It was good to see Min win impressively last week at the Dublin racing festival. Min was back to his best after a little blip the time before when the stables horses weren’t in great form. It will be interesting to see how his main rival for the Champion Chase, Altior runs today in the 3:00 at Newbury. Returning after a wind op, Altior has looked the real deal over a fence but needs to prove his wellbeing. Politologue should give Altior a bit to think about and ensure he doesn’t have things all his own way.
Newbury is the highlight meeting this afternoon, Altior making his comeback as already mentioned. The same can be said about the classy Native River who returns from injury. If we knew Native River was fit and still the same horse as per last year, the even money today would be a huge price as would his current odds of 10-1 for the Gold Cup. I thought he would win it last year. I’ve backed him EW this morning for the Gold Cup. Native River wouldn’t be far off favourite for the Cheltenham showpiece if jumping his rivals ragged this afternoon.
The Betfair Hurdle is a cracking renewal this year, this will take a huge amount of winning. It’s not a contest to go mad in. I’ve placed a few quid EW on Kalashnikov at 14-1, six places on offer. I’ve been really impressed with trainer Amy Murphy, she’s making a name for herself under both codes. The yards horses run consistently well and she seems to place them in the correct races.
Kalashnikov won his first three races in impressive fashion and lost little in defeat when 2nd behind the classy Summerville Boy last time out. That was a good effort as the going at Sandown was awful. Kalashnikov has a top of the ground action and maybe got a bit bogged down. The going this afternoon won’t be ideal for the selection but it might ride a bit better than Sandown. If Kalashnikov doesn't show much today, keep with him as he's type that can land a nice prize on Spring ground. I think he's smart.
At a shorter price 4-5, Ballymoy should go close in the 1:55 at Uttoxeter. He tried to give Kalashnikov a race on his jumping debut but paid for those efforts late on. His 5th place finish was better than it reads.
Wolverhampton this evening in the 7:15, Pilgrim Soul priced at 15-8 was hampered on her latest run when holding every chance. She finished the race strongly and looks to have a good chance tonight. River Glades could be anything, if he’s smart there isn’t much we can do about that.
All of the Value Racing Club Summer horses will be in pre-training within the next 10 days. We have a good team of horses on paper for the Spring & Summer months.