A profitable Saturday last weekend and we have the opportunity for more winners this Saturday where the highlight of the action comes from Ayr.
John’s Spirit – Ayr 5.00
The Jonjo O’Neill trained 6 year old has looked like a well handicapped horse all season and has run some very solid races despite his jumping proving to be a handicap. After an impressive win over Thanks for Coming at Sandown and a second placing behind the very well handicapped Katenko at the same venue in January, he disappointed in heavy ground at Cheltenham behind Vino Griego later that month.
John’s Spirit returned to Cheltenham for the festival and despite again putting in a very sketchy round of jumping, he ran well to finish 7thto Rajdhani Express over an inadequate 21 furlongs. He was stepped up to this trip of 25 furlongs at Aintree and continued his progression. Again he was not fluent over a number of fences but travelled strongly through the race and was bang there 2 fences from home. However once again he ran into a very well handicapped horse in Battle Group and was eventually worried out of second place by Mac Aeda.
He reappears at Ayr on Saturday over the same trip and has been very surprisingly dropped 2lb for his last effort. There another few positives which are that the Ayr fences are slightly easier than Aintree, Dougie Costello replaces Richie McLernon and he both knows the course well and is a superior jockey and finally there does not appear to be a really well handicapped rival in opposition. The Druids Nephew may be his most dangerous opponent with his stable showing a little bit of life again, but the 13/2 on offer about John’s Spirit at the time of writing is certainly worthy of each way support.
Ifandbutwhynot – Ayr 2.40
Ifandbutwhynot was a useful bumper performer last season and has progressed nicely in his first season over hurdles this term. He won a handicap off 117 at Cheltenham in November from a strong field including Tanerko Emery and put a Sandown disappointment behind him when winning off a mark of 130 at Musselburgh in February despite not having a strong pace to run at. He was left in front too soon in this contest and idled but still had enough in reserve to win by 2.5 lengths from Ultimate.
Ifandbutwhynot then ran in the County Hurdle at the Cheltenham festival where he was expected to play a major role and was backed into joint favouritism. He was a little disappointing in that he travelled nicely behind the pace but did not pick up on the ground that was clearly getting more testing by the minute.
He has always looked like a strong travelling horse that would be best suited by a flatter track and decent ground with a strong pace to aim at, so that he can be delivered late. Dropped 1lb for his Cheltenham effort, he runs tomorrow off a feather weight of 10-5 and with a strong pace looking assured he makes strong appeal each way at 6/1.
Court Minstrel heads the market after quite an impressive win last time but whether it deserved a 10lb rise is highly debatable. Maybe he is the type that will just do enough when in front but he does not look quite as well handicapped as our selection.
1.5 pts e/w John’s Spirit – Ayr 5.00 @ 13/2 (betvictor)
1.5 pts e/w Ifandbutwhynot – Ayr 2.40 @ 6/1 (betvictor)