Kalashnikov. Picture: Pat Healy Photography
13:50 - ACEY MILAN - 8/1 (Betfair Bet In-Play Handicap Hurdle)
Acey Milan has burnt a few fingers already this season, though he was a very good bumper horse last season. He hasn't quite reached that level of abilty over hurdles, though I think his run when second back in November at Haydock suggests that a mark in the low 130s is a lenient one. Having hit the front too soon in what proved to be a strongly run race that day, and was picked off by Stoney Mountain late in the day on that occasion.
Back from a short break, Acey Milan represents a yard that is enjoying a good run of form at present, and I'm hopeful that his mark can prove lenient in the first of my three selections.
14:25 - KALASHNIKOV - 10/1 (Win Bigger On The Betfair Exchange Chase - Game Spirit)
I may well be left looking a little bit daft come around 2:32pm on Saturday, tipping against Altior, though I don't really like the vibes that are coming out of the camp regarding him this season. His race against Cyrname has possible left it's mark on him, and maybe that's why we've not seen him back in action since. We all know how good of a horse he can be when running to his best, but i'm working on him running to a mark in the mid 160's, as he did when scrambling home in last year's Champion Chase. If it proves so, then some of his rivals in this don't have too much to find in order to get the better of him.
The horse im siding with here is Kalashnikov. He does have to bounce back in this, though you can put a line through his defeat at Cheltenham last time out, having suffered from a virus and reportedly bled that day. His run at Newbury when narrowly denied by Old Grangewood was a nice effort, who has scored against since. Kalashnikov was running off a handicap mark of 155 that day, which proved to be a career best effort from Amy Murphy's charge, and if he can improve a little further on that, he could well overthrow Altior here at a fair price.
16:10 - HIGHEST SUN - 3/1 (Back Or Lay On The Betfair Exchange Novices' Limited Handicap Chase)
Possibly the most solid bet of the day for me comes in the shape of a horse called Highest Sun. He was given a little bit of a negative ride in a Grade 2 at Warwick last time out, and I dont think that suited him, the nature of his jumping nor the tactics at the track.
Jonjo O'Neil Jr gets back on board this time around, and he has ridden him prominently in the past. Colin Tizzard's charge has got some very strong form and makes plenty of appeal here off a mark of 141. I'm hopeful of a big run.