Brave Spartacus – 3.30 Aintree (Sunday)
With the exception of next weekend’s Breeders’ Cup and Doncaster’s November Handicap seven days later this time of year is all about the national hunt season getting into full swing. Many of the leading lights of the jumping game brush off the cobwebs in preparation for the big prizes on offer in the months ahead, including the 11 horses due to line up for Sunday’s Listed Monet’s Garden Old Roan Chase at Aintree.
The 2m 3f 200y Grade 2 Limited Handicap has attracted a competitive field headed by the popular Wishful Thinking who has to give weight to his ten rivals which include Topham Chase winner Rajdhani Express, last season’s narrow Paddy Power gold Cup runner-up Johns Spirit and promising northern challenger Duke Of Milan.
Buywise, Sound Investment and Splash Of Ginge are all capable of going well on their best form while bottom weight Le Bacardy and Irish raider Lord Ben can not be discounted in an open contest, but at the 16-1 available with Betfair Sportsbook the Keith Reveley-trained Brave Spartacus looks the value to take the race worth over £33k to the winner.
While connections of most of his rivals will have future targets at the back of their minds as the season progresses the nine-year-old son of Spartacus is likely to find this his best opportunity of picking up a valuable prize and following a spin over hurdles and a run on the flat in a Ripon maiden last month the mount of James Reveley should be spot-on for his first run over fences since running out an easy winner of Market Rasen’s Betfred Summer Plate back in July.
The gelding will have to race off a 10lb higher mark at the Liverpool venue but still finds himself towards the bottom of the handicap and with just 10st 7lb to carry this bold front-runner is capable of leading his rivals a merry dance under conditions that should suit.
1 Point each-way Brave Spartacus 16-1 Betfair Sportsbook