This is a very fine prize with over £61,000 going to the winner and it has attracted the full field it deserves.
Many of the big stables are represented with the field a mixtures of ages and backgrounds, and while we like the top weight in the Pertemps Final we feel this time a featherweight could be the one to be on and at a very good price too.
Here’s our top six for the Stable Plate:
Getting the negatives out of the way first; Azzerti is an inexperienced horse who fell in his race here on Trials Day which lends weight to the fact that this test could be beyond him. However upon reflection, things are far from all bad.
He took a big step forward on his third chase start when the ground went soft at Ascot back in December and, although he couldn’t go on to prove it to be correct, he was very well fancied to beat Kildisart when he fell in January. That horse is now rated 147 and Azzerti was in receipt of 4lbs, so while he has improved since then and gets in here off 137 he looks very well handicapped.
He had an easy spin round when winning a novice chase at Ludlow when 1/10 favourite last month and that will have put him spot-on for this. Wayne Hutchinson rides.
He’s a ten-year-old now and not from one of the most powerful yards, but Doitforthevillage is in this race on merit having registered form figures this season of 63123 over fences with his handicap mark not changing much and a preference on record for this soft ground.
His recent form has been very poor, but as a French-bred with at least a small liking for soft ground and having always done well at Cheltenham before, a return to form in this race is far from fantasy and as such he has to make the list.
His form with Coo Star Sivola is the standout info from his profile and it would give him a chance at these weights, but that was 15 months ago now so he remains very much on the comeback trail.
He’s experienced (and exposed) enough, but the balance of his form is very strong with a 40% strike-rate over fences and an apparent penchant for softer going.
Although finishing sixth, his best run arguably was in the 2017 Coral Cup around here over hurdles so while this is a different test it would be foolish to rule him out given what he has achieved, albeit in the past.
His hurdle form was very good (third in the 2017 Supreme Novices’) and it’s so far so good over fences after three runs over the larger obstacles.
Having been off the track for a year and receiving wind surgery during that time, a less than perfect run was expected upon his return at Haydock in November but his fall that day and the fact he hasn’t been seen since are more negatives to note.
On the numbers though and with natural improvement taken into consideration, a clean round here is bound to put him into contention and he remains a threat for Nicky Henderson and Nico de Boinville.
Very much in the front rank for this as far as the betting has been concerned, Dan Skelton’s representative has his best chasing days ahead of him but already has strong form in the bag.
As far as the track is concerned, Spiritofthegames has basically proven his worth after a comfortable win at Chepstow and a decent third to Kildisart round here on Trials Day and it’s on the basis of that last run he has made many a shortlist, including ours.
There are more detailed things we could say to point to our reasons for this selection, but put more simply Spiritofthegames has been well fancied for this since his run behind Kildisart when he was a 3/1 favourite and we feel our horse could have beaten him home then if not for falling.
AZZERTI was receiving 9lbs from Spiritofthegames that day and was going ok at 5/1 in that race when being hampered and toppling, he has improved more since and comes into this with a very backable each-way price on his head. River Wylde is next on the list.