Total Recall is a name to remember for the Ultima Handicap Chase, in the opinion of Seymour Biz.
Well to start with this week, I must mention the sad demise of Fountains Windfall who died on the gallops at trainers Anthony Honeyballs yard. The eight year old was a winner of seven out of sixteen races under rules and was among the favourites for the RSA Novices Chase, he will be a sad omission from the lists. As to what we have learnt from the weekends meetings the answer is really not much, the three hot-pots of the weekend Altior, Native River and Saint Cavados duly obliged. The runs won’t affect their prices much as their respective odds were pretty short anyway and to be fair they didn’t beat much and were expected to trot up. Altior is worth a special mention as he toyed with Tingle Creek winner Politologue, and won without really breaking sweat, his odds-on quote for the Queen Mother Champions Chase was franked with this victory. Native River enhanced his credentials for the Gold Cup but he won’t get near Might Bite. Saint Calvados had a nice day out at Warwick and duly disposed of his rivals, he is now six from seven, he has entries for the Arkle and the JLT but is his trainer brave enough to face Footpad in the Arkle, we shall see. And so on to the pair of races I will look at today, I have looked at ten here are two more, both run on the first day, the Ultima Handicap Chase and the Champion Hurdle.
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The Ultima Handicap Chase has Gold Present at the head of the betting, he is also declared for the Ryanair, but is more likely to take his chance here. A winner of his last two races at Ascot and Newbury, he has come on in leaps and bounds this season after a pretty lean season last year with only a Class 3 win, culminating with a fall in the Topham at Aintree. He has beaten Frodon and Singlefarmpayment but not really much else, he has been cleverly placed by Nicky Henderson . Total Recall seems to be a much better prospect, he is a Willie Mullins prodigy, and has won his three races this season coming across the water to Newbury to win the Ladbroke Trophy against a field of twenty that included Whisper, that was high quality. He has entries for the Ryanair and the Gold Cup, but if forgoing those and going for the Ultima it could be his for the taking. Worth a mention at a higher price is Beware The Bear, on his latest outing in the Welsh National at Chepstow he was pulled up in bottomless conditions after being hampered two out. I think he is Nicky Henderson’s better choice after his previous victory at Newcastle.
Total Recall 4pts win
One of the highlights of the Festival is the Unibet Champion Hurdle. And this now looks like a walk in the park for Buveur D’Air after his imperious victory at Sandown and further victories in the Fighting Fifth and Christmas Hurdle. He is short odds on for this race which is justified, so it is really a case of trying to pick something for the forecast or even if there is some eventuality that disturbs the favourite. For some reason the bookmakers have Faugheen as second favourite, if he was as his best and fully fit he would have every chance but I feel his days are over and cannot give him much hope. Further down the betting Phillip Hobbs’ Defi Du Seuil had a poor race when running in Ireland and I just can’t feel that is his true form. He carried all before him last season winning seven on the trot, that has not carried over to this year, but all is not lost, he can come on for that defeat in Ireland and run a good race back where he has won four times, making him something of a Cheltenham specialist.
Buveur D’Air 5pts win. Defi Du Seuil 1pt ew
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