By News Team
8th January 2021
There’s another bumper day of National Hunt action this weekend as the rescheduled Welsh National headlines a great card at Chepstow, while there is some great stuff at Kempton and Wincanton too.
Here are Nick Luck’s thoughts on the ITV action.
SPRINGFIELD FOX looks a highly likely winner of this year’s Welsh National (3.10pm) at 8/1. A lightly raced horse, but a largely assured jumper who travels sweetly at the head of affairs, he will not mind how deep the ground becomes. His career defining performance came at this track when thrashing Sizing Cusimano, since when it appears as though he has been targeted at this race, as evidenced by a warmup spin over hurdles here, which confirmed his well-being without doing any damage to his attractive looking handicap mark.
THE TWO AMIGOS, runner up behind today’s favourite Secret Reprieve in the trial race for this three weeks ago, represents better value to run another huge race at 12/1. He comes into this race in slightly better form than when an excellent fifth in this last year, races off a similar mark, has a weight pull with the favourite, and has loads of experience in these big field handicaps. He is only a small horse, and I prefer him against better opposition with less weight on his back. He’s has a big chance if ridden a little less forcefully.
LORD DU MESNIL is another candidate for the placings, having run any number of terrific races in the mud last winter off comparable marks. His two runs this season have been in a novice hurdle and over a trip too short over the Aintree fences, none of which is really his bag. His stable is much respected, he gets on very well with Paul O’Brien, and looks bound to run well at 12/1.
The Two Amigos
Lord Du Mesnil
ADAGIO is a shade overpriced to land the Final juvenile hurdle (1.25pm). His form isn’t that flash, but the same can be said of all the juvenile hurdle form in the UK so far this season, and he showed a nice bit of improvement on genuinely soft ground at Cheltenham. Stamina looks his forte and he’s not as far behind Nassalam as his odds of 5/1 might suggest.
THEINVAL might be a bit long in the tooth, and has never been the heartiest, but he’s too big a price at 12/1 for the first leg of a telly marathon on Saturday, starting at Kempton (1.10pm). He loved this track as a hurdler and showed easily enough on his comeback at Leicester to think there was still something to work on. He’ll find this company a bit less demanding than some of his assignments, and there should be enough pace on in here for him to work off.
DOUBLE SHUFFLE is another one that’s getting on, but his love affair with Kempton might see him go quite close in the handicap chase (1.45pm) at 15/2. He came up against two very well handicapped rivals here last time, but showed masses of enthusiasm in the process and ought to be just as competitive here. Two For Gold remains interesting, while Coo Star Sivola is dangerously handicapped if you knew what form he was in.
YOUNEVERCALL is a little bit of value to upset McFabulous in the Relkeel Hurdle (2.20pm). Strip away the hype, and there is very little between them on bare form, while Kim Bailey’s horse receives three pounds. He ran an absolute screamer in the Long Walk on unsuitably soft ground, and this sort of test should be much more to his liking at 7/2.
MASTERTOMMYTUCKER can get one back against the odds for Paul Nicholls in the Silviniaco Conti Chase (2.55pm) at 10/3. A small field at a track where he has shown smart form in the past should suit perfectly, as should the relative emphasis on speed. Cheltenham was never going to be the right race for him last time, but there were still some notable flashes of ability, and he’s getting a few pounds from the higher rated horses.
ONE TRUE KING can win the Lanzarote Hurdle (3.30pm) at 7/1. I have been very impressed with this horse’s attitude and jumping as he has progressed through the ranks, and he is arguably lucky to have got away with a two pound rise since his ride at Leicester. What is more interesting is that he steps up in trip here, which should suit really well. Amour De Nuit and Misty Whisky look key dangers.
PROTEKTORAT should be pretty hard to beat at 4/11 in the rescheduled Dipper (2.05pm). I’m not sure I’ve seen a more exciting jumping performance by a novice this season as the one he posted at Cheltenham and he ought to win again.
CAPELAND might be the beneficiary of a race that falls apart in the handicap chase (2.50pm). The handicapper is starting to give him a chance after thinking he was a championship horse for most of last season, and Angus Cheleda’s seven-pound claim could just tip the balance in his favour here at track that he should enjoy. He’s priced at 8/1.
JACKSON HILL has looked a complete thief so far and is a sixteen-race maiden, but there are grounds for thinking he will steal the finale at Wincanton (3.45pm). Put simply, I don’t think he really stays, but a two-mile chase here is about as undemanding a stamina test as you get, and he jumped quite well on his only start over fences at Kempton, where he found two and a half miles beyond him. He’s a pretty nice price here at 8/1 and – if nothing else – he tends to run to his mark.