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13:20 Wetherby

The opener on the card is set to be an exciting contest which sees some interesting novices taking on some highly experienced sorts. Gericault Roque is likely to start as favourite however I am taking him on as this will be his first attempt over fences and although he was largely impressive over hurdles, his attempt over two and half miles was his worst run of the three. Revels Hill is also a newcomer to chasing and while its possible he may improve for this switch; it’s a competitive enough race and he is likely to be one for further down the line.

Templehills had a great performance a little over three weeks ago at Stratford and he is still weighted well below his best. Interestingly, four of his eight wins have come in October, so he clearly loves this time of year. His current double-figure odds represent fantastic value, Jack Savage will take off a very useful five pounds, the conditions will suit and I am taking him each way to run another great race here.


written by Tom Bates


13:35 Ascot

The first of four live ITV races from Ascot sees me go against the two former course winners Kid Commando and Whatsupwithyou. Perhaps that isn't the wisest move however Anthony Honeyball's runner has failed to finish two of his last three runs and I'm not convinced he warrants his current short price.

The most interesting runner is the Paul Nicholls trained Solo. Once heralded as a potential superstar who went off the 4/1 second favourite in the 2020 JCB Triumph Hurdle he's failed to live up to expectation. If he returns to anything like his best would likely demolish a field of this nature but after a string of disappointing performances it's hard to be convinced we'll see an upturn in form.

Perhaps it's with a touch of sentiment but how good would it be to see the yellow and green quartered silks of Trevor Hemmings lifted to glory on ITV once again? The legendary trainer recently passed away and his runner Sam Barton is a lightly raced type whos has plenty of room to progress. A solid 4th in the Grade 3 "Paddy Power 'National Hunt' Novices' Handicap Hurdle Final" at Sandown shows he has an abundance of potential and a race of this nature looks well within his grasp. If he takes well to the bigger obstacles we can certainly see him go close.


written by Rory Paddock


13:55 Wetherby

The first of four races from Wetherby on ITV today is an intriguing Mares Listed hurdle over 2 miles with a few major stables having a contender. Miranda and Molly Ollys Wishes are both rated 145 and as such are officially 10lb and more ahead of their rivals on the figures. Miranda has to give her aforementioned rival 2lb due to her win in the Yorkshire Rose last season. But with both having been off the track for over 200 days, I would take them on but with Molly Ollys Wishes being my preference of the two.

Her Indoors has a bit to find at the ratings with the two previously mentioned but Alan King’s 4-y-o will be fit from a recent spin on the flat. Which could help make up the difference with the official ratings as well as receiving 3lb and 5lbs respectively from those rivals. She is a previous Listed and Grade 3 juvenile hurdle winner including on soft ground and hopefully she can progress and get involved with her elders.


written by Michael Taylor


14:10 Ascot

Soaring Glory was a smart improver last year, rising from novice hurdles to Grade One company. He defeated Bravemansgame on his season bow and finished runner up to Dusart, the race after. Later on, he finished third behind the highly exciting My Drogo and subsequent won the Grade Three Betfair Hurdle. He capped off his excellent season by coming forth in the Supreme Novice’s at Cheltenham. He’s got the form but he’s carrying a massive weight today and this might be a tough ask off a long layoff.

Boothill looked highly impressive on his sole two starts last year, beating the intriguing Bothwell Bridge by four lengths and then absolutely scooting home by nine lengths, the time after. On face value, he probably warrants favouritism but he’s coming off a long layoff and he’s quite unexposed at this class, so it could be worth going against him.

Ajero was in fine form last year, winning four races on the bounce before possibly feeling the effects of the long and demanding season in the Grade One at the end of the year. From the traditions, a six years old horse, with a relatively high rating and a nice weight, tend to do well in this race and Ajero ticks all those boxes. There’s no worries about the ground and distance and he seemed to improve with the headgear on last year. He could bounce back with a bang.


written by Kieran McHugh


14:30 Wetherby

Some familiar faces turn out for this Grade 2 staying hurdle.

Paisley Park the former Cheltenham stayers hurdle winner embarks on another season ultimately trying to regain his crown at the festival.

