I have to confess I've found it difficult to drum up much enthusiasm for the fare on offer tomorrow. At Newbury The Bathwick Tyres Handicap Chase looks a little sub-standard for the money on offer. The trip is just short of two miles three and the one to catch my eye is Venetia Williams' Misty Dancer. He's joint top-rated with Mister Quasimodo on Racing Post ratings and comes to this fresh compared to most of the other runners. Mister Quasimodo is useful but somewhat inconsistent- he strikes me as a horse for whom it all has to go just right. The drying ground won't necessarily suit Mister Q or, for that matter, top weight Kalca Mome so I see the dangers as Its Crucial and King Louis. I'll pass over Its Crucial as his jumping can be sketchy but I can see King Louis coming from behind to get involved at the business end. Misty Dancer is the selection.
Seventeen go to post in the mares only novices' hurdle at 3.30 - Otarie looks the form pick. Appleaday hasn't won over fences yet but he ran a decent race here last time out and gets the vote in the 4.00, although the fact the stable hasn't had a winner over jumps for the best part of two and a half months is a major concern.
At Uttoxeter it's a surprise to see Saintsaire running in the Claiming Chase at 4.55. He's easily the top-rated horse, having kept much more exalted company than this, and is likely to start odds-on. I won't be rushing to back him as he's never struck me as the most resolute and he's done most of his racing over two to two and a half miles; this is just shy of two miles seven and the going is soft. Those looking to oppose will need to consider Mr Boo, Lawyer Des Ormeaux and Willies Way - if I decide to play, I'll take a chance that Mr. Boo can act on the ground.