Rank Outsider Can Leave Legacy In Stayers’
Mouse Morris has already enjoyed a memorable 2016 and it may be about to get better if his Alpha Des Obeaux (5/4) lands Thursday’s Stayers’ Hurdle. (5.30)
More Glory For Mouse?
This improving 6yo was runner-up in the Grade 1 novice here 12 months ago (2m4f, good), before the step up to 3m brought significant improvement. The culmination of that progress was a career best 7l second to Thistlecrack in the World Hurdle at Cheltenham (3m, good) last month and a repeat of that on Thursday may suffice.
Mullins Takes On Favourite
However, Willie Mullins will not be moving aside with ease for Morris, as his Shaneshill (11/4) lines-up with solid credentials. Just touched off in the RSA Chase at Cheltenham over this trip, before a 7l second to Thistlecrack at Aintree (3m, soft), Shaneshill has to rate a serious contender on that formline, as Alpha Des Obeaux was also beaten 7l by Thistlecrack.
King To Reign?
One who has it to prove over Thursday’s trip is Diamond King (11/2). Gordon Elliott’s 8yo has improved throughout the season, culminating in a Grade 3 win at Cheltenham last month (2m5f, good), and he can’t be underestimated if the ground remains decent.
Elsewhere, Philip Hobbs’ If In Doubt (14/1) has been a strong finisher in two valuable handicaps over 3m the last twice, and will enjoy what could turn out to be a stern stamina test. While this represents a step up in class, he remains in top form and may outstay some of these rivals.
Also available at double-figure odds is Warren Greatrex’s One Track Mind (10/1), another of the improving young guns who recorded a career best when runner-up in a Grade 2 in February (2m7f, heavy).
The trip and ground will be ideal, and he will be of interest if supported in the market.
Respect The Females
Punters should also note the two females at the bottom of the weights as they both receive a valuable 7lb allowance, which has been an advantage in this race down the years (Quevega won it four times).
Of this year’s females, Jennies Jewel was beaten only 3l by Vroum Vroum Mag at Ascot in January and has ability. At 50/1, she has to be considered as each-way material, though at the same price Legacy Gold was also beaten 3l by Vroum Vroum Mag at Cheltenham last month (2m4f) when staying on late.
Alpha Des Obeaux is respected, but with females doing well in this race, an each-way chance is taken on Legacy Gold, who shaped as though further would suit at Cheltenham and is available at big odds.
*Prices correct at time of publication.