In all honesty if he turns up here in tip top form this race will be a formality, however another year has passed and inevitably it takes its toll, particularly on horses who race at the highest level.

So if Paisley Park is potentially vulnerable, who is the most likely to profit?

Indefatigable is fit from a winning run on the flat, but needs to take a huge step forward to match the form of the protagonists and at the age of eight I’m not sure where that amount of improvement is going to come from.

Master Tommytucker got his jumping together over fences and turned into a classy performer. Connections have potentially seen an opportunity here to capitalise on not a particularly strong renewal of this race. He found go well, but will almost certainly revert back to chasing after this.

That leaves Thomas Darby as the selection almost by default. There is still a question mark over the trip for him, but the yard are in good form and this horse has a decent record fresh which might be the time to catch him. He doesn’t have an awful amount to find on form, so there’s every chance this could be his day.


written by Matt Polley


14:45 Ascot

All these Horses except for one are having their first run out of the National Hunt Season. Bar one of the outsiders Monsieur Lecoq who ran 2 weeks ago over Hurdles goes back over fences and will at least have a run under his belt unlike the others certainly has place chance.

Frero Banbou goes into this as favourite at time of writing but Venetia Williams yard have been very quiet so far this season and her string don't usually get going until November December time when the ground gets soft and heavy.

Frero Banbou Finished ahead last time out at Aintree against Grey Diamond who runs in this race is another with a chance. However, Editeur De Gite beat both of these by quite a way of at Aintree last time out in the same race.

Although Editeur De Gite is worse off at the weights than Grey Diamond & Frero Banbou this time out there isn't that much difference this time round. I would fancy Editeur De Gite to win this time round. The only thing that maybe a concern is him needing the run. But ran well at Aintree last time out and I'm sure there is more to come from him.

At an outsider price Eamon An Cnoic is bottom weighted and although is the oldest horse in the race. Any horse on a low weight from David Pipe yard interests me and the fact Fergus Gillard Takes another 3 pounds of will make him a nice weight to have a go at this race. Couple of bookies paying 4 places so there 2 selections would be my play



written by Luke Tucker


14:50 Down Royal

The first Grade 1 of the Irish jumps season “proper” has attracted a select but classy field. Paul Nicholls’ has always targeted this meeting and to great effect, winning this contest on three occasions, the last being with Kauto Stone in 2012. The ever-popular Frodon is his representative this time around and has serious claims on the basis of his King George victory at Kempton last season. He followed that up by finishing fifth behind the reopposing Minella Indo in the Gold Cup and may come up short again, on seasonal return.

The aforementioned Gold Cup winner was successful on his return to action at Wexford twelve months ago but faces a much tougher task in comparison and you’d imagine he won’t be fully wound up for this. Galvin boasts a very progressive profile and was a friend to a lot of punters when landing the National Hunt Chase at the festival last season. He’s the only horse who’s had a prep run and that gives him the edge. Delta Work is a classy individual and there were plenty of eyebrows raised during the week when Gordon insisted Jack ride him instead of Minella Indo but given his record in the race (Fourth 2019 & fifth 2020) I don’t see him being involved at the business end.


written by Peter Keogh


15:05 Wetherby

Any preview for this race must start with Cyrname. Paul Nicholls talented but quirky chaser won this race comfortably last year beating Vinndication by two lengths. Following that win he failed to complete in two further outings. He has always gone very well fresh so this may be the time to catch him however, he is a short price and has plenty to prove after those two poor efforts last term. He has had a second wind operation this summer.

Clondaw Castle showed improved form last year when stepped up to three miles for the first time, winning a competitive handicap at Kempton. On his only subsequent start he was well beaten in an Aintree Grade One but still had some decent horses behind him that day. He goes well fresh and this trip on a flat track should really suit him.

Course and distance winner Shan Blue was one of last years top novices wining the Grade One for novices on Boxing day. He looked like he didn’t get up the hill at Cheltenham over two and a half miles beaten twelve lengths by impressive winner Chantry House. He was the beaten a lot further by the same horse at Aintree. He still has potential and although he needs to improve to land this he’s certainly capable of doing just that.

