Jump racing fans will be treated to an incredible ten live race shown on ITV4 this Saturday. These include five races from Ascot, two graded races from Haydock, two races from Wincanton and a grade two chase from Gowran Park in Ireland.
Here is my guide to the ten races…
13:35 Ascot- Sodexo Reynoldstown Novices Chase (Grade Two)
TOP VILLE BEN is the best horse in the race on official ratings as he is rated 150. This horse has won both of his two chase starts by a combined fifty nine lengths in class four company. It is a big step up but he looks the best if these. Harry Cobden rides Coup De Pinceau for Paul Nicholls, who has won this twice in the past six years with Black Corton and Rocky Creek. He won his first two chases and then was well beaten in this company last time out but is penalized for it. Mister Malarky has won two of his three chase starts, all in handicap company, so this is a big step up for him. The form of his last race has worked out well though. Yalltari has a 50% strike rate under rules including once in a handicap chase, jumping well, but he fell at the first last time out.
13:45 Wincanton- Betway Heed Your Hunch Handicap Chase (Class 2)
GINO TRAIL is 12yrs old but is so consistent and never runs a bad race. He was a really good second behind Dolos last time out and the third has won since. He is 4lbs higher than his last winning mark and has a lot of weight but it seems he is the one to beat. Admiral’s Secret won here in December then refused to race last time out, which is out of character, so he could go close. Magic Saint was successful in Auteil last year and has ran well on his two starts for his new yard but he would prefer softer conditions. Azzuri spent the summer with Richard O’Brien and was very successful but struggled last time out. Bigmatre won a grade two in April but hasn’t shown much since.
13:55 Haydock- Rendlesham Hurdle (Grade Two)
Donna’s Diamond won this last year and has been running in chases this season, including when finishing in behind Shades Of Midnight last time out. YANWORTH was last seen when sixth in the Stayers Hurdle and he is by far the best of these. He has a good record when fresh and should be winning this. Kilcooley is the interesting runner in the race as he hasn’t been seen for 1066 days. He is a dual grade two winner and is now with a new yard. It will be an incredible training performance if he can win.
14:10 Ascot- Keltbray Swinley Chase (Listed)
This listed race has attracted a nice field including 2015 Gold Cup winner Coneygree. He isn’t very easy to get right but looked marginally back to his old self when third at Cheltenham on seasonal debut. He unseated last time out at Kempton and may struggle against the younger BLACK CORTON and Reicher Island. The former won the grade two Novices Chase on this card last year and he has ran decent races in defeat since. Reikers Island is quite lightly raced and won well on his penultimate start. This is a big step up in class so Black Corton looks the safest option. Regal Encore won this last year and has an entry in the Grand National. The other will struggle.
14:30 Gowran Park- Red Mills Chase (Grade Two)
Edwulf won the Irish Gold Cup in 2018 and is one of my favourite horses. Anibale Fly and Killultagh Vic fell in that race but all three have struggled to win since. My heart is saying Edwulf but my head is saying MONALEE . He was second in the RSA last year and has ran very well behind two good horses the last twice.
14:45 Ascot- Denman Chase (Grade Two)
Bit of a pathetic turnout for this and no doubt the race would have been better if Newbury wasn’t cancelled last weekend due to equine flu. CLAN DES OBEAUX won the King George VI Chase last time out and is the likely winner. Terrefort was a decent third last time out and won two grade ones last season. He has a bit to find with Clan Des Obeaux but it wouldn’t be overly surprising if he won. Ballyhill and Thomas Patrick would be shock winners.
15:00 Wincanton- King well Hurdle (Grade Two)
Sceau Royal won on seasonal debut in a grade two chase but was twenty four lengths behind Altior last time out. He is returning to hurdles and he has won a grade two over these obstacles before too. Five year old Grand Sancy is penalized for his Listed Hurdle win in November and has ran well in grade three and grade one company since so he is the main threat. Vision Des Flos was two lengths behind Buveur D’Air two weeks ago and is a good horse. Course and distance winner Unison won in a class two at Taunton in January and deserves the step up in grade but may be outclassed. Jolly’s Cracked It may struggle too.
15:20 Ascot- Betfair Hurdle (Grade Three)
The two market leaders in this are Al Dancer and Getaway Trump. In an interview with us, Sam Twiston-Davies told us that Al Dancer is really well thought of by the Nigel Twiston-Davies team. He was fourth in a grade two bumper at Aintree last year. He has won his last three in class three and four company but this is a step up in grade. GETAWAY TRUMP was beaten just two and a half lengths in a grade one behind the well regarded Champ last time out. He won well over this trip at Exeter in December and, for me, he is my idea of the winner. He is one of my ’20 To Watch’ horses and I hope he runs a big race for Owners Group 023. His stablemate Mont Des Avaloirs was well beaten last time out but could go well at a price. William H Bonney has won his last two and Ar Mest could be well handicapped.
15:35 Haydock- William Hill Grand National Trial (Grade 3)
The Grand National weights were released on Tuesday and YALA ENKI, Ballyoptic and Royal Vacation are pretty much assured a run. The former won this last year and he is 10lbs higher than then. He carries top weight but Hugh Nugent takes off 7lbs. The horse was a place behind Ramses De Teille in the Welsh National. David Pipe’s grey won on his penultimate start but I fancy Yala Enki to reverse the running. Ballyoptic fell in the Becher then was sixth in the Welsh National last time and, if his jumping holds together, he could go close. Wakanda and Robinsfirth filled the first two places in the Peter Marsh and the latter probably needed the run on that day. Impulsive Star won the Warwick Chase when I was there and goes on the shortlist. Vieux Lion Rouge won this in 2017 off this mark.
15:55 Ascot- Betfair Ascot Chase (Grade One)
This race can be used as a Ryanair trial. Aso has been receiving some each way support for that race after two brilliant performances so far this season however he may struggle to beat the Paul Nicholls trained pair in this. Cyrname got put up a whopping 14lbs for his twenty one length win over this course and distance last time out so connections had no choice but to put him in this race. I prefer his stablemate Politologue though. He won impressively over course and distance in November and was a good fourth in the King George. He is to be feared but WAITING PATIENTLY sacrificed his unbeaten record in this race when getting brought down and he won this last year so is my fancy. Charbel and Fox Norton are two very classy horses in their own right.
13:30 Ascot- Top Ville Ben
13:45 Wincanton- Gino Trail
13:55 Haydock- Yanworth
14:10 Ascot- Black Corton
14:30 Gowran- Monalee/Edwulf
14:45 Ascot- Clan Des Obeaux
15:00 Wincanton- Sceau Royal
15:20 Ascot- Getaway Trump
15:35 Haydock- Yala Enki
15:55 Ascot- Waiting Patiently