The Young Master won the Bet365 Chase in 2016 with an ultra game performance and I think he can do it again on Saturday. He won that day off an official rating of 148 and comes here this time off 142, with two early season wins under his belt (looking much more enthusiastic in those than he has for a long time).
He was pulled up in the Hennessy in ground he hates and then ran a fine third in the Kim Muir at Cheltenham last time. Prior to his 2016 win in this race he had finished 3rd in The Ultima at Cheltenham, so there are strong echoes from 3 years ago. He loves good ground and perhaps the. most experienced 3lbs claimer in the history of racing Sam Waley-Cohen is in the saddle as usual.
The ground will be a major decider in this race as it will on the whole card. Present Man will love the fast going and the clockwise track, but he’s been off for 98 days (wind surgery on Jan 29), and this race has not been won by a horse who has been off the track so long for quite some time. My records go back to 1997 and the maximum in that period has been 56 days. He’s run twice before in this, failing to see the trip out strongly enough both times. The effectiveness of wind surgery (sometimes works, often doesn’t), could decide his chance.
I like Rolling Dylan quite a lot and if he’d shown more resolution in past finishes he might have been my main selection, because I think this trip will bring improvement in him. I’ll back him each way as a saver.
In the first race, The Skelton Brothers ride into town once more to scare the pants off the locals with an improving horse, and I think they could well head for the hills carrying the trophy. The horse is Humble Hero who won last time despite looking green enough to my eye that he could come on a stone for it.
Another I fancy (5.15) is A Hare Breath, a horse I’ve always liked although he doesn’t win often these days. He’s been hard to train and has run just 17 times despite him now being 11 years-old. The very talented Connor Brace (he won on Verdana Blue, among others recently) takes 7lbs off and I’ll be very surprised if A Hare Breath isn’t closer to 10/1 than the current 20/1 come the off.
At first glance the 4.10 looked best left alone, but I’m intrigued by Henderson putting three in here. The mare With Discretion hasn’t run for over a year and dismounting from her after he last victory De Boinville said she’d be put away as she had to have soft ground. It’s good to firm in places here if the forecast is right.
De Boinville rides On The Blind Side is this race. He was a promising novice hurdler who has won over fences at 3 miles but this is his first outing on good ground and things might happen a bit too fast for him at this trip.
At around 14/1 it’s worth taking a wee chance with Henderson’s other runner Thomas Campbell. He’s won 4 from 8 on this ground and this is his first post-wind surgery outing.
1.35 Humble Hero. 10/1
3.35 The Young Master. 10/1. Rolling Dylan (saver EW) 20/1
4.10. Thomas Campbell 14/1
5.15. A Hare Breath. 20/1
It’s well worth mixing these in small stakes EW multiple bets. You should definitely have 2 EW accumulators if nothing else.