Fortunately, Paul Nicholls left two in the contest and so I switch to the ex-French, Kauto Stone, who won so well at Down Royal four weeks ago on his first run in these islands.
He is a very solid horse and a terrific substitute for Tataniano. What I want for him more than anything, however, is rain and lots of it.
My big worry is that he needs two and a half and just won’t have the speed for two miles, even if this is a track which demands stamina.
The surface here yesterday was dead and would be described in Ireland as yielding to soft. I want it, obviously, to deteriorate further.
If that was to happen then it would be against Sizing Europe, who seems to me to be best on good ground. In any case, he is going to be hard to beat.
He’s won an Arkle and a two-mile Champion Chase at Cheltenham and a record lke that speaks for itself. Sizing did, though, have a hard race over three miles when second to Quito De La Roque at Down Royal and, perhaps, that may have left its mark.
Wishfull Thinking was disappointing in the Paddy Power at Cheltenham, but got very worked up before the race and seemed to run too free.
There should be loads of pace in the race and no hiding place. You don’t have to be any great genius to work out that Sizing Europe is the one we all have to beat. Singing in the rain is my hope.
Black Thunder gets the ball rolling in the opening novice hurdle. Fourth at Chepstow, he went on to win a bumper easily at Newton Abbot. But this is a step up and I’m no more than hopeful.
Poungach, with only three runs under his belt, has a real life in a handicap hurdle. He was last seen when winning a novice hurdle by eight lengths at Ascot in January.
Poungach has had a number of entries of late in novice chases and the plan was to start him off at Newbury last Saturday. But that would have meant taking on Bobs Worth and Cue Card and there wasn’t a lot of point in that.
He is now having a run here to gain experience, may be well handicapped, is definitely unexposed and Paul likes him.
When I saw both Ultimate and Lancetto, in the Grade 1 novice chase, I was delighted. They love to blaze along and that will suit Al Ferof.
He delighted Paul and I on his debut over fences at Cheltenham. Al Ferof jumped great, having been rather exuberant in his schooling.
He’s a real two-mile stayer, rather than a speed horse and, granted luck in running, will surely deliver.
Our old friend Edgardo Sol attempts to complete a hat-trick in a handicap hurdle, having won over fences at Aintree and flights at Cheltenham.
I thought he’d win at Aintree, and napped him, and was pessimistic at Cheltenham, but he bolted in. Edgardo went up 12lbs for the last day and will surely need to improve again.
Meanus Dandy will get every yard of the three miles and five plus of the concluding handicap chase, but was primed for his seasonal debut at Wincanton and won’t come on much for the run.
I kick away at Fairyhouse tomorrow on Rossvoss for my dad in the juvenile hurdle. We thought he’d nearly win at Fairyhouse, on his initial pop over jumps, but was a bit disappointing.
Mind you Rossvoss did run well at the same time and has as good a chance as any, in what looks a competitive enough affair.
Sous Les Cieux should go nicely in the Royal Bond Novice Hurdle. He won his maiden in a hack-canter at Fairyhouse, but this is a different ball game.
He’s working grand and not short of speed, but I’m still slightly concerned about him dropping back to two miles, from two and a half.
Gigginstown have three runners in the Drinmore Chase and, with Davy Russell opting for First Lieutenant, I’ve got the nod for Bog Warrior.
If I was Davy I’d have went for First Lieutenant as well. He was far better than Bog Warrior over hurdles and has already done more over fences than him. But we live in hope.
I believe Mourad is my best ride of the day in the Hatton’s Grace Hurdle. His form is top-class and rock-solid and he could not be in any better shape for his first outing of the campaign.
I’ve been having a decent run with my naps and hope to get it right again with Curtain Razer over hurdles at Chepstow today.
He was second to Gullinbursti at Exeter and his conqueror then went in again at Hereford this week. Curtain Razer is a winner in waiting.