For this race, I've got one selection, who I can’t believe is 25/1. Guard Your Dreams' for Nigel Twiston-Davies, went off just 7/1 for the race last year, and has been running in much better races than this. He was progressive last year as a novice, winning 2 out of 3 novice hurdles before winning a decent handicap. After that he stepped up in class to the Betfair Hurdle where he finished a very good 6th in that competitive race. The start after came in last years' renewal of this race, where, as a novice in just his second big field handicap, he finished a very respectable 7th of 26. On his final start of the season, he ran in the Grade One Mersey Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree, where he was no match there for the high class My Drogo, beaten around 9 lengths. That day both he and the second, Minella Drama, pulled 33 lengths clear of Supreme 2nd, Ballyadam who was back in fourth. Minella Drama is a grade two winning chaser this year and there was just a half length separating him and Guard Your Dreams. This year he hasn’t finished outside of the top 3, despite running in some strong races. His first start was a Cheltenham class 3 handicap, where, carrying top weight over 2 miles 4, he beat course specialist Coole Cody whilst giving him 10lbs. Coole Cody is a much better chaser who won a big grade three handicap over the fences at Cheltenham in December. Guard Your Dreams won that race fairly cosily and has been kept to listed and Graded races since. His second start was in the Grade Two Coral Hurdle where he finished 3rd, 5 lengths off winner, Buzz, who at the time was a single figure price for the Stayers; and pulled away from two subsequent Grade Two winners in Goshen and Molly Ollys Wishes. A win in the Grade Two International Hurdle at this course followed. Again it was a decent field including last years winner of this race, Heaven Help Us. After that he has maintained his form with a third in the Grade Two Relkeel; before chasing home a rejuvenated Goshen in the two mile listed Contenders Hurdle; and a third in the Grade Two Game Spirit most recently. He was surprisingly dropped for that last run to a mark of 145 which is a very nice mark for him and leaves him right down the bottom of the handicap. Trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies is in good form, operating at a 20% strike rate in the last fortnight, and for a horse that has posted RPR’s all 147 and above this year, I think 25/1 is a brilliant price. For reference over the last 10 years the average winning RPR of this race is 151 and his high of 150 this year would have been enough to win it on most the recent renewals, last years dominant winner, Heaven Help Us, only recorded a 148 RPR.
Again, this is another race that I had no Ante Post play in, so we just have the one selection.
Guard Your Dreams 25/1 1pt each way 5 places (NRNB)