Early Bird – 26th April

Boom The Groom with a clear run could well have won the sprint but having to switch to try and come rivals it was just held up in its run. We did get first and third though from Ajman King and Another Touch meaning things weren’t all bad.

4:50 Punchestown – Josies Orders

Anyone that knows me and my betting will know that I am a big fan of the cross country races, especially considering how profitable they have been for us! Often like to look towards those at a big price, though that applies more in handicaps. In level weight races it tends to pay to stick towards the head of the betting. From the four at single figures the one I most want to be against is Auvergnant despite the racing post spotlight giving it as their selection. To me that was the horse most suited to the softer conditions found at Cheltenham. Its only 12 days since Bless The Wings was 3rd in a gruelling Grand National and would be some effort to come out and win this. Cantlow was beaten in this last year when odds on and doesn’t come into the race in the same sort of form as then either. Will need the headgear to work at the age of 13. Therefore it all points to Josies Orders. Its record in cross country races on ground declared as yielding or faster is U11113, the 3rd coming when having to give weight to Bless The Wings and Cantlow who both finished in front. Not had conditions to suit lately but on decent ground it seems to stay well and can finally get another win under its belt.

1.5pt win Josies Orders @ 11/4 widely available

5:30 Punchestown – La Bague Au Roi

Penhill may take some beating as it handles any ground, still fresh on the season and looks a top class stayer. However, we don;t know what lasting effect such a big run could have on the horse after such a long absence and though off the track now for 42 days since the Cheltenham stayers it can still bounce. So an e/w bet may be rewarded and the best I hope is La Bague Au Roi. When reading all the reports and news on this horse all the talk from the trainer was about how this mare has benefited from the step up in trip to 3m. Therefore it was somewhat of a surprise to see her go for the mares option, maybe considering it the easier race, though the small field and slow early pace never played to her strengths. On better ground, stepped up in trip and getting the mares allowance I can see a big run for her.

0.75pt e/w La Bague Au Roi @ 16/1 1/4 odds 3 places Bet365

3:55 Warwick – Cresswell Legend

The only unexposed looking rival in a weak contest for the grade. Won three on the bounce all on ground with good in the description before losing its winning run when turned over on soft ground though still not disgraced in second place. Only gone up 1lb for that performance and back on faster ground it can take this before going on to better things.

1.5pt win Cresswell Legend @ 7/2 Ladbrokes

5:25 Beverley – Trevithick

Showed a good turn of foot to win at Newcastle last year before bumping into Without Parole who is now as short as 12/1 for the 200 guineas. Takes on horses who have yet to win, though does have a penalty to carry for that. Is also making seasonal debut against horses with a recent run though with the yard in good form then I think it can start off well.

1pt win Trevithick @ 10/3 widely available