A quite start to the NH scene kicks up a gear today with 2 good cards from Wetherby and Ascot and one across the water at Nass. Whilst most of the headlines are written about the Charlie Hall one of the great betting heats of the day is usually always this race. In the past the race has been good stomping ground for young chasers. Last year Novice The Last Derby won it after contesting 3 Novice events in the summer and the year before 2nd season Chasers Roll Along and Air Force One fought out the finish.
This seasons race has its usual mix of young and old with one horse standing out from the rest.
Dovers Hill has hardly had a straight forward ca rear over fences so far. A 124 rated hurdler he was well beat on his Chase debut by one of today's rivals Take The Breeze a mistake early on put paid to his chances. NTO he was a well held 3rd to a decent sort in Katchiturian at Kempton. Returning to Kempton on Boxing day for a Novice Handicap Chase a change of tactics saw Tom Siddle take up the running early on in the race and coming to the last he looked the likely winner before taking a tumble. The henderson pair who finished 1st and 2nd that day were both returning from a long lay of and are now rated over 20lbs higher. Mistakes in both of his next 2 races put paid to any chance of victory and then lightening struck again when he fell at Taunton when looking to hold Vodka Brook (won nto) before falling at the last. He looked to be over the top when back over hurdles in March FTO this season and still a novice he came up against the well touted Triggerman. defeating him with ease by 11L. Now im not the greatest fan of Triggerman but he is a solid yard stick. As well as that defeat he was 2nd to stable mate Balthazar King (won nto) and RSA Tell Massini. Dovers Hill was by far the most eye catching of those performance and I feel he has a lot to offer of his current Handicap mark.
Without making this post so long it takes half the day to read I'll quickly eliminate some of his rivals. Current FAV Take The Breeze is a good horse and has a decent prize in him this season but no matter what his trainer says I feel to days ground will be to sharp for him. With Dovers and Carruthers setting a breakneck pace his jumping wont hold up. The afore mentioned Carruthers and Erics Charm could do with softer ground and will come on for the run. Cant Buy Time, Possel,From Dusk To Dawn, Always Waining and Silmi looked expossed, whilst Free World isn't good enough. The other 3 have chances but need everything to fall just right.
At 8/1 generally Dovers Hill is my first big Saturday bet of the NH season.
P.S. Trainers quote in todays post "He's in very good form and were hopeful he'll run a big race. The ground is ideal and we were very happy with his last run. Hes in such good form I had to run him."