bet365 sponsors Musselburgh’s televised card on Sunday and Racing Post tipster Robbie Wilders provides his three best bets at the Scottish track.
The bet365 Scottish Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (2.25) seldom impacts Cheltenham’s Supreme market, but Toothless might be able to enter the conversation for that race with an authoritative victory here.
One of three Supreme entries at the festival for Paul Nicholls, Toothless was among the favourites for the Grade 2 Rossington Main recently before that Haydock card was cancelled due to cold weather, and he looked a top prospect when bolting up by 35 length at Fakenham on his stable debut.
Off the back of one start in Britain, Toothless has been handed a BHA rating of 131 and that puts him well clear of chief market rivals Carcaci Castle and General Officer, who give him 3lb.
Toothless is younger and open to more improvement, so it would be a surprise if he didn’t prove much too good here.
bet365 are paying four places for the Pertemps qualifier (2.55) and I’ll be playing Bardenstown Lad each-way.
He needs to finish in the first four to ensure his position in the final field for the Final at Cheltenham next month and can do that here.
Clearly, the Final wasn’t the initial plan for Bardenstown Lad as he was tried over fences in both runs earlier this term, but simply didn’t take to the discipline.
The fact he was sent off an 11/10 chance to defeat The Real Whacker on his chasing debut is evidence of just how smart he was over hurdles and I reckon a return to the smaller obstacles can spark Bardenstown Lad back into life.
Third in the Albert Bartlett last season, Bardenstown Lad is reasonably treated off a mark of 141 on that form and the booking of 5lb claimer Ben Harvey is a plus.
A 21 per cent strike-rate in Ireland this season suggests he is a conditional worth following and it is encouraging that Bardenstown Lad is proven on a quicker surface and at this course.
He dominated a three-mile novice hurdle on this card last season and it is simply too soon to give up on this high-class eight-year-old.
Garde Des Champs threw away a race at Doncaster this month when badly idling after jumping the last well clear but can make amends in the 2m4f Bet365 handicap hurdle (4.25).
The Keith Dalgleish-trained seven-year-old looked all over the winner and traded at 1.01 in running to get the job done, but seemed to get lonely out in front and stopped quickly.
Before he could react to the late plunge of Clear White Light, it was too late and I’m giving him another chance off 6lb higher.
Garde Des Champs remains well treated on past form regardless as 14 months ago he pulled 11 lengths clear of the third when giving Thunder Rock a race here in a novice hurdle.
Thunder Rock contested the Grade 1 Scilly Isles Novice Chase on Saturday and is rated 150 over fences, while Garde Des Champs now finds himself rated 107 over hurdles.
Rider Billy Garritty will be all too aware of the importance of timing Garde Des Champs’s challenge better this time and he will surely be competitive again.