What a bonanza of racing we have on your screen courtesy of ITV Racing this weekend with three tracks covered. We have the Champion Chase from Down Royal and four races from Wetherby including the Charlie Hall plus some really competitive action coming from Ascot. We kick off with Wetherby at 13:35.
He’s No Trouble is the one I am interested in. This son of Scorpion was a good winner at Huntingdon in November last year and the trainer’s horses are flying at the moment. The obvious danger is the favourite and is a horse called Guy.
He won very nicely at Huntingdon plus some of his hurdles form is pretty good. He took a fair rise for winning last time and he is the danger.
Next Destination is a fascinating runner and this lad beat Delta Work in the Grade 1 at Punchestown a couple of years ago. He has a 920-day absence to overcome but this lad is a very smart horse who is now in the care of Paul Nicholls.
I am pretty sure Paul will have him fit enough for this and I think he is a really interesting runner. Lisnagar Oscar won the Stayers’ Hurdle and sets the standard here.
His trainer is operating at a 33% strike rate so there’s lots of positives for this team. He has to give weight to some of the other horses which is a worry, though.
On official ratings he comes off second best to Roksana of Dan Skelton. She is in receipt of more weight than she would be in a handicap and that swings things in her favour. She gets the nod.
This is a cracker and it almost goes back to the late 90s and early 00’s when I won this a couple of times for Paul Nicholls with See More Business after he won the Gold Cup and also on Marlborough for Nicky Henderson. Cyrname is the highest rated chaser in training now and you must think surely he’s the one to go for?
But this is unknown territory. This horse has won seven of his 19 starts, six of those wins have been in chases but none of those have been left-handed and that is a concern. He fell on his last start of last season and his first run last year – when he beat the mighty Altior – seemed to really bottom him. We don’t know how he is going to react and if you throw in the left-handed element as well, it’s all a major worry.
Ballyoptic won last year and carries a penalty for that victory which will make life difficult for him, but he is a bonny horse. I think this is a tougher race this year.
Sam Spinner is really interesting. This lad is unbeaten over fences having won all three starts last season including twice at the track. He handles very soft ground and is a dour stayer, but he can take a little while to warm up to the jumping. If you could guarantee me that Sam Spinner would jump well, I would have no hesitation in plumping for him. There’s no guarantee of that and these guys aren’t going to make life easy for him.
Definitly Red has won this race previously. Vinndication is only seven-years old and ran a belter last season in a handicap at the Cheltenham Festival when not beaten all-that far. He won at Ascot on his first run of the season and he sets a good standard with his trainer flying at the minute. I hate not going for Cyrname but there are just too many negatives.
The Storyteller comes in here in the form of his life having won at Punchestown. This will suit as he has a tendency to jump badly to the right late on. Delta Work had a few people scratching their heads last year as some felt he never delivered what they he was capable of. His run in the Gold Cup was solid and he was only beaten just over six lengths.
Tout Est Permis was second to The Storyteller at Punchestown and Alpha Des Obeaux was also behind. Presenting Percy is a fascinating runner far Gordon Elliot. This lad has won twice at Cheltenham Festival and wasn’t beaten all that far by Delta work at Leopardstown.
He came down two out when still travelling okay in the Gold Cup when he was alongside Delta Work. Gordon has such a strong record at this meeting I have no doubt he will have this horse primed on his first start for the new trainer. I think he will win and put down a marker for the season.
Mick Fitzgerald’s tips for ITV Racing on Saturday
More tips for Saturday
- Paddy Power Names 8/1 Shot Among 3 To See At Wetherby On Saturday
- Timeform’s Trio Of Punts Can Make Ascot Ace On Saturday
- Our Tempting Trixie For Down Royal On Saturday
*All odds correct at time of publication