Our racing expert marks your card for Friday's jumps action at Chepstow.
Rolling Dylan has been put in as favourite for the 2m7f novice chase and that’s understandable as he’s the only previous chase winner in the field and was only beaten a nose in a Taunton handicap last time. However, he showed his quirky side on the latter occasion, idling badly near the finish and getting mugged on the line, and he might prove vulnerable under his 7lb penalty against some potentially nice recruits to the bigger obstacles.
Both Thomas Patrick and Souriyan can boast winning form over hurdles this season and the former in particular has the look of a chaser. But that comment also applies to Mark Bradstock’s STEP BACK and this three-time point winner may well prove good enough to score on his seasonal/chase debut. The eight-year-old won on his Rules debut at Ludlow almost a year ago and he was then set a very stiff task in the Grade 1 Albert Bartlett. Clearly, his connections think a lot of him and I see he has been given another Cheltenham Festival entry, this time in the 4m National Hunt Chase. That suggests he’s been schooling well at home and the booking of Nico de Boinville is another positive, so it could be worth taking a chance on his fitness.
Bookmakers prefer recent Hereford winner Rock My Style over Paul Nicholls’ BILL AND BARN as favourite for the 2m7f novices’ hurdle, but the latter is favoured by the conditions of this race and looks the one to be on. While the favourite showed a good attitude when prevailing over shorter last time, he has to shoulder a 7lb penalty here and is giving the selection 10lb when you take Stan Sheppard’s 3lb claim into account. Besides, the Nicholls horse can arguably boast a stronger piece of form having dead-heated (hence no penalty) in a novice run over course and distance in December. He’s since finished second over fences and that’s where his future lies, but he can surely win again in this sphere.
Colin Tizzard has had a relatively quiet couple of months but February could not have started any better with three winners at Wincanton (10/11, 7/1 & 6/1) and that’s encouraging for the chances of his ALLCHILLEDOUT in the 2m7f handicap chase on the card. The nine-year-old has other things to recommend him too as he was a course and distance winner (on heavy ground) off today’s mark early last year and has had a wind operation since finishing a respectable third on his most recent outing in early January. With the stable in much better form now and with his usual headgear applied, he looks to have a favourite’s chance of doubling his chase tally.
All odds were correct at time of posting.