The Jumps Season Opener at Chepstow concludes on Saturday with a seven-race card featuring the ultra-competitive Silver Trophy Handicap Hurdle.
But I’m looking to a seasoned chaser in the second, which is one of Betfred’s Extra Place Races, plus one in the penultimate contest.
14:30 – Stolen Silver e/w @ 7/1
First of all, it’s lovely to see a race named after the Native River – my favourite racehorse of all time. The brave, the generous…
Anyway, my selection for the Native River Handicap Chase over just shy of three miles is Sam Thomas’ Stolen Silver each-way, with Betfred paying 4 places at 1/5 the odds.
The eight-year-old is an experienced chaser who on his day is a Graded animal. Not the most consistent, it’s fair to say, but high-class when he puts it all together.
I’ve confidence he can do that here, as his record when fresh is pretty good and he’s been dropped back down to a mark of 150 after two forgivable efforts towards the end of last season. The last time he competed off this rating, he finished second in the New Year’s Day Handicap Chase at Cheltenham.
He’s massively overpriced on that form, so if he’s anywhere near back to his best, which recent reports from his owners suggests, he’s a smashing bet to kick us off.
16:50 – Shared @ 6/1
I was keen on Afadil for this four-year-old handicap hurdle, but he’s unfortunately a non-runner. In his absence, I’m suggesting Harry Derham’s Shared.
He was generally progressive last season and could have a lot more to offer this time round for a shrewd operation.
I think Zestful has a lot to do off a mark of 132, which has gone up 12lbs for two defeats. Admittedly, they were narrow defeats in much better races than this, but defeats nonetheless. New Year Honours is unreliable too.
Chaos Control is feared, as is one or two others, but Derham’s had two winners from three runners in the last 14 days, one having his first run of the campaign, so I’m hopeful this one will be fit and raring to go.