A daunting handicap at first glance but perhaps not the lottery it seems given that winners have been prominent in the betting, with 11 sent off at odds between 9/2 and 12/1. Sticking those horses who were first and second last time out – in keeping with ten of the last ten winners – narrows the field down even further. If only it was that easy.
De Plotting She’d is one horse who does at least fit the above criteria and, on what he’s been showing over over fences against decent rivals, he’s a deserving favourite, although I suspect that is also to do with his connections. His trainer Gordon Elliott has been plundering Festival handicaps for a while now and certainly knows how to get a horse to peak at this meeting. However, this fellow doesn’t look quite as progressive as some of his rivals and he’s had plenty of chances without winning (his losing run goes back to November 2016), including an odds-on defeat last time out.
He’s not for me at the current 6/1 and I’m hardly rushing to back the leading British hope (at least according to the betting), the hat-trick chasing Barney Dwan. Both his recent wins have come on good to soft and it was riding good when he finished second in last season’s Pertemps Final. Unless the ground dries out – it was soft at the time of writing with more wet stuff forecast – he’s going to struggle, and the same comment applies to the fancied Nicky Henderson-trained pair of Rather Be and Divine Spear.
But plenty of give is not going to inconvenience Willie Mullins’ ANY SECOND NOW one bit and while he’s been well found in the market, no bad thing given the trends, I’ve no hesitation in putting him up as the most likely winner, with bet365’s on that happening looking more than fair.
By taking advantage of all the free bets offers advertised on this site, the majority of which are concentrated on the Supreme, there is a very good chance we can back him risk free – or with our winnings, preferably!
The six-year-old is certainly worth an interest, if only a free bet, as he’s looked a natural in his four starts over fences and while he’s still a maiden, he has been taking on top novices and has yet to finish out of the first three. He’s had Footpad amongst his rivals the last twice and clearly found 2m too sharp on both occasions. He’s much better judged on his two runs over 2m4f, which resulted in seconds behind Monalee and stablemate Invitation Only, and on a line through the latter horse he’s by no means handicapped out of this on a mark of 145.
This race is full of progressive novices like him but I’m convinced he’s been hiding his light under a bushel, and the step up to 2m5f against handicap rivals could be the key to him.
Of the rest, I’ve a healthy respect for Mister Whitaker and Mick Channon’s six-year-old is worth a saver at Betfair’s 12/1. He showed that deep ground holds no terrors when winning over a similar trip on Trials Day, when he was value for more than the official margin of victory, and he’s only gone up 4lb for that. His trainer does well with his small band of jumpers and he has snapped up the services of Brian Hughes.