The Grand National Trial at Haydock will see the Coral Welsh National first and second do battle again.
Michael Scudamore’s Monbeg Dude was successful at Chepstow last month under what can only be termed as a brilliant ride by the masterful Paul Carberry. Connections have no intention of heading to Aintree for the Grand National unlike those of the second that day Teaforthree who will see today’s marathon as a stepping stone to the big race. The Welsh trained stayer is currently trading at 20/1 with Ladbrokes for the Grand National and is just favoured ahead of Monbeg Dude by punters for the contest this afternoon. Crockford believes that the finish will be battled out again by these two who should have the quality to see off the well fancied Rigadin De Beauchene and Well Refreshed. With that in mind Crockford offers his customary warning to punters interested in Grand National prices to take those available on Teaforthree before the off at (2.55).
The Ascot Chase is a hot renewal which will likely determine the Cheltenham Festival plans of Captain Chris, Finian’s Rainbow and Cue Card. Speculation is rife on whether not Henderson will see a return to form for his Champion Chase hero Finian’s Rainbow who looked lack lustre in his last outing at Ascot. The Tizzard’s will also have fingers crossed for a performance from Cue Card that resembles one similar to his first time out demolition of the field back before Christmas. Hobbs has told punters that Captain Chris’s chances may be dampened by the ground; but this seems to run contradictory to his excellent win on a similar surface at Ascot and his gallant second in the King George.
In the Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton Khyber Kim makes an interesting reappearance after being away from the track for 681 days. If he were to win it would be an incredible training performance especially given the form that Zarkandar appears to be in. Punters may take a few clues away for the Champion Hurdle and Festival from the race, but Crockford would advise anyone looking for Champion Hurdle value to look at the breath-taking turn of foot shown by Steps To Freedom last night at Dundalk. Impressive is not the word and with odds of 38 to be the placed on Betfair last night Crockford could not believe his luck.
Crockford’s Dead Cert – Amigo (2.30 Wincanton)
This Pipe horse won with ease last time out at Chepstow and headed straight into Crockford’s notebook that day. With stamina in abundance to go alongside clear talent this punters friend is a Dead Cert to win the money at good odds.
Crockford’s Whisper – Monbeg Dude e/w (2.55 Haydock)
One of the best rides of the season helped Michael Scudamore’s horse win the Coral Welsh National. A run was clearly fancied that day with brother Tom flying in to watch the win. Since Monbeg Dude’s victory at Chepstow he has been aimed at this race and will not be having a tilt at the Grand National. With Carberry booked again the whispers are strong about this one and the frame at least beckons at around 6/1.
Archer’s Selection – Rocky Creek (2.05 Ascot)
In looking for a ride in the Reynoldstown Novice Chase the shrewd Archer would not have looked further than this useful sort who was so impressive when he won at Warwick. Nicholls has always thought a lot of this one and rightly so.
Crockford’s gambles around the courses this afternoon:
Ascot – Aaim To Prosper (1.30), Rocky Creek (2.05), Vino Griego (2.40), The Bear Trap and General Miller e/w (3.15), Captain Chris (3.50) and Captain Cutter (5.00)
Haydock – Monbeg Dude e/w (2.55), Tenor Nivernais (4.05), Bouggler e/w (4.40) and Vic Venturi (5.10)
Wincanton – Oscar Amy (1.55), Amigo (2.30) and Zarkandar (3.35)
Lingfield – Gambolling Den (1.10) and Toga Tiger (3.30)
Gowran Park – Hisaabaat (3.10)
(Featured photograph – Teaforthree and Monbeg Dude fight out the finish of the Coral Welsh National by Stuart Rice)
(Photograph – Amigo racing away from rivals at Chepstow by Stuart Rice)