I would have thought Saphir De Rheu would have too much pace for all of them given likely conditions. Do like Coneygree, but with the ground drying out it wouldn't be a surprise if connections looked elsewhere. Sausalito Sunrise could be a bit slow in the conditions.
More often than not horses drift simply because of strength of support for something else. It would be naïve to think there are not sometimes other reasons, but we've all seen huge drifters win and, if anything, I tend to step in again if my selections goes for a walk.
I think the William Hill King George is fascinating this year and even more so because of the ground drying out, as you have pointed out. It has been very windy down south for the last couple of days and it could be good by Friday. That makes it more open. I'll certainly be loking to take on the front two on value grounds. Menorah is an old favourite of mine, but every time I have had a decent bet on him he has run badly, so I'm always wary of him. His Kempton record is good, though.
Pretty much the same as on the day of the race really. First of all you have to try to find a runner, but otherwise you go through the usual process. When it comes to looking at big races, you can generally guarantee there will be a fair pace. It's probably harder on the Flat when it comes to draw/going change etc.
The way he travelled at Punchestown last time suggests he is very talented. He reportedly lost his front shoes and finished lame, so as long as he is over that he should go well in what is obviously a tough race. He does have the look of a horse who has been laid out for it.
With the ground drying out I really like the look of Knock House in the novice handicap chase at Kempton on Friday. He will appreciate the drop back to 2m4f too.
Probably because I'm an anorak with no outside interests! I love all the big races and therefore spend as long as I can studying them.
In truth I have no idea. He could well be a superstar, but as with a lot of horses this season he has yet to be given the chance to prove. He will certainly have to up his game against the likes of Irving, Purple Bay and Sign Of A Victory compared to last time at Ascot. I think he'll prove up to the task, but I do think he is a terrible price right now for the Champion Hurdle.
To be honest I think Bobs Worth may have had his day. He wasn't within a stone of his best at any stage last season, even when winning the Lexus. I know everyone says he wants good ground, but his best form has come when it has been very soft and he may not find it enough of a test this time.
As with the King George, we could have a slightly different race this time as the ground promises to be nowhere near as testing as it usually is for the Welsh National. The top weight is rated just 149, too, which means a lot of horses have got into the handicap from low weights. I think Amigo will go well and am starting to like the chances of Benbens for Nigel Twiston-Davies. He certainly knows how to win a National.
He is the worst value in the race by a mile. It doesn't mean he can't win, but he has the best part of a stone to find with the likes of Silviniaco Conti and Cue Card. Bookmakers run scared of Willie Mullins, and not without justification sometimes, but Champagne Fever was perfectly entitled to easily beat two horses rated 149 and 145 in receipt of 4lb at Clonmel. On Friday he will be off levels against rivals rated 174 and 172.
My tipping record suggests I'm better on the NH and it's true I am far more passionate about jumping than the Flat, but from a punting perspective there's nothing in it. As far as the Weekender is concerned, it is probably easier during the jumps season as I don't have to worry about things like the ground (it'll nearly always be soft) or draw.
Best bet for Kempton looks like Knock House in the novice handicap chase. For Leopardstown I'm beginning to get warm on the chances of Lord WIndermere in the Lexus. Real eyecatcher last time.
Karezak is the standout on form so far as he'll be better off with Old Guard from Newbury and he gives the impression a real test will suit. There are too many imponderables, though, as there is little form to go on and, for a Grade 1, it historically tends to have very little significance for the rest of the season.
I have always been a sucker for a multiple bet and the more exotic the better! I often put a stack of horses into trebles, fourfolds, fivefolds etc. They're only a bit of fun, though, so I never stake too much.
Kalkir is not one I'd be in a rush to oppose. He was really impressive first time and it will take a good performance for something to beat him. Again, though, there are any number of potential rivals who are lightly raced and could improve, so I won't be going in at short odds. Nichols Canyon was a high-class soft-ground lover on the Flat and already looks pretty high class over hurdles. His trainer Willie Mullins has more than half the entries in his race, though, so it all depends on what he intends to run.
He could. This will be his chance to race over 3m on ground that isn't too testing. He would have more pace than most of his rivals. I'd like to see him try to make all again, but connections have been talking about letting something else do the donkey work. I that happens he may pull away his chance as he did two years earlier. I'll they'll see sense, though, so I make him a major player
Hard not to be. He may have been a 1/5 chance, but they were not all mugs behind him. The 12-length runner-up was fourth in the Coral Cup off 143, for instance. Like a few others, I do worry about his jumping on an undulating track, particularly at a downhill fence as he can land steeply.
If you knew Sire De Grugy was going to come back he'd be a massive price at 5-1, but otherwise it's very hard to get worked up about anything. We keep hearing good things about Sprinter Sacre, but I'm not the only one who fears we won't see him again. Uxizandre is arguably this season's form horse having beaten Tingle Creek winner Dodging Bullets at Cheltenham. He'll shorten if he wins at Leopardstown this week.
There is only one winner of the Albert Bartlett and that is No More Heroes for Gordon Elliott. I'm sure this horse will win a Gold Cup in a couple of years.
In a handicap he'd be getting 15lb from Silviniaco Conti, so he does have it to do. Not yet sure he's a proper 3m horse either.
He did look good at Nebwury and it will be interesting if Henderson sends him to Kempton as he used to mop up that race, often with a very good horse. Give the trainer's post-race comments "he will be different gravy in time" we should be hearing a lot more from him.
My initial feeling was that Kauto Star would have won last year's Gold Cup despite being 14! It wasn't the best renewal was it? That said, the current holder was a real eyecatcher over 2m4f last time and might have more to come this season.