With Doncaster off we turn our attention to the jumping scene and CEPAGE (2.05 Aintree) can overcome a long absence and defy top weight in this valuable handicap chase.
He runs well fresh, likes soft ground and his trainer Venetia Williams is very skilled at having runners primed to score first time back.
His last run was an outstanding effort, a close second in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup at Cheltenham to Frodon who of course advertised that form in style by going on to win the Ryanair. Guitar Pete was a distant third in that race which certainly reads outstanding form for Cepage in this kind of company.
Cepage has good form on flat tracks too and indeed landed the Silver Bowl at Kempton. His rating of 147 is hard to argue with and if back to anything like his best he will surely prove too good for this field which includes some real under achievers.
The West's Awake - second in a decent Listowel contest last time out - is interesting, particularly in first time blinkers. It seems a while ago now but Edward O'Grady sent out 18 Cheltenham Festival winners and doesn't cross the Irish Sea just to view the scenery.
Duke Street reverts from hurdles which isn't ideal, but he is one of the few in the field who certainly knows where the winning post is and indeed is bidding to complete a four timer. He would prefer better ground but copes with soft surprisingly well for a son of Duke Of Marmalade. The Russian Doyen and Riders Onthe Storm boast solid form from the big Festivals but Cepage is the one to beat.
Aintree - 2:05
1 Point WIN Cepage (7/2 generally, use Best Odds Guaranteed Bookies)
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