Royale Knight – 3.00 Sedgefield
Royale Knight is tipped to win the Durham National at Sedgefield for the second year running.
Dr Richard Newland-trained chaser was an easy winner of the three mile five furlong chase 12 months ago and despite being asked to carry an extra 12lbs, looks worthy of today’s bet at 5/1 on Ladbrokes with best odds guarantee.
The gelding went on to finish sixth in this year’s Grand National and it appears connections are planning a similar campaign for the nine-year-old. Like last season, Royale Knight warmed up with a pipe-opener over hurdles and the fact he was well beaten at Fontwell shouldn’t impact on chances against six rivals at 3.00 today.
The betting market is open with Woodford County and Lackamon disputing favouritism around the 3/1 mark. The former has been given a good mark considering he finished third in the Eider Chase and Midlands National last season but there is a question mark about the fitness of Philip Hobbs’ chaser who has not been seen since well beaten in a Haydock handicap 208 days ago.
Sue Smith saddles Lackamon who is looking to go one better than 12 months ago and is 19lbs better off for finishing 17 lengths adrift of the selection in last year’s renewal. The ten-year-old is prone to errors as he showed when making blunders on his most recent attempt over fences at Cartmel and again when tried over hurdles at Wetherby 15 days ago.
Pinerolo makes his stable debut for Joanne Foster after winning at Hexham in May but faces much tougher opposition this time while Sun Cloud will be more of a threat with two wins this year and will be suited by today’s longer trip.
Finishing The Story returns to chasing following a couple of runs over the smaller obstacles and his most recent effort at this track 17 days ago suggests he should be fit enough to himself justice. Finally, Twirling Magnet would appear to have a lot to prove. Jonjo O’Neill’s charge is making the step up from Hunter chases and the trip is a question mark too.
1pt win Royale Knight – 11/2 Ladbrokes