Past Winners » Harry Topper


I really like Al Ferof … but you have to treat every race as a separate puzzle, and I think that Harry Topper is over-priced at 7/2 to beat him today.

Firstly, Al Ferof is vulnerable. He had a hard race in the King George, and you can be sure that Paul Nicholls’ goal is to bring him back to his peak for Cheltenham. Interestingly, the Nicholls horses are not going as well as they often are.

Al Ferof probably had a little while off after the King George, and this run should bring him forward again with a view to having him at concert pitch at Cheltenham. Add in the fact that today’s heavy ground may be a little softer than most horses like, and you can take him on at 13/8.

Harry Topper is different. He can’t have the ground soft enough. There is no sense that he is building up to Cheltenham, he ran a cracker to finish third behind The Giant Bolster in the Argento Chase at Cheltenham last month – he would have been second in another two strides – and this is his next run, two weeks later.

The ground will be softer today than it was at Cheltenham, and the flatter track should suit him better. His jumping is still a concern, but the flat track and the heavy ground should make it easier for him. He will not have to jump as fast as he has to out of good ground, and any ground lost at his fences will be much more easily made up.

As well as that, the first two fences in the home straight are going to be omitted, and that is a significant positive for Harry Topper. Katenko is also a danger, but everything is right for Harry Topper today, and 7/2 is more than fair.