The Weekends Racing – by The Sportsman Racing

Should the ground turn soft then consider Master Overseer who performs superbly fresh, with two wins from five on his seasonal debut. Having won half of his starts over fences he is high enough in the handicap but testing ground would be right up this dyed in wool stayers cul-de-sac. I’m going for Grands Crus in the Paddy Power Gold Cup. The seven-year-old grey is 10lb lower over fences than hurdles and looks very leniently treated off a mark of 175 based on his lustrous Feltham win where he left Silvinico Conti and Bob’s Worth for dead. Disappointing when considered a banker in the RSA Chase at the festival the horse was subsequently found to have scoped badly and can be excused that run. Grands Crus sets the blueprint for the others to follow with a fine record fresh, two wins from three seasonal debuts and three wins from five at Cheltenham. Trainer David Pipe and his father Martin have long targeted this race and Grands Crus can offer some compensation for the yard following the sad demise of last year’s victor Great Endeavour. Opponents include Hunt Ball, the most improved horse in training last winter having shot up from a mark of 68 to 154, an amazing rise of 86lbs. This strong gelding however would have to up his game again to defeat Grands Crus. Alan King’s Walkon is another horse who is 10lb lower over fences than hurdles and this strong travelling fellow could go close if recapturing his novice form. Forpadydeplaster hasn’t visited the winners enclosure since winning the Arkle at the 2009 Cheltenham Festival but his return to Prestbury Park, a course he loves, and a step down to handicap company could witness a comeback a la Lazarus. Each-way chances at big odds of 33-1 with Coral. Divers is another interesting runner who finished third in the race last year. The concern however is the forecast rain at the weekend with the horse requiring good ground. On Sunday the Racing Post Hurdle previously known as the Greatwood Hurdle has been won by the top-weight on four of the last ten occasions which augurs well for supporters of the favourite Darlan. A deserved favourite having finished second in the Supreme Novices back in March, odds of around 3-1 do look cramped given the strong opposition. One such opponent is a fellow Henderson horse in the shape of Cash And Go. There has been “clever” money for him midweek, being backed from 11-1 into as low as 11-2 with William Hill. The bookmakers spokesman Richard Thomas said this week “Cash And Go has been well backed by people we respect and he’s one we’re keen to keep on the right side of.” To be ridden by Barry Geragthy and already entered for the Fighting Fifth Hurdle next month this is a horse to keep onside. It’s A Gimme is worth a saver in the race being lightly raced, progressive and he should be on the premises. Raised 5lbs for his second in a Listed handicap hurdle at Ascot in October may not be enough to defy him and the stiff track will suit.]]>