4.35 Gowran Park: Grade 2 Champion Chase, 2m 4f
Despite his return from a seasonal break, Clarcam sets a very high standard in this race and is the one they all have to beat. On past form he is clearly the star in this field and his record as a fresh horse is a positive one – so one would imagine he’ll be ready to go..
Although,maybe not quite as ready as last season? Since then Clarcam has developed into a top class chaser, a Grade 1 horse, who will have much bigger prices and targets waiting on the horizon, later in the season.
If Clarcam proves to be slightly vulnerable fitness wise today…. well, there are plenty of alternatives! Top weight Alelchi Inois will appreciate the return to the 2m 4f trip and should be ready for a big battle. He is best to be forgiven his last two below par runs.
Galway Plate winner Shanahan’s Turn poses to be an obvious danger, although I may wonder whether this shorter trip finds him out against speedier sorts? Jessica Harrington’s Cailin Annamh is quite an interesting contender. Improving and versatile, he can make use of her low weight.
Texas Jack probably prefers it softer and seems not as good as he used to be. He was fair and square beaten by Devils Bride the other day, although he’s better off on the weights today with this rival. Nonetheless I fancy the Gigginstown runner to get the better of ‘Jack again today – and in general he looks the one to side with if the favourite, in the same ownership, doesn’t fire.
This progressive chaser has won four of his six starts over fences and really improved this summer with a tongue tie applied. He improved from landing a Handicap at Galway, to beat Texas Jack at Listowel over 2m 4f in very comprehensive style, always travelling strongly. He looked to be able to pull out more if required, so the weight shouldn’t make too much off a difference today.
Whether Devils Bride is up to this high level here remains to be seen. However he clearly is talented and deserves his chance. He may well improve again – he has to do so – but if he does, he won’t be far away in the closing stages.
Devils Bride @ 11/1 Paddy Power – 5pts Win