The final declarations for the Grade Two £100,000 contest will only be made later this morning, but the field will be no bigger than 11-strong as only that number stood their ground at the five-day stage. They look sure to be headed by the ultra-game Snoopy Loopy who finished third to State Of Play 12 months ago and is reported to be in real good order by his trainer. However, it will almost take a career best effort to lumber 11stone 10lbs round here and the lack of rain certainly hasn’t helped.
Ollie Magern was only narrowly denied a hat-trick of wins in this contest when beaten a length last year and looks sure to be a player once again. He will have 10lbs less in the saddle than 12 months ago, but at the age of 11, there has to be a worry that his best years are now behind him.
The market is currently headed by the Evan Williams trained Deep Purple at around 5/2 with Boylesports and the eight-year-old looked a really exciting novice last season. He rounded off a terrific campaign by winning a good looking Grade Two Novice Chase at Ayr and connections immediately ear-marked this race for him. However, he has never raced beyond two-and-a-half miles before and his jumping will be tested more than ever as a strong pace is guaranteed.
Paul Nicholls had a handful of well-fancied runners beaten last weekend and all Ditcheat runners tend to be backed off the boards every Saturday afternoon. The betting suggests that What A Friend will be his leading charge tomorrow, but he is another who would surely appreciate some rain and has always looked more of a stayer than a speedster. I’d far rather be looking to lay him on Betdaq than back him at around 10/3.
That leaves the David Pipe trained TAMARINBLEU who looks sure to put up a real bold effort from the front. The nine-year-old has run some of his best races first up in recent seasons therefore the lack of a recent run is actually a positive. He will make this a real test and Monet’s Garden showed last weekend how class chasers are really difficult to peg back when allowed to get into a rhythm and dictate from the front.
Looking at today’s action and I like the look of QUICK WIT in Newmarket’s 1.15pm contest this afternoon. He was really well backed at Doncaster last week when he chased home a nice type which suggests he is held in high regard. This represents a far easier assignment and he should get off the mark at the third time of asking. I’ll also be giving another chance to the Marcus Tregoning trained HAADEETH at a decent price in the Conditions Stakes at 3.35pm. He is held in quite high regard at home and it was only inexperience that got him beat at Newbury last time.
QUICK WIT 1.15pm Newmarket (Today)
HAADEETH 3.35pm Newmarket (Today)
TAMARINBLEU 2.55pm Wetherby (Tomorrow)