Very few races actually take place over the famous and extremely testing Grand National fences and as such it feels obligatory that we should take notice when the chance arises. The hugely competitive Topham Handicap Chase this afternoon is certainly no exception. Livelovelaugh impressed in last year’s Topham before his stamina abandoned him and while he will likely feature positively in the race at 4:05pm, there are many lively alternatives worthy of consideration with the most notable of these being Senior Citizen. Having had a mere four outings this term, he ran extremely well over fences in the Grand Sefton four months ago and he followed this up with an impressive showing on decent ground at Newbury last month.
None of the seven winners on Day One of the Grand National Festival lined up in the 2021 Cheltenham Festival last month, therefore this will do little to dampen the confidence in Dusart in the first Grade One event on the card at 2:05pm. The Nicky Henderson six-year-old hasn’t been on the track since November when he beat Soaring Glory at Newbury – the latter subsequently landing the Betfair Hurdle in February. He will need to find plenty this afternoon on his debut and he will be given plenty to think about by Third Time Lucki who appeared in the County Handicap Hurdle at Cheltenham last month. The Dan Skelton-trained gelding failed to impress in running and appeared in the thick of things some way out, therefore this smaller field may prove more suitable.
In the 2:50 this afternoon, Chantry House makes a significant step up in trip here and it remains to be seen whether this suits following his win at Cheltenham. Espoir De Romay seems a solid alternative at general odds of around 8/1 and he posted a decent time when winning a handicap at Leicester a few weeks back despite not being asked too much.
Another contest which pits Cheltenham form against horses who weren’t aimed at the meeting takes place at 3:25pm. Fakir D’Oudairies finished second to Allaho in the Ryanair at the Festival and he looked well suited to the two and a half mile trip on that occasion. That was his fourth outing of the season and should he be over his exertions he has a solid chance this afternoon. An obvious danger is Politologue who has finished first and second in the last two renewals.
Looking at the 4:40 this afternoon, Bravemansgame failed to find the speed needed to overcome Bob Olinger in the Baltimore at last month’s Cheltenham Festival but he managed to finish third past the post while looking as though he could suit a step up to a three-miler. Rachael Blackmore aboard Cape Gentlemen could provide the stiffest test here.