Tanya Stevenson's Ante-Post Previews April 17th

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Tanya Stevenson's Ante-Post Previews April 17th

While the flat muscles it's way into the limelight for the Craven meeting and then the Guineas Trials at Newbury at the weekend there is still plenty of the current jump's season to run it's course, thanks to races yet to run embellished by the battle for the Trainers’ Championship, where the odds have shifted significantly with betting apps recently.

Throughout the three days of Aintree, Willie Mullins clawed back the deficit on Dan Skelton and Paul Nicholls, who flip-flopped the lead through Thursday and Friday courtesy of runners at not only Aintree but at Fakenham and Chepstow as well, it was that delicately balanced into Saturday.

The key was the Grand National itself, Willie Mullins with eight runners, Dan Skelton had Galia Des Liteaux and there was no representation from Paul Nicholls. 

I Am Maximus and Meetingofthewaters secured £520,000 for Willie Mullins while we won't know until April 27 how valuable the £15,000 earned by Galia Des Liteaux will become.

Despite landing the weighty pot it's all still finely balanced and it's all to play for as the season comes to an end.

Generally, only to an intense few from the outset and to us all at the end of the season but when there is a tight battle such as this the consequences are far-reaching and the ramifications mean we see horses run that might well have been long out to grass until later in the year or in this case be tied up at Punchestown. 

Before Friday and Saturday Willie Mullins has only had five previous runners at Ayr, the Scottish Grand National barely on his radar and now his entries have been slotted into favouritism, and Ayr has an embarrassment of riches on display from the home team as well.

I will go into Ayr later in the week as I am actually returning to another course I love, not only to take in the excellent racing but to divert to have a quick check of Troon with the stands up with the wind whistling through them.

There’s a Postage Stamp and a railway line and you can almost hear the faint echoes of fore right! Back to racing and Skelton, Nicholls and Mullins replicate the final group with a few to play, no errant shots/entries can be afforded and there is still so much to play out.

Whatever unravels at Ayr shouldn’t really have a bearing on Sandown except that we may see some horses who may well have gone to Punchestown. 

Might there be a few big names at Perth as well? So those that are scepticle about the trainers or as it happens jockeys championships when it comes to a tight finish we all love them as it means superstars give us one last hurrah before their seasonal break. 

The discipline is to recognise that horses with better chances not trained by Mullins, Skelton, or Nicholls might be value and it's trying to spot that. 

Sandown anticipates the Oaksey Chase, Celebration Chase, and Bet365 Gold Cup could be title clinchers. 

It’s hard to believe Ad Hoc over 20 years ago was the last horse to win the Sandown extravaganza, known as the Whitbread then, and here we are waiting for Kitty's Light to defend his crown. 


Take A Look At All Of Tanya Stevenson's Racing Articles Here


Buoyed by his run in the Grand National it should not detract from his chances next Saturday. He may have had a busy season but he hasn’t taken in the really tough races like the Eider and the Scottish National as he did last year. 

At this stage previous winner Hewick is top weight and should he run then of course he has to be respected but should he stay away the weights will be ripe for a dramatic change. So, the stat on the weights should be put to one side until a better knowledge of Hewick’s participation is known.

Looking at how the race stands at present there are plenty with entries for Ayr this week and although the double is more than achievable I would guess the likes of Mr Vango, My Silver Lining and Anglers Crag are likely to go to one or another.

Unlike the Scottish National where it's generally best to be in contention in a great rhythm throughout, Sandown serves itself up for a stirring finish and it is more than plausible to hunt around and come with a strong run from the Pond Fence providing there is no low sun! 

It lends itself to Kitty’s Light style and the superstar should be thereabouts again. Paul Nicholls is due to have Threeunderthrufive who has won 10 of his 21 races, yet will be making his Sandown debut.

The stat that counts against him for this race is his last run was 70 days ago. Yet I wouldn’t discount him just for that.

Nicholls may also have Stay Away Fay but if Hewick doesn’t run he may be carrying top weight which is less than ideal but then Tidal Bay was the last horse to carry top weight in 2012 and who trained him?

Martin Brassil has had a runner at Ayr but never at Sandown and he saddles Desertmore House who has had plenty of fancy entries with many odds compilers second guessing where the Kerry National winner might run, if it's here he adds to the attraction.

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There is a maximum of 20 for the race and the two I like at present are 24 and 28. Let’s start with 28th down the list, Amirite, he was a non-runner for the Kim Muir due to unsuitable ground.

He caught the eye at Cheltenham in October as he held a chance when Rachael Blackmore’s saddle slipped, he went into the tracker, and then in the Paddy Power Chase he was beaten 11 lengths by Meetingofthewaters, only a length by James Du Berlais and was 20 lengths ahead of Desertmore House.

He has only had seven races over the bigger obstacles and has shown his versatility in any situation, he comes in on a lenient mark. 

The other horse I like for the contest and 24th down the list currently is Kinando Kwetu for Sam and Jonathan England. Now he has won seven of his 16 races and is six from 11 over the bigger obstacles.

He will be making his Sandown debut, with connections thrilled with his stealth effort at 25/1 at Aintree. He got right into the mix of things behind Cruz Control, Sam Brown and Forward Plan.

The gelding jumped well, he was just carried a bit wide from the cross fence to turning for home, otherwise, he ran a superb trial for Sandown.

He hasn’t been missed in the market but he is still at present value each-way. This would be the stable’s biggest winner and their efforts deserve the win.

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Tanya Stevenson

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