Only six races at Cheltenham this afternoon on a moderate card where the ground is likely to be nearer good than good to soft come post time with no rain forecast over the three days of their November meeting.
The 2m handicap chase is a cracker and top-weight The Glancing Queen is a worthy market leader despite the steadier of 12st given there is only 15lbs in the handicap between the field, she has an excellent record fresh and will enjoy the decent surface.
A couple of the fancied runners Fugitif and Hasankey would not want the ground to dry put too much, and I just favour GREY DIAMOND, who runs in the colours of Dai Walters, who remains critically ill in hospital following his helicopter crash at the beginning of the month.
The selection had a light campaign last term and has only won one of nine career chase starts, but three of his four career successes have come on good ground, and he has won first time out in the past. Connections have recently won a couple of big races at Ascot and Aintree, and I hope this is their hat trick.
Hereditary Rule has been successfully mixing chasing with hurdling this summer and is a fast fluent jumper. Trainer John McConnell’s Irish raiders are always well respected, and, at the time of writing, he has had two winners from his last four runners.
Had you told me three out that PULL AGAIN GREEN would be beaten 15L here at the Showcase meeting last month I would have offered you long odds, but he finished weakly, having looked a tricky ride. I wondered if Fergal O’Brien would go for some sort of headgear this afternoon but has decided against.
The drying ground is a plus for the selection who failed to complete in two of his three starts between the flags. He jumped the first slowly on his chase debut, jumped the path and made a significant error two out. It is possible that he just won’t take to the larger obstacles, but he has the scope for fences and is given the chance to atone.
There was 9/2 available when betting opened on Wednesday, but he was a best price of 7/2 at the time of writing.
Go On Chez ran well for a long time on ground softer than ideal at Cheltenham last month and he has had a good summer winning twice for his in-form yard. Roque It heads the betting – which is a surprise – having left Paul Nicholls to join Laura Morgan since his last start. He was better going right-handed for his previous yard and preference is for GALOP DU BOSC.
The selection constantly jumped out to his left at Ludlow last time but ran well enough, having ploughed through the open ditch on the far side on the second circuit. A multiple-winner between the flags if the selection can avoid significant errors, he may be difficult to peg back for Tim Vaughan, who has his string in good form.
WORLD WITHOUT LOVE has been a different proposition since being introduced to Richard Kingscote and held up out the back over extreme trips. She could be called the winner someway out when scoring at Wolverhampton earlier in the week and, if in the same mood, she will be tough to beat.
She is bred to be smart and stay, half-sister to Ascot Gold Cup winner Subjectivist, and is a rarity because she is a Mark & Charlie Johnston animal who has benefited from being ridden with restraint.
* Betting odds correct at the time of publication. All odds are subject to changes.