While it’s not a graded race and not one of the most valuable of the week, the Kim Muir as we still affectionately know it remains of huge importance within the industry but most importantly as a 24-runner handicap it is one of the biggest betting events too.
The presence of a couple of JP McManus runners in the top five or six in the market means bookmakers may well be running scared, but that could work to our advantage as we think we have a value selection who can continue on an upward curve and take victory.
Here’s our shortlisted six runners against the field:
Another one being smashed in the markets given the JP McManus/Nicky Henderson connection, although naturally without the help of Barry Geraghty in this amateur riders’ event, this is a young horse who is improving and quickly.
In staying on last time over 2½ miles on soft ground Champagne Platinum caught the eye last time out, but it’s not a given that he’ll get this trip, Sandown is a different matter and he was ultimately beaten fully 18 lengths and more.
On a hat-trick for Trevor Hemmings and Philip Hobbs, this seven-year-old is another with little experience but he’s already done well at three miles and seems more certain than some others to get this 3m2f distance.
He’s gone up 7lbs for his last win which seems fair enough, but he didn’t win with the sort of authority at Sandown that would make us think he’s too far ahead of the assessor and he remains a little vulnerable in a more competitive heat.
Second choice for JP McManus according the assigned colours, but with Patrick Mullins on board and the eight-year-old having garnered more experience in good handicaps than many of his rivals this season he is definitely not without a chance.
He’s done well at Leopardstown which has set him up for this, and the extra test here may well spur him on to land place money at least.
Last year’s runner-up is in just as good form this time around however he’s done much of his best work on good-to-soft ground so if the New Course remains sticky or more rain comes, then it may very well not suit.
That said, there aren’t many top challengers in this race who will stay as well as this horse so regardless of how the going is printed in the paper, he may well appreciate the test and should go well.
Ben Pauling’s horse put in a clear career best when winning at last year’s Cheltenham Festival so we have no issue with the venue, but rather the race distance.
His win was in the then 4-mile National Hunt Challenge cup and he was still going over more extreme distances as recently as January, but if he should show the required pace to at least lay up with them then you’d feel few will be finishing better in tough conditions.
Plan Of Attack
Leaving his hurdle form well behind since going chasing last summer, Henry De Bromhead’s representative is four races into this phase of his career now and he is simply getting better all the time.
He’s won at Aintree and finished a really good third at Leopardstown last time in a very valuable race, but despite the difference in topography here it seems the test should really suit him and if it does, he has a serious chance being the horse who overall is probably improving the most.
As last year’s runner-up, albeit in slightly different circumstances concerning underfoot conditions, we can’t ignore Kilfilum Cross for this event and he could yet run into another place.
Le Breuil, despite the drop of near enough three-quarters of a mile, can prove that the festival is thing with another strong run in an amateur handicap but they may both have their work cut out to get past PLAN OF ATTACK who ultimately gets the vote.
A sharp improver and a confirmed stayer, he if anything has seemed inconvenienced by only going three miles on flat tracks which for us shows the make-up of this race to be perfect for him and he has certainly not been unfancied within the industry in the build-up to the meeting.