much chance of any other horse in the race winning other than ENABLE, such was her superiority. There was so much between her and the others, which looked (on the whole) a poor opposition based on usual "Arc" fields, that I thought Cloth Of Stars (who chased home Enable last year) had a good chance of filling the same spot again - and on Wednesday the odds about Cloth Of Stars were 50/1.
There were a couple of elements which were not in Enable's favour, for instance (given the time between her previous 2 runs of 11 months) she could have “bounced” and the final result suggests that she did indeed run a long way below her 2017 winning performance. Also, the ground look particularly stamina sapping despite being described as officially “good”. Jockeys and trainers described the ground as good-to-soft, soft, and “loose-on-top”. Certainly, despite being in a clear lead entering the final furlong, ENABLE appeared to only just hold on to that lead as her energy slipped away.
However, in ENABLE’s favour was her undoubted brilliance, based on her winning 2017 performance. 

My personal ratings of the last 10 Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe winners.
Year & winner                            RPR Rating                 My rating
2018 Enable                                        122                              112
2017 Enable                                        129                              127
2016 Found                                         124                              120
2015 Golden Horn                              127                              130
2014 Treve                                          126                              131
2013 Treve                                          131                              132
2012 Solemnia                                    124                              120
2011 Danedream                                128                              129
2010 Workforce                                  130                              127
2009 Sea The Stars                            132                              130     

Sea The Stars is the Racing Post’s (RPR) highest rated recent winner of the race on 132, whereas my rating of that race awarded Sea The Stars only 130 (which puts his winning performance behind both winning efforts of Treve in 2013 & 14, and on a par with Golden Horn in 2015).  The reason for my 130 rating is that I rate the performance, not the “race”, and nor do I make an allowance for potential.

I reckon the RPR awarded to Sea The Stars added a bit extra for "potential"; whereas I rate the performance 130, but Sea The Stars could potentially be 5lb or over 7lb better than that - but we will never know.  Treve, who won the race in 2013 with a superlative performance by 5-lengths and from a poor draw of 15 of the 17 runners, did not really look capable of posting a better performance than that, and never did even when winning for a 2nd time in 2014. 
My rating of Sea The Stars was based on the ability of consistent yardstick Youmzain in 2nd as that horse was also 2nd the previous year to Zarkava.  However, why I believe that Sea The Stars to be the best recent winner the manner of his win – he barely seem to be stretched, and watching the race again reminds me of the win of Sea Bird in 1965 – and suggests that he could have easily added 4 or 5 lengths to the margin of victory had he been asked for more effort.
Much has been made of the performance of the 2nd placed SEA OF CLASS as she was dropped-out to the rear of the field (as that seemed the best tactic from a draw of 15 of the 19 runners).  Personally, as I wrote on the Wednesday before the race, I did not think that the filly was on such a serious upward curve as portrayed by the Racing Post Ratings.  Certainly, she is superior to her 3yo rivals having won the Irish Oaks in a canter, but (in my opinion) she has not found further improvement since then, hence my remark that she needed to find another 10lb to trouble Enable.

So how did Sea Of Class get so close? My opinion, which I voiced on the Wednesday before the race, was that the field was substandard. I had Capri running to the same rating as he did in 2017 when 17th of 18 and over 12-lengths behind Enable. I had the 4yo Salouen, who hasn't won a race since his 2yo season (and has been beaten in 12 races as a 3yo & 4yo) yet is very consistent at around the 110 level as running to that rating - 110.  

If connections of ENABLE want to return for another go in 2019, they have nothing to fear from the current crop of 3yo's, and it all depends on whether there is something in the current 2yo crop that can take the race - it will have to be a superlative Derby winner..

Wednesday 3 October 2018

Enable & the Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe

This weekend brings us the most prestigious flat race in Europe, the Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe.  After a break of a couple of years when the race was staged at Chantilly, this year the race returns to Longchamp, although the ground at the revamped course has been criticised by many trainers.
I was lucky enough to be in the paddock at Kempton (being part of the Cribbs Causeway syndicate) when this years' race fav and 2017 winner ENABLE had her preparatory spin on the all-weather surface there.  She looked very well, and did what was expected that day.  What I thought interesting was how professional the connections undertook their business: very serious, no light-hearted behaviour (even though Enable's return to the track was reason enough for celebration). And gentleman that he is, John Gosden took the time to swap a few words with me as we walked from the pre-parade ring into the paddock before the race.
From what I saw, I'd expect Enable to come on a few pounds for that run, but she will not have to find much to repeat her win of 2017.  Remember, she may have been off the track for 11 months prior to that run, but her main rival at Kempton Crystal Ocean was having his 5th run of a busy season which had seen him win the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot and then be beaten just a neck into 2nd by Poet's Word in the Group 1 "King George" back at Ascot on the final Saturday in July. I'm not sure that Crystal Ocean repeated that level of form when meeting Enable in September at Kempton, but he wasn't far off and was beaten convincingly enough to warrant no entry for this race and instead he likely goes next for the Champion Stakes back at Ascot on 20th October.
The worry for Enable is that she is conceding 7lb to the 3yo filly's, however the best of these looks to be SEA OF CLASS and she is (in my opinion) about 10lb inferior to Enable at this stage last season.  I really cannot see her troubling Enable. The best of the 3yo colts is KEW GARDENS, but the St Leger winner didn't look anywhere near good enough when 3rd in the Great Voltigeur Stakes (Group 2).  Of the older horses, WALDGEIST is the obvious challenger, but his best form still leaves him with a fair bit to find although this race has been his target for the past few months.  It may pay to take a chance with last year's runner-up CLOTH OF STARS filling the same place again – he's certainly good enough when he wants to be as he showed last year.
Once this weekend is over, we can start to focus entirely on the jumps season.