Author: Alan Kelly
Published: 09:32 24/04/2014
A busy Thursday with five British meetings but Perth host the most valuable contest in the shape of the McBookie.com Festival Handicap Chase at 4.20 and with bookmakers going 13-2 the field for the 13-runner race over an extended 2m 4f it is also one of the most competitive of the day in which most of the field can be given a chance on their best form.
The Michael Easterby-trained Shadows Lengthen headed the the betting at the overnight stage and will be attempting to land a hat-trick of wins at the scottish venue but will find this much tougher than his latest short head victory over the disappointing Real Milan at Haydock and is passed over in favour the Venetia Williams-trained Dare Me who is now available at a best price 16-1 with several firms including Paddy Power and Betfair Sportsbook.
The 10-year-old Bob Back gelding was an impressive winner at Warwick back in January when running out an easy 14 length winner over Al Alfa, who went on to win his next start at Taunton ,before being sent to the Cheltenham Festival to contest the Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase where Dare Me finished a respectable seventh behind Irish challenger Savello. The mount of Aidan Coleman could never get competitive on his most recent start when seventh again, this time at Aintree's Grand National meeting in the 2m Silver Cross Red Rum Handicap Chase won by Parsnip Pete.
Tomorrow will be the first time the horse has raced over this trip since finishing tenth in the 2012 Coral Cup but there is no reason to suppose there should be any stamina issues and a big run is expected in this slightly lower grade. Biggest danger could come from another 10-1 chance in Silver Roque who has not run since pulling up at Cheltenham in December but had previously ran out an easy winner at Sedgefield on his seasonal debut.