A busy Friday on both sides of the Irish Sea, time to lick the wounds of Cheltenham and get back in the van.
Last Encounter should have enough of a pull to reverse form with Fitzhenry, the latter is an improving horse for in form stable but has gone up from 109 to 123 in the ratings for last two wins. Given the nature of his wins and recent defeats, won a neck and ¾ length and defeats of a head and short head in his last four runs, it could be argued there is more to come. All his wins have come over two and a half miles and his stamina needs to be assumed to genuinely see out this trip.
Glencairn View will definitely stay the trip have won over an extended three miles two runs back .He ran credibly behind Pairofbrowneyes the last day in the Leinster National. However that was only 13 days ago and is a horse who usually takes more time between runs. The fly in the ointment could be Augustin who looks a stayer and won his beginners chase well the last day. That form has been slightly let down since by the second and at the prices I am willing to look elsewhere.
Last encounter as stated was only just behind Fitzhenry last month. While over hurdles was running creditably in races behind Bellshill and Gangster. He was rated 135 over hurdles and always looked set to be a better chaser. Now rated 122 he looks primed for a big pot and after showing his well been last time. This has likely been the plan after three quick runs over fences last summer and given a long break. I expect this son of Beneficial to surpass previous showings en-route to bigger and better things over fences.
1pt Win Last Encounter 5/1 Bet365 BV
Last time winner Clebourne should be clear fav for this in my book and has been badly ignored in the market. He had two of his market rivals behind that day in Downtown Diva and La Novia. I see no reason for either of them to reverse that form. The current market leader Its All A Jokes form ties in with Clebourne. With the former well exposed and not up to winning a competitive handicap of this nature.
On his first start at this course (5 Furlong maiden) he finished fourth when well fancied in the market behind subsequent winner Snow Patch (2nd), Its All A Joke (3rd) and Clebourne just behind them. He was put into the race late and never really got to a threatening position. A no show in next two maidens over seven furlongs and just didn’t cope with drop back to the minimum against seasoned handicappers on handicap debut. A more aggressive ride did the trick last time out to lead all the way. A 5lb rise looks more than fair and again a decent draw against his peers. I am expecting a strong performance.
2pts Win Clebourne 9/2 Bet365, BV