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Racing Round-up: Thompson hoping her Viking sails up the weights

| 16.02.2015

Rarely has a weekend seen such a shake up in the antepost markets for both Cheltenham, and further ahead at Aintree, with no fewer than nine contests seeing moves after the last couple of day’s racing.

Perhaps the biggest triumph was Balder Succes proving that a step up in trip was just what he needed by claiming the Ascot Chase on Saturday.

Alan King’s charge will now be targeted at taking a double that has been completed by the likes of Cue Card and Riverside Theatre in recent years by landing the Ryanair Chase.

The Masterson Holdings-owned gelding was cut into 6/1 from 9/1 for the 2m5f contest at the Festival, and could be a solid pick with plenty of uncertainties around the other entrants.

Elsewhere, there were moves in the Champion Hurdle, Champion Chase and Ladbrokes World Hurdle, all of which are given the once over in our Racing Round-Up podcast.

Away from the fanfare of Cheltenham, the Grand National Trial at Haydock may have produced a number of live shouts for the Aintree marathon.

However, winner Lie Forrit looks likely to bypass a trip back to Merseyside in favour of staying in more familiar climes and having a crack at the Scottish equivalent at Ayr.

Sandy Thompson, trainer of Harry the Viking will unusually be hoping for a hike in the weights to enable him a run in Liverpool, after the 10-year-old came within a head of taking the Grade 3 contest.

At 100/1 he could be a big price if securing the required rise in the ratings.

The horses back in third and fourth should have no problem of getting into the race, with the popular Monbeg Dude staying on late, perhaps signalling even further than the 3m5f he faced at the weekend is needed.

A price of 33/1 could be a nice spot of value if the former Welsh National victor can improve on his seventh from last season.

An even bigger price is offered about fourth placed horse Gas Line Boy.

Now a 66/1 shot for the 4m4f stamina-sapping race, he was in the process of running a big one when all-but landing on top of the final fence and losing all momentum.

He may not have got near the front two, but the way he got going again was certainly eye-catching.

So all-in-all, whether it is Cheltenham or Aintree that your sights are set on, there was something of intrigue for National Hunt fans up and down the country.

All odds and markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.