Dave Nevison advised backing Newbury runner-up Le Musee at 20-1 in his betting column last week and also selected 11-8 winner Santini. Read who he fancies for this Saturday below.
I really didn’t think I would be putting this one up when I glanced at the field a couple of days ago as he was set to carry just 8st 12lb in the long handicap, fully 16lb out of the weights.
However it is a very different story now with the top five in the weights all declining this £70k prize and Thounder finds himself perfectly weighted on 10st 2lb.
Last seen attempting to give a double penalty away to decent types at Fontwell back in 2017, we have to take Thounder’s fitness on trust but the market will probably give us a good indication and his trainer is certainly no stranger to Saturday afternoon success in similar races.
I believe he will be fit enough, and despite his lack of experience he has had to show battling qualities to win two races so far over hurdles and he is certainly much less exposed than most of his rivals.
Nicky Henderson is in cracking form again this season and has obviously decided that Kilcrea Vale is one for the Grand National fences.
He was well backed in the Topham last season and all was going well until he lost his place about halfway round only to stay on with purpose towards the end to finish a creditable fourth.
He will hopefully have learnt from that first Aintree experience and is off the same mark here.
I will also be having a small saver on Captain Redbeard, who was running really well until his saddle slipped at Haydock last time.
This race is not a National but it is a good staying handicap chase nevertheless and Red Infantry really has an awful lot in his favour.
He only went up 5lb for a proficient win at Haydock last time out over a similar distance to that he will encounter on Saturday.
His trainer, Ian Williams, can do no wrong at present and clearly studies jockey stats because he tends to engage Robert Dunne when sending one beyond three miles.
The pair have a better than 25 per cent strike rate 6/23 when teaming up but Dunne seems to excel no matter who he rides for over a trip. Red Infantry looks the day’s bet for my money.