It’s amazing to think that in just a month’s time the Cheltenham Festival will be done and dusted, so we need to get some cash in the kitty. It’s fair to say this column has been absolutely flying in 2020 so fingers crossed the good work continues on Saturday – if Storm Dennis doesn’t ruin it.
At this stage though, we’ve seven races to enjoy on the main ITV network from Ascot, Haydock and Wincanton.
Let’s get straight to it, and the 13.50 at Ascot is the Grade 2 Reynoldstown Novices’ Chase over 3m.
SAM BROWN is unbeaten in two starts this term since coming back from injury and this lightly raced eight-year-old looks super special for Anthony Honeyball. This is the big test, but I am sticking with him until he gets beat. I was at Lingfield when he won first time this term and his jumping was amazing.
He loves the mud as well. There are plenty in here with a chance but I love this horse.
Next up at Ascot is the Listed Swinley Chase over 3m at 14.25. RED INDIAN might be worth a few quid each-way here with Ben Jones takes off 3lb. My hope was far from disgraced when fifth in the Peter Marsh at Haydock and the ground and trip are no problem. He’s come down in the weights and has a good sixth in the Coral Cup to his name. Take a chance at a price for Kelly Morgan.
The 15.00 at Ascot is a handicap hurdle over nearly 2m 4f. I’ve neve been a fan of Dorking – but DORKING BOY is my each-way selection in an open event. He probably didn’t quite get home over an extended 3m last time, so this trip will suit and he was a fine winner at Newbury and Taunton the two times before; Place claims for Tom Lacey.
We round off Ascot’s coverage at 15.35 in the featured Grade 1 Ascot Chase over 2m 5f.
Obviously all eyes here on CYRNAME, who is going to be an odds-on favourite for the champion trainer Paul Nicholls and Harry Cobden. He’s hard to oppose after his second in the King George and destruction of Altior earlier in the season.
That said, Riders OnThe Storm is no mug so it might not be the total cakewalk the betting suggests. Still it’s impossible to oppose Cyrname who has a very high rating.
Meanwhile, ITV show the 14.05 at Haydock, the Grade 2 Rendlesham Hurdle over an extended 3m. Back over hurdles, WEST APPROACH might be the one here. He was a decent winner over fences at Cheltenham earlier in the season, but lost his way last time. Getting 6lb from The Worlds End he has every chance.
Also from Haydock, ITV beam the 15.15, a Grade 3 Grand National Trial Handicap over nearly 3m 5f. Stamina will be everything here and YALA ENKI has it in spades for Paul Nicholls and Bryony Frost. He was my hope in the Welsh National when a fine third, and he went on to score well at Taunton last time. That was off 157 and he is on the same mark here.
And finally over at Wincanton ITV show the 14.45, a Grade 2 hurdle over nearly 2m. For the future the run of Elgin will be interesting. But QUEL DESTIN is probably the one for Nicholls again. He was a fine winner at Sandown last time in heavy, but this surface and track will be no issue.
On the ratings he has every chance. You hear me Paddy?