Old Roan Chase Preview Tips: Itchy Feet to strike gold at Aintree

Old Roan Chase Tips: Itchy Feet can star at Aintree on Sunday
Old Roan Chase Tips: Itchy Feet can star at Aintree on Sunday

All eyes head to Merseyside on Sunday afternoon for the Grade 2 Old Roan Limited Handicap Chase, which is one of the feature races during Aintree's National Hunt season, and we preview the race here, as well as pick out our best bet for the event...

Unable to land any sort of blow on Shishkin in the Arkle at last season's Cheltenham Festival, Dan Skelton's Allmankind ended his campaign last term with a notable Grade 2 novice chase win at Ayr, and he will now be looking to kick on in his second season over fences. Having been given a run over hurdles a few weeks ago to sharpen him up, Allmankind will return to fences for this event, but he will have to give weight away to all his rivals, so will face a significant task on his hands.

Four wins from five chasing starts emphasises his love for the larger obstacles, but when he was handed his toughest test at Cheltenham he was unable to land any sort of blow. He will find no rival lining up here in the same stratosphere as the peerless Shishkin, but there are some smart rivals taking him on, and while he should run a solid race for the Skelton team, he could be vulnerable to a more attractively weighted rival.

Nuts Well is looking to emulate the mighty Monet's Garden - a legendary grey in which this race is named in honour of and who won this on three occasions - and Nuts Well is bidding for back-to-back wins in the race. A shock 18/1 winner of the event 12 months ago, Nuts Well will be 1lb lower than the aforementioned Allmankind, but he himself will have to give weight away to all his rivals, so will face a much sterner test.

Officially 4lbs higher than last year, Nuts Well is another that is bound to put up a bold effort, but it could be worth siding with one of those rivals he beat in the 2020 renewal, and that is the Olly Murphy-trained ITCHY FEET, who looks to have a tremendous chance in this enthralling renewal.

A Grade 1 winner of the Scilly Isles Novices' Chase back in February 2020, Murphy's raider failed to kick on from that success, and racked up a host of placed efforts in decent Graded events. Last seen finishing third in the Melling Chase at Aintree, Itchy Feet has been dropped 1lb in the handicap, and will take his chance here off a mark of 153. Having given Nuts Well 2lbs in last year's Old Roan, Itchy Feet will be in receipt of 6lbs from the reigning champion in the 2021 running, so he's more than likely going to have no problems reversing that form around on Sunday.

The trip appears to be ideal for the seven-year-old, and if Gavin Sheehan can get him into a good jumping rhythm then Itchy Feet can finally recapture the winning thread at the Liverpool track.

Paul Nicholls has saddled the likes of Kauto Star (2006) and Frodon (2018) to victory in this race, and the master of Ditcheat will bid to claim first prize once again and he will saddle Tamaroc Du Mathan, who was last seen unseating in the race won by Allmankind at Ayr. Prior to that he had downed the smart performer Ga Law in style in the Pendil Novices' Chase at Kempton Park, and before that he was behind Shishkin in the Wayward Lad Novices' Chase at Kempton Park over the Christmas period.

So, with some smart novice chase form in the book, he has a similar profile to that of Allmankind, and will nearly be getting a stone from the Skelton rival here, so if he can bounce back from that Ayr tumble and show a cleaner pair of hooves over his obstacles then he could be one of the main threats to the selection Itchy Feet here.

Of the others, Fanion D'estruval was last seen finishing way down the field in the Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, and he's yet to taste victory for nearly two years, so can be ignored, while the bottom weighted Killer Clown is another of note. but Emma Lavelle's seven-year-old will need to show more than he did when well beaten at Sandown in April.

Old Roan Chase
Itchy Feet silk

Itchy Feet

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