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The Greatwood Veterans’ Handicap Chase looks like a cracking renewal, with some National Hunt stalwarts lining up.
Singlefarmpayment has been what many punters would call a ‘cliff’ horse as he doesn’t seem to get his head in front.
But he is always an appealing each-way selection. He travels and jumps well on the whole and has now slipped to a mark of 139, which is his lowest in three years.
He’s now up against other veterans, so he might well be worth one final go.
Only a field of eight are declared for this 2m Handicap Chase, but that could well help out Dan Skelton’s Destrier .
He has run some very solid races in defeat this season and went off as the 5/4 favourite for a competitive race at Cheltenham at the back end of last year.
He loves better ground, so the forecast good to soft will play in his favour, and his stable are in good form at the moment. He is still relatively lightly-raced and he can improve.
Dalila Du Seuil needs to learn to jump better, but is the chosen mount of Barry Geraghty and I expect her to be competitive.
The Greatwood Gold Cup is a Grade 3 Chase over 2m4f and has been won by Paul Nicholls six times in the last 10 years, so anything he runs should always be closely monitored.
In what isn’t the strongest renewal of this race I’ve ever seen, I’m rather sweet on the chances of Mont Des Avaloirs – who is from the Nicholls stable.
He was a very useful hurdler, who always jumped big over the smaller obstacles.
While he hasn’t pulled up any trees in three starts over fences, he’s gained experience in a few useful races and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him ridden more prominently in this race.
His mark of 142 is fair and can give his rider Bryony Frost a welcome Saturday winner.
The Grimthorpe Handicap Chase is the feature race on the card at Doncaster and there have been a strong field of 11 declared.
I have to say, it’s not the most competitive of renewals of this great chase so it is likely to go to a young improver.
Aaron Lad fits that mould.
He got off the mark over fences last time – on his third time of asking – and I’m convinced that he is above average. He ran a blinder at the Cheltenham Festival last year in the Pertemps and it has stuck in my mind.
He’s won a Cheltenham handicap hurdle off a mark of 133 and I don’t think this chase mark of 136 is his ceiling.
I do believe he’ll keep improving with racing experience and, under Charlie Deutsch, I’m expecting him to go mightily close.
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