An intriguing little contest despite the absence of Capitaine. River Wylde won his chase debut at Uttoxeter well beating Hell’s Kitchen at Uttoxeter and obviously there is more to come from Nicky Henderson’s six year old. North Hill Harvey had more of task on his debut when showing a good attitude to defeat Sceau Royal over course and distance having being headed, but this is no two horse race, with Ossie The Oscar’s victory over Shantou Rock reading well and he looks overpriced @ 8/1 for Phillip Hobbs who has won this race twice in the last three years.
2016 second and fourth Fergal Mael Duin and Morney Wing line up again in what looks an open Southern National. Fergal Mael Duin, four pounds lower, will bid to go one better than last year and won first time out last year, he is the one to beat. Morney Wing was unseated in his reappearance at Cheltenham and the jumping can let him down but looks well handicapped here while sixth last year, Mosspark, looks up against it at the weights as does Shelford. Azure Fly is fairly consistent at this level and should give his running while two who would have wanted more rain are Cyclop and Coolking. Bugsy Malone’s reappearance over hurdles was a good effort and though disappointing at Cheltenham, stays, and could go well @ 10/1.
Fox Norton is the class horse in the race and still open to improvement being only a seven year old. His only defeats last season were to Altior and Special Tiara here in March. On good ground Fox Norton will be suited by two and a half miles but conditions today should allow him to reel in game front runner Special Tiara. Cloudy Dream is the interesting one, having missed the Bet Victor yesterday due to a clerical error, he is now pitched into much tougher company by trainer Malcolm Jefferson though he did show up well against Altior last season and the two miles on soft ground should bring his stamina into play.
This will be testing and it will be all about who handles conditions the best. Jenkins is the talking horse and could be anything but 5/1 is on the short side considering his inexperience and this is a very competitive handicap. A lack of course experience is a concern, one that can also be attributed to London Prize, but he has to be respected after the way he won at Wincanton and with similar conditions, must have a big chance if handling the track. Mohaayed ran good, consistent races last season without quite winning and whether he wants further, or is not up to this class is open to question. Elgin, a good winner at Ascot last time, should again be on the premises while the progressive Misterton for Harry Fry and Tom Scudamore could go well after comfortable victory at Chepstow. Flying Tiger ran out of steam in tough going at Wincanton and with conditions on the soft side again, may just struggle though there is another good handicap in him this season. At bigger prices Nietzsche, Ivanovich Gorbatov are worth considering and it would be no surprise to see veteran The New One go close @ 14/1.
This looks a match between French import Dame De Compagnie and former pointer Slate House. The race produces good horses with the likes of Altior, Cue Card, Dodging Bullets and Moon Racer all winning in recent years. Dame De Compagnie won easily from useful bumper horse Passing Call while Slate House’s victory over Champion Bumper sixth Dens Le vent also reads well and this looks a race worth watching rather than trying to find a betting angle. Bedrock struggled here last time and looks flattered on his effort at Aintree while Better Getalong should go well but may find the principals a little too good.
Quickened Clear’s Best Bets:
Ossie The Oscar – 1.50 Cheltenham – 1pt win @ 8/1
Fergal Mael Duin – 2.05 Fontwell – 1pt win @ 5/1