The postponed Totesport Trophy is developing into a very interesting affair.
The original race was scheduled to take place at Newbury last Saturday but the death of two horses in the parade ring just before the first race on the card meant that all subsequent races were abandoned and re-scheduled for Friday.
The impact of this has been two-fold. First, the reduction in prize money from £120,000 to £60,000 and the changing weather conditions has resulted in a significant number of withdrawals, such as the well-liked Alan King-trained Iolith.
But on the other hand, the delay has given online betting favourite Walkon, another Alan King runner, the opportunity for another gallop at home.
King had initially worried that the horse was under-prepared so the extra six days was gratefully received. The horse finished second at Ascot last month on it’s return from a 21-month layoff and is expected to put in a big performance at a decent price.
Other notable runners in the 15 strong field include last years winner, Get Me Out Of Here, and three from the Nicky Henderson yard – Soldatino, Solix and Eradicate.
Of the Henderson runners, Soldatino, the winner of the JCB Triumph Hurdle, is the most fancied whilst Alan King will also be quietly confident of a good run from Salden Licht.
The only Irish runner, and sure of some support in the betting ring, is the Willie Mullins-trained Sweet My Lord.
All the favoured horses should enjoy some cut in the ground and with the rain at the course over the past week it is anticipated that there will be a lively betting market with prices sure to encourage professional punters to get stuck in.
The live broadcast of the feature races on Channel 4 is expected to increase betting exchange liquidity with armchair backers sure to get involved.
Overall, we expect a highly entertaining race with Walkon the one to beat.