Kalondra to Steal the Show in Silver Trophy Chase at Cheltenham6 min read
There is no further rain forecast at Ayr for their feature meeting of the jumps season at the weekend and late Aintree defector Vicente has been backed into favourite (from 10s) for a hat-trick of Scottish National wins for Paul Nicholls.
I am sweet on the each way chances of Doing Fine (14s from 16s with) with the drying ground a positive for Neil Mulholland’s 10-year-old who has missed the winter ground and will be a fresher horse than most.
A wonderful days’ racing under both codes this afternoon with a cracking card at Cheltenham and a couple of acknowledged classic trials at Newmarket on day two of their Craven meeting.
The ITV cameras are at both tracks and the stalls are over on the far side for the listed 7f European Free Handicap. Finniston Farm (2.25) has been off the track since finishing behind both Nebo and Great Prospector in the Superlative Stakes on the July course last summer. His subsequent absence from the track suggests something might have been amiss on that occasion and he meets both Nebo (7lbs) and Great Prospector (5lbs) on better terms this afternoon.
Trained by Tom Dascombe Finniston Farm is and I would be disappointed if he did not run well in a competitive renewal of this prestigious race.
Irish raider Deauville (3.00) is the highest rated horse on show at Newmarket and he must go close in the Earl Of Sefton Stakes given there is plenty of pace in the race with both Forest Ranger and Frankuus likely to try to make all.
The selection doesn’t have the best of draws in stall seven but last year’s third in a below par Queen Anne over a mile at Royal Ascot and second to Ulysses in the Gordon Richards Stakes are by some way the best form on offer. The selection is and is the one to beat.
Threading (3.35) was never travelling behind Clemmie in the Gp 1 Cheveley Park Stakes at the end of September, but she had looked a top-class juvenile when landing the Lowther at York on her penultimate start and is taken to bounce back. The selection is .
I am an admirer of Harry Dunlop’s Knight To Behold who beat Charlie Appleby’s Bow Street (5.55) a neck over a mile here back in October. The recommendation broke his maiden tag at the third time of asking at Kempton the following month and looks potentially smart.
This 10f handicap always throws up a number of winners and I will be staggered if this year is any different with most of the top yards represented with lightly-raced sorts.
I am hoping the ground is no worse than good at Cheltenham for their Silver Trophy Chase, which is an absolute belter. Frodon will bounce off this ground and must go close despite 11st 10lbs minus Bryony Frost’s claim but I am looking forward to seeing Kalondra (2.40) back on a decent surface having been a big disappointment at Sandown last time.
The selection has not run for 74 days and has been dropped a couple of pounds since that Sandown effort. He has run in some decent Novice events so far this season and acquitted himself well – he gets the each way vote at in a top class renewal.
Baden (3.50) has only been raised 3lbs for winning a military event at Sandown last time and he should appreciate today’s better ground for Nicky Henderson.
A couple of Tom George’s better horses have run right up to form of late which suggests Singlefarmpayment (5.00) can go close in the three-and-a-quarter miles chase with Richard Johnson taking over from the injured Adrian Heskin. The handicapper has given the 8-year-old a chance, the ground is no concern although the form of the yard does remain a concern. Double Treasure is a fascinating contender stepping up in trip to 3m 2f for the first time and Fergal O’Brien’s Lovely Job has an excellent record fresh and will love the forecast good ground.