Racing pundit Marcus Armytage reveals who he will be looking out for at the Festival
MONTBAZON (1.30) stayed on very strongly at Newbury off a good gallop so should come up the hill while SPRINTER SACRE (2.05) can justify cramped odds in the Arkle reversing last year’s Supreme form with Al Ferof.
Top weight looks a stopper for course specialist Quantitativeeasing so former Foxhunter winner CAPPA BLEU (2.40) looks interesting with his re-found confidence.
A back on-song BINOCULAR (3.20) can regain his Champion title and give Nicky Henderson the yellow jersey while, at 25-1, WEDGER PARDY (4.00) looks the each-way steal in the cross-country. He would have won had his rider not taken the wrong course when clear in December.
The safest bet of the week is that his jockey won’t do that again and, if she does, Kim Bailey might not be quite so nice to her. If you ignore her last run UNACCOMPANIED (4.40) can give Quevega a run for her money in the mares’ race.
Four miles should hold no fears for UNIVERSAL SOLDIER (1.30) while an extra half mile should suit SOMONSIG (2.05).
I assume GRAND CRUS (2.40) will have his sights aimed at this which is very winnable as opposed to the Gold Cup while it is hard to oppose SIZING EUROPE (3.20) on what he has done in the last 12 months.
If TAP NIGHT (4.00) gets in the Coral he looks on an upward curve. David Pipe has options for KASLIAN (4.40) but this looks the best and ROYAL GUARDSMAN (5.15) certainly looks the pick of the home team in the bumper.
There are a few ifs and buts about Peddlers Cross and I was very taken with the progressive CRISTAL BONUS (1.30) at Kempton.
Good luck in the Pertemps where race specialist BUENA VISTA (2.05) is worth an each-way shout for old times’ sake, likewise ALBERTAS RUN (2.40) should never be written off here.
Big Buck’s is not really a betting proposition but a place bet on SMAD PLACE (3.20) at 33-1 might be rewarding. DIVERS (4.00) will have been trained for this all season.
BALDER SUCCESS (1.30) could upstage his stablemate Grumeti while BOURNE has a chance in the County especially if Smad Place has shown up prominently the day before.
BRINDISI BREEZE (2.40) can take the Albert Bartlett back to Scotland. Long Run should win a second Gold Cup though he is not great value so MIDNIGHT LEGEND looks a good each-way alternative.
MONKERTY TUNKERTY (4.00) gets my vote in the amateur’s Gold Cup while my own bet of the week is DE BOITRON (5.15) in the getting out stakes.