Sky’s The Limit For El Astronaute At Musselburgh6 min read
Aintree draws ever closer, nerves aplenty amongst all the connections who have a runner in the big race, metaphorical cotton wool wrapped round those horses as their chance of taking a place in history is within touch distance. The final decs for day one will be out later today with some tremendous action promised.
In the very first race mighty novice chasers await to do battle including JLT Novices’ Chase victor Defi Du Seuil, however I like a mare who sat out the Cheltenham Festival in La Bague Au Roi (5-1). She preferred to take on the boys on her terms at a course to play to her strengths, agility, bold jumping and speed. She is unbeaten in four starts over the bigger obstacles and has already beaten subsequent RSA Chase winner Topofthegame.
After her success at Punchestown, Warren Greatrex immediately said Aintree next, such conviction gives me confidence. Plus her ability to be equally adept on good and good to soft.
Band Of Outlaws has been touted in some quarters as a possible, future Champion Hurdle winner after his decisive win in the Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle, he faces off against Triumph Hurdle winner Pentland Hills. An exciting prospect and one which Band Of Outlaws must overcome if he is even thinking of moving into the top echelon of hurdling. The main protagonists are (6-4JF).
The Betway Bowl is a very different examination to that of the Cheltenham Gold Cup, which must be taken into account when studying the form of the race. The configuration of Aintree is in complete contrast for starters, so horses like Elegant Escape are likely to get outpaced. I sense Kemboy (11-4) could get compensation for such an early exit at Cheltenham and Waiting Patiently (6-1) can be a major player as he travels so well.
I was at Kelso when Winston C came from last with two to jump to first crossing the line, that kind of finishing speed has to be noted and he is a horse sure to love Aintree 12-1 is value, if he can repeat his run from March 23. Top Ville Ben fell early in the RSA Chase, but made up for it just 6 days later with a convincing win at Wetherby. He is another who is suited to Aintree and 16-1 overlooks that fact.
On to Tuesday’s action, Musselburgh hosts a competitive meeting on the flat. At 3.15 El Astronaute catches the eye. What a horse last year. 12 races for trainer John Quinn, resulting in 3 wins and four seconds and in the most competitive handicaps, plus an occasional dabble in black type races he never finished out of the first four. He races up to the fore, with a terrier-like temperament and very hard to shake off. He is also proven when fresh, which drew me to him.
Lualiwa did so well in 2017 that he raced up the handicap and for a horse that likes to dominate it was going to be tricky. He appeared to fall out of love with racing towards the end of last year with three big fat duck eggs for finishing positions. His official rating has tumbled right down to 90 where he had been stuck on the mid to high 90s. The 3.45 also represents a drop down in grade and I’m hoping he gets into his stride from the off.
3.15: El Astronaute
Lingfield is my local course, it’s a shame I can’t get down there but I have seen some opportunities on the card. Fragrant Belle is an intriguing proposition in the 3.30, only having her second career start she showed herself in a professional manner over course and distance back in September last year. She is a daughter of Sir Percy so she will have stamina and you sense her future lie over further but for now sticking to a mile may be the answer.
Global Tango is trying Lingfield for the first time having done really well at Kempton in three runs recently the win last time out over the six furlong trip he is running over today has brought about the five pound penalty. I mentioned yesterday the value of Cieren Fallon’s 7lb claim and it’s here in this race where it might be the difference between victory and defeat at 4pm.
3.30: Fragrant Belle
4.00: Global Tango