The winner of the Foxhunter Chase (4.00) normally emerges from the point-to-point field but this year’s favourite Roulez Cool could set a new trend.
While Roulez Cool has run in points this season (winning twice), he received his grounding in France, where he was a smart junior chaser, winning a listed chase at Auteuil in 2007. Since coming to Britain, he has made a big impression under rules, winning a Bangor handicap chase on his debut before finishing runner-up at Uttoxeter off a mark of 142 a month later. That level of form is far superior to anything his rivals have achieved in the past year and his rider, Sam Waley-Cohen (rider of Long Run) is used to the big occasion. A worthy favourite at 3/1 (bet365).
Last year’s third Baby Run (13/2 Coral) must come into reckoning again, although he didn’t seem to quite get home last year. Trust Fund (8/1 Stan James) won the Aintree Foxhunters’ last season and went on to complete a hunter case hat-trick with a hard-fought narrow victory over Take The Stand (66/1 Sportingbet) over this trip here in May. He’s still lightly-raced for a veteran.
The mare Sericina (12/1 Coral) has yet to come off the bit in three victories this term, most recently when winning on her hunter chase debut on soft ground at Taunton. She was won on a sounder surface so is one for the shortlist.
The first Irish-trained winner was in 1983 but there have been just four since. The key Irish trial is the hunter chase at Leopardstown in early February, won this year by Kilty Storm (16/1 Sportingbet). He wouldn’t want the ground to dry out too much, though. Dun Doire (14/1 Blue Square), a former festival winner, is another Irish contender who must be taken seriously, along with veteran On The Net (33/1 Betfred).
Last year’s runner-up, Turthen (20/1 Victor Chandler), won in much the fastest time of the day at the mid-February meeting at Milborne St Andrew, where 2003 Foxhunter winner completed his preparation.
Fourteen of the last 19 winners were aged between seven and nine, and six of the last nine winners have gone off at 14/1 or bigger.
Roulez Cool ought to go well, although a recent injury scare, albeit a minor one, wouldn’t have helped his cause and he’s plenty short enough at around 3/1. Take him on with last year’s runner-up, TURTHEN. Still only nine, he may be open to further improvement and looks over-priced at 20/1.