Oldgrangewood looks decent value at the 6/1 on offer with William Hill to cash-in on a drop in the weights and land the spoils in the 2m 4f Virgin Bet Handicap Chase at Aintree on Saturday (14:05).
This Dan Skelton trained eight-year-old has won four of his 15 starts over the larger obstacles and also made the frame on three occasions.
His last success came at Newbury back in December 2017 where he beat Jameson by half-a-length off a mark of 145.
Prior to that, he had run really well over over this course and distance when third of 12 to Smad Place in the Grade 2 Old Roan Chase off an official rating of 147.
Oldgrangewood also ran well here at the 2018 Grand National Festival when fourth of 16 to Thomas Patrick in a Grade 3 handicap chase off 146 and when third of 18 to Kildistart in this year’s renewal off 137.
The form of those runs read well in relation to this class 2 affair and Oldgrangewood is able to race in it off a rating of 136.
It gives him a big shout from a handicapping perspective in a grade where he has a fine 40 per cent strike rate, having won twice and been placed once in four starts.
Oldgrangewood has also undergone wind surgery since his last outing here when third. That looks a shrewd move as he travelled well on lots of occasions last season before finding less than expected.
The fact that he has run well here in the past is also a big plus. So, taking everything into account, Oldgrangewood has more going for him in the Virgin Bet Handicap Chase than his odds would suggest.
Lots to like about The Last Day
In the 2m handicap chase (13:30), the Evan Williams trained The Last Day looks on a handy mark and the one to be on.
This seven-year-old was a dual winner over hurdles and quickly developed into an even better chase last season.
After falling on debut at Newbury, the son of Oscar ran very well when chasing home the now 142-rated White Moon at Exeter.
The Last Day then went down all guns blazing by three-quarters of a length to Whatswrongwithyou at Ffos Las.
The winner went on to follow-up and then ran well at the Cheltenham Festival when seventh of 19 to Croco Bay in the Grand Annual off 145.
That gives the form a strong look. The Last Day went on to round off the campaign with a facile eight-length success at Carlisle.
He now makes his eagerly awaited handicap debut off an opening mark 131 and that could seriously underestimate his ability – especially on his run behind Whatswronmgwithyou.
The Last Day also appeals as the type to progress further this season, so – at 5/2 with 888Sport – he is a strong fancy to land this class 3 contest en route to better things.
Rosy World taken to bloom on Virgin Bet Handicap Chase day
Having shaped really well on seasonal reappearance, Rosy World makes plenty of appeal now stepped up in trip in the 3m handicap hurdle (14:40).
That run came over 2m 4f at Plumpton where the Suzy Smith trained six-year-old mare rallied and stayed on well to finish a half-length third of six to Shambra.
The runner-up Dan McGrue has since come out and landed a competitive class 3 at the same venue, so that gives the form a solid look.
It also suggests that a 1lb rise in the weights for Rosy World is more than fair. Prior to that, she had rounded of last season with victory when posting and improved effort to win going away by five lengths at Plumpton over 2m 4f.
Rosy World is clearly going the right way and the 3m trip of this looks sure to play to her strengths.
The daughter of Shirocco is also entitled to strip fitter for her recent outing and has underfoot conditions to suit. So, at 11/4 with Betway, Rosy World looks well worth a eager to notch a third career success.
Roksana fancied to make winning return
In the 2m 4f hurdle (15:15), Roksana looks to hold outstanding claims of providing Oldgrangewood’s handler Skelton with a double on the card.
This seven-year-old mare finished a cracking second to Santini in a Grade 1 at this venue at the 2018 Grand National festival. She also enjoyed her finest hour at this year’s Cheltenham Festival when landing the Grade 1 Mares’ Hurdle.
Rosksana stayed on well to beat Stormy Ireland, but was a somewhat fortunate winner as the red-hot favourite Benie Des Dieux was three lengths clear and in command when coming to grief at the last.
However, she proved that she was the real deal next time up in the Grade 1 Liverpool Hurdle over 3m here when making If The Cap Fits pull out all the stops and going down by just a head in a driving finish.
The form of those races sets a clear standard in this much lower grade class 2 affair and makes Roksana the one the all have to beat.
Dropping back in trip will hold no fears for the daughter of Dubai Destination. This looks a glorious opening for her to kickstart what promises to be a highly productive season.
It makes cramped odds of evens with Betfred look fully justified and it will be disappointing if Roksana fails to get the job done.