April 2016

‘Deadly’ Double, Saturday, April 16

‘Deadly’ Double, Saturday, April 16 In the Jordan Electrics Ltd Future Champions Novices’ Chase (2.25) at Ayr on Saturday, Bristol De Mai already has the best single piece of form in the race and, back on his favoured soft ground, must have an outstanding chance of returning to winning ways. His 3-length second to Black Hercules in the JLT Novices’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival provided further proof, if any were needed, of his ability and he should be too good for these.

In the Scotty Brand Handicap Chase (3.35), Solar Impulse is back on a career-high mark after a convincing 3¾-length win, in first-time blinkers, in the Grand Annual Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, but may be capable of following up. His three most recent wins have come on good ground, but he won on heavy going when trained in France, so slower underfoot conditions may not hinder his chance. More of a concern is whether the headgear will have the same effect this time but, if it does, he looks the form pick.

Selections: Ayr 2.25 Bristol De Mai, Ayr 3.35 Solar Impulse, 1-point Win Double

‘Deadly’ Double, Thursday, April 7

‘Deadly’ Double, Thursday, April 7 In the Betfred Bowl Chase (2.50) at Aintree on Thursday, Cue Card has looked better than ever this season and was travelling ominously well when falling three out in the Cheltenham Gold Cup last month. Whether he’d have won that day is a matter for conjecture, but the sharp, flat track should suit him much better than Cheltenham and he looks a good bet to make amends. He proved no match for subsequent Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Don Cossack in the Betfred Melling Chase, over 2 miles 4 furlongs, on the Mildmay Course at this time last year, but has officially improved 13lb in the interim and is definitely the one to beat. He probably doesn’t want the ground to dry out too much but, with an unsettled forecast for the North West for the rest of the week, he should be in his element.

In the Doom Bar Aintree Hurdle (3.25), Annie Power beat My Tent Or Yours by 4½ lengths in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham last month and can confirm the form over this longer distance. My Tent Or Yours was returning from an absence of nearly two years on that occasion, so can be expected to improve, but he has never raced, never mind won, over 2 miles 4 furlongs, so he may end up playing second fiddle to Willie Mullins’ mare once again. Annie Power has won all but one of her 15 completed starts over hurdles and can continue her extraordinary sequence.

Selections: Aintree 2.50 Cue Card, Aintree 3.25 Annie Power, 1-point Win Double