The Grimthorpe Chase (Saturday 3.45) will be run at Doncaster over it’s traditional trip of 26-furlongs.
The race has attracted some classy individuals in Wonderful Charm, The Druids Nephew and last year’s Bet365 winner Just A Par, but a close look through the records reveals that only 2 horses in the last 15 renewals have carried more than 10-12 to victory – and so let’s take a look at the likely runners.
Al Co 20/1
Connections are likely to be targeting the Scottish National again but, as the 2013 Scottish National winner is 6lb lower than the mark he won off at Ayr, he could conceivably win this and still head back to Ayr off a similar mark to the one he won off. Also interesting as he’s won a hurdles race at Doncaster off 130, and stable in reasonable form.
Band Of Blood 20/1
At the right end of the weights, but has looked out of form recently, as has his stable.
Bear’s Affair 16/1
Often saves his best for Aintree, and connections may well be using this as a prep race for the Grand National. 3lb above last winning mark, and ran poorly only course start.
Obvious form chance after his second in the Skybet Chase here at Doncaster, but the extra 2 furlongs may test his stamina. At the right end of the weights though and stable back in form.
Drop Out Joe 6/1
Second to a very well weighted rival in last year’s renewal, but has gone up 19lb for two wins since, meaning he has plenty of weight to carry this time around.
Ikorodu Road 20/1
Not got the class of some, but absolutely loves this course and distance with form figures of 2/1/4/1 over it. Stable in form and carries just 10-0, but is 13.
Just A Par 14/1
Won the Bet365 Chase at Sandown off 7lb higher, and has to shoulder 11-1. Sneaking suspicion that connections have one eye on the Grand National for him.
Masters Hill 20/1
Never won a handicap over hurdles or fences, but handicapper gives him a chance here off 140. The Tizzard stable is also in great form, but just a worry that he prefers small fields.
Presenting Junior 33/1
Struggled for form so far this season, and still 8lb above the mark he won his sixth race of last season off.
4lb lower than when winning at Fontwell in 2014, but out of form since returning from injury. Stable going quite well though.
Sego Success 6/1
Well-fancied when falling in the Classic Chase at Warwick, and potentially still well-handicapped despite being 7lb higher than when winning over 3-miles here. Extra distance should suit, but plenty of his stable companions have been running poorly recently.
The Druids Nephew 7/1
9lb higher than when winning at last year’s Cheltenham Festival, and a worry he might head there instead.
The Last Samuri 5/1
Consistent horse who could still be improving, but has to carry 11-3, though no major surprise if he manages it.
Al Co is interesting off a feather-weight but, as jockey Sean Bowen is pencilled into ride Just A Par, he’s reluctantly passed over in favour of an each-way bet on course and distance specialist Ikorodu Road.
Ikorodu Road each-way @ 20/1 (Bet365, Betvictor)