Man On The Spot: Pick 7 verdicts
Man On The Spot previews the races which make up Saturday's free-to-play Pick 7 game, which has a £50,000 jackpot.
There is a very strong Irish challenge for this qualifier and Tony Martin's Leopardstown runner-up Mydor is expected to go close. There are also possibilities about Chain Gang following a recent pipe-opener at Punchestown but Charlie Stout is upped in grade and distance as he bids for a fourth win in five starts. Eminent Poet in another chasing a hat-trick at a higher level but the mare Nordic Nymph has been carrying all before her this season. Call To Order landed a gamble in a very competitive handicap at Cheltenham in December and Dadsintrouble is equally unexposed and won nicely over course and distance last month. BIG RIVER couldn't quicken on good ground at Musselburgh after scoring on heavy going at Ayr earlier. Well regarded, he might be worth another chance over this trip.
Doesyourdogbite surrendered his unbeaten record in the Lanzarote Hurdle at Kempton last month, when finishing behind Templeross, but shouldn't be written off just yet. Oscar Hoof and Divine Spear represent last year's winning yard and the latter ran well when third at Cheltenham while a market move for course winner Krugermac would be interesting as he receives weight all round and clearly needed the run at Sandown last month. Man Of Plenty keeps knocking on the door but the mare My Khaleesi may find her lack of experience a negative in a field this size. AIR HORSE ONE took seven attempts to get off the mark but took a further step forward with a convincing victory at Taunton and this looks to be his trip. He gets a tentative vote to complete the hat-trick in a wide-open renewal.
Despite its name, this hasn't proved a great trial for the Grand National itself over the years but plenty of these will be Aintree-bound if running up to scratch. Blaklion won the RSA Chase last season but has struggled in top company this term. He wouldn't be the biggest and has a welter burden to carry. He also finished behind Wakanda in the Rowland Meyrick at Wetherby over Christmas, though is slightly better off at the weights. Vieux Lion Rouge was seventh in the National last year and won the Becher Chase on his reappearance in December. He is a bit of an enigma but capable on his day and so is Houblon Des Obeaux, third in the Welsh National in December. Kruzhlinin won over a shorter trip here in November and Goodtoknow is another arriving in good form after a comfortable win at Hereford, for which he carries a penalty. Gas Line Boy is a stout stayer but so is TOUR DES CHAMPS and he could give budding trainer Sam Drinkwater his biggest win to date. The 10-year-old has won a Sussex National and finished fourth in a Scottish National so stamina isn't an issue and he looked as good as ever when making a winning return to action at Cheltenham when ahead of both Doctor Harper and Warrantor.
CUE CARD last ran in this in 2013 and was a six-length winner ahead of Captain Chris, who went one better the following year. Colin Tizzard's brilliant chaser has won another six Grade 1 races since and only found stablemate Thistlecrack too strong when attempting to win the King George for a second time at Kempton on his latest start. Though he hasn't raced over a trip this short for almost two years, it's difficult to envisage defeat for the 11-year-old against a largely sub-standard field. Irish Cavalier did beat the selection in the Charlie Hall at Wetherby in October but that form was comprehensively turned on its head in the Betfair Chase at Haydock the following month. Taquin Du Seuil is more interesting as he won the BetVictor Gold Cup in November and then ran well in the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown. Royal Regatta goes well here but was beaten more than 20 lengths when third in this 12 months ago, though is still preferred to Traffic Fluide and Shantou Flyer.
Theligny has enjoyed a terrific run this campaign but has never raced over a trip this far and steps out of handicaps. Ballyarthur has a lot more to do than when winning at Leicester but should stay and makes more appeal than Nicky Richards' pair Another Bill and Progress Drive. Report To Base led until the last in a Listed race at Cheltenham on his latest start while No Hassle Hoff travelled like a dream in this grade at Doncaster last month only to get worried out of it close home by the rallying Constantine Bay. THE WORLDS END may have a little to find on the form book and struggled to get past the trail-blazing Testify at Chepstow last time. But he got better the further he went and the second won over this trip at Bangor last week to frank the form.
Awaywiththegreys has been showing signs of a revival lately but tends to save his best for Chepstow. Fortunate George finished ahead of Desert Sensation at Sandown earlier this month but was treading water in the closing stages and has been raised 2lb since. Theatre Goer's Ludlow win hasn't worked out and she's now 4lb higher but Bon Enfant ran well behind the prolific Tobefair at Warwick and may be running into form. Spellbound is another who is gradually getting her act together but JOE FARRELL is a potential blot on the handicap on his defeat of subsequent Listed winner Keepers Hill at Ffos Las in November. Things haven't gone to plan since but he's always looked a stayer in the making and gets his chance to prove that theory correct today.
TANIT RIVER has yet to finish out of the first two over fences and was particularly impressive at Chepstow last time. This will be more difficult off a 9lb higher mark but his stable is back among the winners and Alan Johns claims a handy 3lb. Commis D'office is having his first run for Venetia Williams and hasn't raced since June but could be well treated. Captain Redbeard opened his account at Wetherby last month and Wuff will have benefited from his run at Lingfield but the handicapper may have reeled in Palm Grey. Aqua Dude has shown promise and looks the pick of the remainder.