The 3 miles on soft ground should be much more to DEMACHINE’s liking than the 2m 6f he faced last time at Newbury. Kerry Lee’s horse has proven himself to be quite the stayer to follow and has already won over course and distance this season. The defection of the big two in the ante post market has left this race wide open and with not a lot separating them I think the young Demachine is certainly worth siding with given his accurate jumping should put him at an advantage over his rivals.
I quite like Newtide in the 2.25 as he was my ante post fancy in the Welsh National before being pulled out but at the prices I can’t get too excited at 7/1 in such a competitive chase. At a much bigger price I think SUB LIEUTENANT is very interesting. Trainer Georgie Howell has Grand National aims with this former Gigginstown inmate and it’s no coincidence he reappears after the Grand National weights have been announced. He ran well on stable debut over course and distance, taking a blow as they turned in but running on powerfully late on with his second wind. He is well handicapped on his old form and with a run under his belt this season I think he can certainly build on that and go close here at a huge price.
Up at Haydock it is going to be very hard work. You want a proven mudlark and you won’t get a more proven horse at Haydock on heavy ground than LORD DU MESNIL. He won twice in these conditions last season before finishing second in this race. He had his season this year geared around the Welsh National but the ground was better than connections had hoped it would be and he was always a stride out of his comfort zone. He will be much more at home in these conditions and I expect a bold showing.
Ascot 1.50 – Demachine
Ascot 2.25 – Sub Lieutenant
Haydock 2.40 – Lord Du Mesnil