Trainer Dan Skelton immediately earmarked Saturday’s Grade 1 as a mid-season target for ROBIN ROE (Newbury, 1.50) after witnessing his gelding dismantle a useful Aintree field in the autumn and the five-year-old boasts a great chance of vindicating the faith.
The winner of an Irish point-to-point on easy ground, Robin Roe seemed to relish the better surface at Aintree as he toyed with the useful No Comment who has since gone on to advertise the form with two smooth victories.
Third-home Tintern Theatre has also prevailed since and Skelton’s expediency in nominating the Challow Hurdle as Robin Roe’s next target suggests connections were well aware of their gelding’s capabilities.
A gritty staying handicapper on the level, there should be more to come from Warren Greatrex’s charge over hurdles and the yard won this event 12 months ago and sent out a welcome winner at Taunton yesterday.
The presence of George Baker in the saddle increases confidence regarding the claims of veteran sprinter TEMPLE ROAD (Lingfield, nap, 3.45) who shaped as though his turn was close at hand at Wolverhampton last time.
It is fair to say that PHILBA (Southwell, nap, 2.20) has not been any where near the form of a year ago when winning this race but shaped better 12 days ago. Returning to Southwell for the first time since March after two spins at Chelmsford, the four-time Fibresand victor battled well to give stablemate and favourite Mithqaal a race. That was a decent effort on the clock and he can go one better on Sunday.
TENOR NIVERNAIS (Cheltenham, nb, 2.00) outran his fancy price when a close-up third in a Listed Ascot handicap 15 days ago. Considering that was his first outing since April and over a trip too far, it was a cracking run. The veteran will be straighter today and better suited by the drop back in distance.
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