The Betfair Ascot Chase at 3.35pm at Ascot is an absolutely cracking race. Waiting Patiently, Top Notch and Coney Island are all in there.
Two of them look guaranteed Ryanair Chase horses at Cheltenham for sure, it’s hard to know where Coney Island is going to go though.
Is he a Gold Cup or a Ryanair horse? Maybe we’ll get that question answered after this race. He probably needs to improve a bit on what he did before Christmas, that was a much easier task than this one – but he’s a very good, progressive horse.
Elsewhere, Top Notch has been remarkable this season and Waiting Patiently is flying the flag for the North. It’s probably hard to see Cue Card getting involved and I never thought I’d be say that about him, but he does look only fourth choice here.
I’ll just about lean towards Top Notch to take it, he’s a wonderful little horse.
It’s a small, but select field for the Sodexo Reynoldstown Novices’ Chase (1.50pm). This one is all about Black Corton though, his progression throughout the year has been incredible really.
He never knows when he’s beaten and while he does carry a Grade One penalty, he’s going in the right the direction. He’s the one to beat in this field for sure.
After spending the summer performing at smaller track, he hasn’t garnered the respect he probably deserves. Black Corton has pitched up all through the winter though and looks to have a canny habit of winning.
If he wins again here, his team are entitled to go to Cheltenham believing Black Corton has a right chance.
Agrapart has been consistent enough and he’s dropping back down two furlongs in trip here from his Cheltenham win a few weeks ago in the Rendlesham Hurdle at Haydock (2.05pm).
He can be a funny horse, some days he travels really well and other days he just doesn’t.
I reckon he want ever yard to win and dropping back down in trip might just make Agrapart vulnerable to Zarkandar.
Blaklion is a fantastic horse, he was just beaten by Bristol De Mai in his first run out this season and followed that by winning the Becher Handicap Chase at Aintree at a canter.
He’s got plenty of weight to carry the Grand National Trial Handicap Chase at 3.15pm, but he is a stand out horse and he has that weight for a reason.
I presume he’s heading for the Grand National and they wanted to a good run for him to get the mileage on the clock before he goes to Aintree. With all the weight on him, I wouldn’t be disheartened on betting him to take the National, even if he doesn’t score a victory at Haydock.
An encouraging run is all you’re looking for and he wouldn’t be giving away anyway near as much weight come Grand National day.
Looking through the card, if you were looking for an each-way shot, I’d be going with Silsol. He ran well enough in the Welsh National, Noel Fehily rides him and he could be a nice outside bet.
Willie Mullins has two chances in the Beginners Chase (1.25pm) at Gowran Park and Up For Review is probably a higher class of hurdler than Some Neck.
He’s off the track a long while, but he’s schooled well at home and we’re happy with how he’s going.
Mall Dini, off a rating of 143, sets the standard and he too has the advantage over hurdles on Some Neck. Up For Review though, looks the sharpest of Willie two chances here.
I believe the plan for Douvan is to head straight for Cheltenham, that’s why he doesn’t run in the Red Mills Chase at 2pm. Even without him, this is a brilliant race.
When Our Duke ran at Leopardstown two weeks ago I was a bit disappointed with him. However, when I watched it back I changed my mind, he made a very bad mistake at the second last and finished much closer than I thought he did.
Having said that, I’m not certain if dropping back to two-and-a-half miles will play to his strengths. Whereas, Presenting Percy could be more versatile in that regard.
I was greatly taken by him in his last two starts at in a handicap chase at Fairyhouse and in the Galmoy Hurdle Gowran Park. He could take all the beating in this one.
He could be a very hard horse to stop in the RSA Chase as well.
Lagostovegas has run terrific through the summer and she gets a lot of weight off of horse in the Red Mills Trial Hurdle at 3pm.
She’s getting 18lbs off Mick Jazz, my only concern with her is the ground. Now, maybe she will hold up, but she handled nice ground in the summer so well it would definitely be in the back of your mind that she mightn’t like the ground.
However, she is in good order, the track and the trip will suit her and the weight concession gives her a massive chance.
Identity Thief could be the class in this field though, he still a fair horse. He just sets a very high standard when he’s on song.