There is a terrific weekend of racing in store at Doncaster with the annual Grimthorpe Chase two day meeting set to provide several pointers towards the Cheltenham Festival.
The Grimthorpe is one of the strongest races of Doncaster’s National Hunt season, always providing a true test for hardened handicap chasers and often used as a prep for the Grand National.
Last season’s Welsh National winner Monbeg Dude was an impressive winner at Cheltenham last time out and has been backed to for Aintree success, 16/1 with us at BetVictor, who are paying five places and are already Non Runner Free Bet.
Ironically, the horse he beat at Chepstow Teaforthree is the current ante post favourite at 10/1 after being heavily reported after the weights were announced earlier in the month.
Monbeg Dude (3.30) missed the National trial at Haydock but looks set to run and remains well handicapped despite an 8lb rise for his win at Cheltenham in December and is the one to beat. Court By Surprise missed running in the SkyBet Chase and could be the dark horse of the line-up, with the Emma Lavelle stable returning to form.
Also on Saturday, Victor Hewgo (1.45) should be able to build on his already impressive record around the track, an impressive winner two starts ago and unfortunate to bump into the 145 rated Holywell here last time out.
Alan King’s Two Rockers (2.55) fell at the first a fortnight ago when well punted for an Ascot handicap and he should be able to a much better account in the handicap hurdle over three miles.
John Quinn’s Cockney Sparrow won the two mile novices hurdle on Friday’s card before winning at Aintree before embarking on a successful second season hurdling and she is now 11/2 to take on five time winner Quevega in the Mares Hurdle at Cheltenham.
A horse with an equally bright future is Phillip Hobbs’ Garde La Victoire (3.10) who should take this race en route to a crack at the Supreme Novices Hurdle. He lowered the colours of Regal Encore at Aintree before running well in defeat on his two trips to Cheltenham and looks a staying chaser in the making.
Nicky Richards’ Eduard (3.45) will be well suited to the two miles three furlongs novice chase and is another with similar Cheltenham aspiration. The 6-y-o was rated 141 over hurdles and has took to chasing well, chasing home Pendra before beating Mwaleshi, both at Carlisle.
He is touted as being a potential superstar by the yard and can take this before having a crack at the JLT Novices Chase at the festival, expect the 25/1 to be snaffled up should he indeed win and win well.
Present View (4.55) was a game winner at Kempton at the weekend, scooting up by ten lengths and will be very difficult to beat under a penalty in the two and a half miles handicap chase. The 6-y-o holds other entries during the week but by Presenting, could favour going to Donny for the forecasted better ground.