Veteran albertas run offers serious value
SO far this week, the punter must feel like he has been let down by heavily backed favourites too many times but that can be put right today if Big Buck's can prevail in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle.
Those trying to make a case to oppose the Paul Nicholls-trained seven-year-old will point to the fact that when he won here last year and at Newbury last time out, the ground wasn't quite as quick but I have no doubt Ruby Walsh's mount can handle the going.
That Big Buck's didn't go down the Ryanair Chase route after some less than convincing displays over fences is bad news for Powerstation, which chased Big Buck's up the hill in this race last year, but Andrew McNamara's mount is still good enough to get a place here and could represent a little bit of value.
There is also value to be had in the Ryanair Chase with Tranquil Sea and Poquelin likely to be topping the market when the tape rises but, with the ground drying out, I have a growing feeling that Albertas Run can take this one. The going will be pretty decent and that will be enough to bring about the improvement required for AP McCoy .
I ride Barker in the same race and his preparation hasn't been ideal but he's been working well at home recently and has hinted that there is a big run in him on the gallops but it looks a very open contest this year.
I partner Boulavogue in the second race on the card, the Pertemps final. He's in good form and I'm hoping he'll run well.
The step back up to three miles should suit him as he was third over three miles at Christmas. The ground that day wasn't too bad so I think he'll handle the going and hopefully run into a place.
Elsewhere in the field, Alfie Sherrin will take a lot of watching. He looked impressive when winning last time out and at this mark looks like he might still be slightly ahead of the handicapper.
In the Jewson, take The Hollinwell and Ferdy Murphy to garner the honours as there has been plenty of good things said about him while Paul Nicholls and his team seem to be in good form so Rivaliste has to be respected.
The penultimate race, the Byrne Group Plate, can provide James Fanshawe with a winner through Song of Songs.
He finished fourth last time out and is the improving sort and the ground will help him so he has a real chance.
Finally, Finger onthe Pulse gets the nod for me in the final race of the day, the Kim Muir. Tom Taffee's nine-year-old won the Jewson a couple of seasons ago so he knows what it is to win here, which is a significant factor and, being one of the few Irish runners running around the mark he has at home, he has to be afforded serious consideration.
1.30 The Hollinwell
2.05 Alfie Sherrin
2.40 Albertas Run (NB)
3.20 Big Buck's (NAP)
4.00 Song of Songs
4.40 Finger onthe Pulse (EW)