Published 3rd March
Paul Nolan’s seven-year-old has knocked on the door on both previous visits, finishing second in the 2018 Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle over 2m4f and ditto the four-mile National Hunt Chase 12 months ago.
The gelding is back for more after recent wind surgery, having shown his effectiveness at around three miles when splitting Delta Work and A Plus Tard in the Champion Novice Chase at Punchestown last spring.
That was a cracking effort against two horses rated 10lb-plus higher at the time, both of whom have since advanced their ratings with Grade 1 victories.
The campaign so far has not gone as well for Discorama, although there was no disgrace in failing to give Champagne Classic (2017 Martin Pipe winner) 5lb on his reappearance, with subsequent Paddy Power Chase winner Roaring Bull a well-beaten third.
He ran a lacklustre race in the Troytown next time (relatively weak in the market) and even worse dropped to 2m4f over hurdles in first-time blinkers at Limerick on Boxing Day.
However the breathing operation may well spark a revival if his strength in the ante-post market is anything to go by, while a mark of 148 is eye-catching based on that Punchestown performance.
Whereas soft ground is probably ideal for Discorama over this trip, any drying out of conditions would suit admirable multi-tasker WHO DARES WINS.
Alan King’s eight-year-old is a classy staying handicapper on the Flat (Northumberland Plate winner, also placed in three Chester Cups and an Ascot Stakes) and over hurdles with solid Festival form, having finished third in a Coral Cup and fifth in the 2018 Pertemps Final (won by Delta Work).
In the last-named he was the only one of the first 11 home to carry more than 11 stone (6lb more to be precise) - a performance that deserves marking up given he was running off a then career-high mark against the usual collection of plotted-up horses on soft ground.
He gets the chance to compete off 2lb lower for this prospective handicap debut over fences, having warmed up for Cheltenham with a typically gutsy win over 2m4f in the Pendil at Kempton last month.
King also has him in the RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase and Marsh Novices’ Chase but the handicap option looks his best chance of success provided the ground is deemed suitable.
Recommended Bet (scale 1-5 points):
Ultima Handicap Chase, Tuesday 10th March
1pt win DISCORAMA (10-1 general)
1pt win WHO DARES WINS (12-1 888sport, 10-1 general with other non-runner no bet bookmakers)
Gary provides regular ante-post updates on Twitter. His username is @horsetraderinfo