The 2.40 at Perth looks a competitive affair but that should mean there’s some value around and there are some I’m happy to oppose that take a chunk out of the market.
Mister First is one such animal. Formerly a frustrating type with a 3/40 record over fences, he’s since won two weak races at the course and now finds himself on a career high perch in a much deeper race. He's clearly in the form of his life but I can see him being friendless in the market throughout the day and is readily opposed.
Vesperal Dream won this race last year and is just 1lb higher now after only two lesser efforts in the interim. He loves quick ground and this has clearly been the plan so will have his supporters. But this looks a deeper renewal and he’s none too consistent.
Katgary used to be trained by Paul Nicholls but was off-loaded after dismal efforts this spring at Cheltenham and Newbury. He made a decent fist of it on his first outing for the new yard but connections immediately go back for some headgear, and although it’s too early to write him off, he has questions to answer.
Imjoeking ought to go well if fully wound up, which you can expect him to be. He’s gone well fresh before but you have to be concerned that he’s only run twice in almost two years. There’s not much leeway in his mark and he might need a PB to take this...that’s a tall order even though trip and ground are in his favour.
Shadows Lengthen is my idea of the winner. The 10-year-old had an enviable 5/13 record over fences but has since gone seven without a win. However, he’s down to 1lb below his last winning mark and proved here two runs ago that he retains all his ability – a mistake two out costing each-way punters dear.
I fancied him at Stratford last time out but the ground had gone after pre-meeting rain and despite wins on soft early in his career he just doesn’t seem to go on it anymore.
In this grade he just has a touch of class and for the record his stats in Class 3 chases over about 2m4f on good ground are 211, while his last win at Wetherby 20 months ago came in a weak Class 1 event. In a nutshell, everything is in place for a very big run.
Of the others; Kilgefin Star is a likable type but has something to prove jumping-wise and didn’t show enough on his return from a break to warrant consideration off this mark.
Jet Master is 2/11 over fences but very hard to win with – everything has to fall right. The handicapper has been very kind in dropping him 7lb since his last run and there’s no reason why he can’t have a say off this mark if things go his way. Gleann Na Dochais is 0/12 in Class 3 and the other pair are easily opposed.
Conclusion: Vesperal Dream, Imjoeking and Jet Master will have their supporters and rightly so, but having backed Shadows Lengthen the last twice I’m not deserting him now with everything in his favour. I’m slightly worried about the pace angle but Kilgefin Star and Cowards Close like to press so hopefully there’ll be no dawdling, that wouldn’t suit my selection.