If Shan Blue must be considered then so does Fusil Raffles, he finished nine lengths in front of Shan Blue at Cheltenham just three lengths behind Chantry House and he is three pound better off with Shan Blue today. The negative with him is the trip, this is his first start over three miles and even connections are not sure if he stays. A former Grade One winner over hurdles he has more to come as a chaser, so far, he has appeared just short of top class but maybe this trip changes that? Fusil is one of only two horses to have run so far this season, he was beaten five and a half lengths by the exciting Bravemansgame but was giving that rival twelve pounds and time will show he had an impossible task there.

Kittys light is the other horse to have had a run, finishing a narrow second at Chepstow. He was also a narrow second on his final run last year in the Bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown. He improved throughout last season and can go well but if this was a handicap, he would be receiving almost twenty pound from Cyrname and that highlights the tough task he faces.

Top Ville Ben has run well several times here but has only had a pulled-up attempt in France to show for the last eighteen months he may need the ground to become heavy to have any chance. Mighty Thunder normally needs his first run, and this trip is a long way short of his best so he is passed over today although his stable is in red hot form.

Cyrname is the best horse on show here and is the most likely winner but with a short price and two poor performances to close last season I would rather look elsewhere. Shan Blue is an improving second season chaser, but Fusil Raffles could have a big say here but only if he stays which is a big question mark. I am going to go for Clondaw Castle who has more to give at this trip. Trainer Tom George won this in 2010 with a very similar type in Nacarat.


written by Steve Marriott


15:20 Ascot

Vinndication produced a career best when finishing second behind Cyrname in last season's Charlie Hall chase although things went rather awry thereafter. Still in contention having been sent off joint favourite for the Hennessy, he made one uncharacteristic mistake too many and finally unseated David Bass at the seventeenth obstacle. There is a theory that Kim Bailey's eight-year-old is better going right-handed and though his form doesn't necessarily back that up, there could be something within that. Unbeaten here and an impressive winner of this race off a seven pounds lower mark two years ago, he would have every chance of getting back on track today and he does look the one to beat.

Regal Encore loves Ascot and won this race off a four pounds lower mark last season. Recommending thirteen-year-olds wouldn't be my idea of fun although his yard have been amongst the winners and he looks a fairly decent price for the each way players given he likely has been aimed at the race.

Jerrysback doesn't win as often as a horse of his quality ought to and he badly misfired on his final two starts last season. Philip Hobbs has started this season well and there is surely more to come from his charge, on that, respect is handed down although his price hardly screams at cracking value.

Mister Malarky has become impossible to predict though he won over course and distance last season, he is beginning to creep back down the weights again and though he is thoroughly untrustworthy, he would have claims if on a going day.

Johnbb has won off breaks before and his most recent effort, when second at Aintree looked solid. He could be the potential dark horse here although his hold up style is off-putting, as his fall at Wetherby term.

Sojourn looks a very strong stayer and he has had the wind op during the off season, he could play a part if ready to roll although like many, he requires a misfire from Vinndication and it is the last mentioned who is taken to stamp his class all over this field.


written by Chris Connolly


15:40 Wetherby

Mackenberg has an excellent record first time up, having won on reappearance in 2019 and 2020. He finished last season with a convincing victory in a three-runner affair at Kempton in April and although both hurdles victories have come on good ground he does have a soft /heavy ground win in a bumper so looks a worthy favourite especially with his stable in such good form.

Rattle Owl has won two from three in novice hurdles and should have a solid chance now handicapping off his current mark, however with the going already good-to-soft and more rain forecast pre-race it has to be taken on trust that he will handle the expected slower ground conditions.

An each way alternative to both the above, Haafapiece has form figures of 324 here at Wetherby and has been dropped 3lbs since last seen. His trainer Pam Sly has made the frame with twelve from seventeen in the last three years over hurdles at the course and Jack Andrews returns in the saddle for the first time since they partnered for victory at Fakenham in 2020.


written by Dean Kilbryde


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