Monster field for the opener but I’d break this down to 5 of interest. BETAMECHE tries to defy a lengthy absence but won two bumpers including when beating SAM SPINNER. BRIGHT FORECAST ran well enough in his point and has joined a nice yard so is of interest. JAYTRACK PARKHOMES ran well to come 5th in a Cheltenham bumper and should come on bundles for that run. SEVARANO slightly disappointed on debut but can also come forward while STRONG GLANCE won that bumper at Cheltenham and has easily the best recent form on offer. He looks the one to beat.
12:45 CHASE (A NOVICES’ LIMITED HANDICAP) (FOR THE FULKE WALWYN TROPHY) (Class 3) (4yo+ 0-140) Winner £12,762 2m92y Good To Soft
DELIRE D’ESTRUVAL only just won on his last start and might be vulnerable at the weights. DUSTIN DES MOTTES has his first start for Dr Richard Newland and is hard to assess on the strength of his French form. Might come on for the run but the market will best guide him chance. KNOCKNANUSS is very forceful over his fences and that caused him to fall on his penultimate start. His mark of 133 looks workable though is allowed to dictate. KUPATANA won as she liked on chase debut but it now up 9lbs for that and probably wouldn’t have wanted any rain. THE LAST DAY was 2 from 4 over hurdles and should make a better chaser. His mark looks on the soft side so expect him to go well despite the trainer and jockey having a lean spell. AL SHAHIR was sent off favourite for a similar event earlier this month and while only 4th he ran well enough and is clearly held in high regard.
KATESON sets the standard here after a decent hurdling performance on debut at Chepstow. Carries winners penalty because of that but should have improved for the run and his second in the Aintree bumper is red hot form so far this season. CAPTAINS RUN only completed once in his 4 points and the breeding suggests he’ll make into a far better chaser than a hurdler. Represents a strong yard though so it will be interesting to see how he fares. ECLAIR D’AINAY was second on his sole start in France and with that form being let down after it’s hard to suggest how good he might be. But owner J Hayles has some nice sorts and he’s another that might just be a longer term prospect. MORNING VICAR was probably disappointing round here in a Class 1 bumper last February but ran well enough in April when conceding plenty of weight to the winner. Strength of that form doesn’t look too strong but he looks a nice sort all the same. MR PUMBLECHOOK gave the impression in his bumpers and on hurdle debut that he will benefit from this step up in trip. Probably not going to be top draw, but in a race that might be lacking depth he’s of interest. THE WOLF is one of the most interesting runners in here now stepping up in trip as his breeding suggests he’ll want this trip to show his best. Flat track could work well and I think he’ll come on bundles from his seasonal debut.
13:50 NOVICES’ CHASE (REGISTERED AS THE BERKSHIRE NOVICES’ CHASE) (GRADE 2) (Class 1) (4yo+) Winner £22,780 2m3f187y Good To Soft
Despite the small field it’s packed with top class prospects. SPIRITOFTHEGAMES won a Listed Novice chase at Chepstow last month and should improve further for that run. Hard to know if MASTER TOMMYTUCKER would have challenged or won that day but take nothing away from the winner. LOSTINTRANSLATION was sent off favourite against LA BAGUE AU ROI last time out and the two had a great battle. Drop back in trip looks a help to him and he has won round here at this meeting last season. Faces La Bague Au Roi on better terms in this so he’s a player. TALKISCHEAP was in behind both Lostintranslation & La Bague Au Roi the last day and while that was an encouraging performance he looks to be better suited when stepping up in trip as opposed to the drop he faces here. La Bague Au Roi is versatile in terms of trip, track and ground so she looks very capable of following up her win round here earlier in the month.
BEGGAR’S WISHES won a very competitive handicap the last day and despite the hike comes here with his chance. He stole a few lengths when kicking for home early so they won’t want to afford him the same again. WILLOUGHBY COURT won the Novices’ chase on this card a year ago and if there’s not much more rain tomorrow then he should be ok on the ground. Wouldn’t want it too soft which was apparent at Cheltenham on New Years’ Day but coming here after a break and a wind op we’ll see how well treated he is. THREE MUSKETEERS won here as a Novice and was on the premises when unseating in this race two years ago off a 5lbs higher mark. Had a prep run over hurdles last month and looks to have been plotted with this race in mind for a while. KING’S ODYSSEY is typically on the premises but might just prefer a more undulating track. TOUCH KICK was a nice winner for Nichols and Hemmings last time out and that made it 2 wins from 4 starts over fences. This demands more and probably wouldn’t want any more rain.
The conditions of this race mean that both SAM SPINNER & WHOLESTONE carry 6lbs penalties. They are two major players but that extra weight does bring them back closer to the field. WHOLESTONE hasn’t won at 3m for two years and the ground turning soft is probably going against him. SAM SPINNER goes well enough fresh and despite a couple of disappointing runs in the spring he’s still potentially a force to be reckoned with in this staying hurdles. Soft ground for him is a plus and he’s only a 6yo so is open to further improvement. CLYNE is interesting now stepping up in trip as it’s not a move I would have thought likely. UNOWHATIMEANHARRY is now a 10yo and he will benefit from his last start, runs here without a penalty unlike last year and should be on the premises. MOMELLA has 3 wins from 5 starts under rules and the two defeats were placed efforts behind ON THE BLIND SIDE & BLACK OP. She looks to be a massive player now stepping up to 3m being a winning pointer, and she’s having her first start for Harry Fry and has had a wind op. She also runs in a first time tongue tie so clearly has had breathing problems at the new yard. She looks a huge player from a potential perspective but does need to improve to take this.