We’re racing at Ascot and Haydock on ITV with a really competitive handicap hurdle to end the day.
Tom Symonds’ Saint De Vassy will be close to the head of the market and the stable is flying at the moment. Bennys King represents the Skelton team and will be dangerous as this lad ran a super race on heavy ground in January at the track. The one I’ve sided with though is the former Gordon Elliott-trained Mengli Khan. He was a good horse in Ireland before moving to Nicky Henderson. A gorgeous looking horse, his class can shine through on his first run for the Henderson yard.
A thrilling rematch of the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury. Thyme Hill came out on top then when getting weight off Paisley Park but they compete off level weights on Saturday. Both are proven on a soft surface so that is not a problem. If it turns into a bit of a slog, it will suit Paisley Park who is a real old-fashioned stayer as his wins at Cheltenham have shown. There was very little between them last time, but with a run under his belt Paisley Park can turn the tables on Thyme Hill.
Roksana can pick up the pieces if either disappoints and she loves soft ground.
Regal Encore was disappointing at Aintree, but Ascot is a home game for him. Enfant Roi is interesting as he makes his British debut for connections having run in France for most of his career and has picked up some nice prizemoney.
I was all over The Conditional for the Ladbroke Trophy at Newbury and he ran a hell of a race to finish second on his seasonal debut. With that run ender his belt and a return to slower ground, he will take some beating. The handicapper has actually dropped him 1lb for his run at Newbury, so that’s a bonus. The Conditional all the way for me.
A really competitive handicap hurdle ends the day at Ascot and Paddy is paying 5 places. Buzz went up 11lb in the ratings for a course and distance success last time, but life will be a lot tougher now.
Benson was a good winner of a handicap hurdle at Sandown last time and will love conditions but he has a 10lb rise to overcome. Arrivederci was travelling well when falling three hurdles out at Haydock over 2m 2f. He wears a tongue tie for the first time on Saturday.
It will be tough going by the time this race gets underway, so a thorough stayer is needed. I’ll go for Harambe. He won the Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham in 2019 and fell in the last in the same race this year.
He’s my each-way selection.
A handicap hurdle over 2m 3f and War Lord returns to a track where he had to work so hard to win at last time. The Tizzard horses are tough though and even a 7lb rise in the weights may not be enough to stop him following up.
This 3m 1f Chase is normally a really gruelling test and you need a dour stayer. Sam’s Adventure fits the bill and ran better than his finishing position suggested last time when fifth on his seasonal debut.
His stamina will be very useful. Hill Sixteen is another dour stayer and the way he battled last time on ground that was too quick for him in a handicap hurdle at Newbury. The Anthony Honeyball-trained favourite Sojourn is proven on bad ground and should run well.
Sam’s Adventure is a player at a price In an open contest.
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