Many of us will be staying indoors over the weekend as Britain continues to be battered by high winds with rain thrown into the mix on Saturday. That’s not a choice the people working in horse racing have. Trainers, stable staff, jockeys and owners will be following their horses to racecourses in Britain and Ireland for what promises to be an enjoyable day of racing.
The best of the British racing comes from Ascot and Haydock and the ITV Racing cameras are poised to broadcast six races from those tracks combined with Wincanton’s Kingwell Hurdle thrown in for good measure.
1:50 Bateaux London Reynoldstown Novices’ Chase
Grade 2, 3m
Lucinda Russell is an excellent trainer who always has some good horses but the string currently at Arlary House Stables is particularly strong. Her partner, Peter Scudamore, is a big part of the operation, helping out with the horses and jockeys. Russell has said that Scu gets on very well with Corach Rambler who can be a bit of a tricky customer at home but comes alive at the racecourse.
Corach Rambler is being aimed at the big staying chases and has taken to fences as well as Russell hoped. The eight year old has barely put a foot wrong over fences and comes into the race after a battling performance when carrying top weight in the grade 3 Classic Handicap Chase at Warwick. Stepping up to Grade 2 company is a new challenge for Corach Rambler but racing with level weights is major plus point as he goes for the biggest win of his chasing career to date at odds of 10/3.
2:05 William Hill Rendlesham Hurdle
Grade 2, 3m½f
The ground at Haydock is often challenging but the heavy going on Friday left the course with no choice but to schedule an inspection for Saturday morning. Even if the course is passed safe for racing it will take some grim staying performances to win, especially over the longer tips like that of the Rendlesham Hurdle.
You really need a horse that has proven its ability in heavy conditions for this staying hurdle and one that has the heart for the fight. Molly Ollys Wishes could be that horse. The Dan Skelton-trained mare is an incredibly versatile horse who started the season winning over two miles on good ground at Wetherby and won over 2m7½f at Ascot on soft ground last time out. Skelton is confident that Molly Ollys Wishes will relish the challenge ahead of her on Saturday and she can get the better of Thomas Darby, Third Wind and the other serious contenders in the race at odds of 9/4.
2:25 greatbritishstallionshowcase.co.uk Swinley Chase
After finding only Cloudy Glen too good in the Ladbrokes Trophy, Fiddlerontheroof is being well supported to get back to winning ways in the Swinley Chase. Colin Tizzard’s eight year old would become the first winning favourite of this three-mile chase since Carole’s Destrier in 2015 though and in a race that can throw up the odd surprise it may be worth selecting a longer-priced option who can give backers a good run for their each way money.
Cobolobo fits the bill nicely with a price of 11/1 still available in places while even odds of 10/1 would represent value as we get closer to the off. It was a run over three miles at Ascot that saw Jonjo O’Neill’s 10 year old snap a poor run of form so a return to the same track makes a lot of sense. Fortescue is another interesting option having been rerouted from Haydock but it’s Cobolobo who gets the nod.
2:40 William Hill Grand National Trial Handicap Chase
Grade 3, 3m4½f
Now that the weights have been announced for the Grand National we’ll see a flood of contenders begin chase racing after periods racing over hurdles or not racing at all. The William Hill Grand National Trial is the big test of potential Aintree winners taking place this week and a typically competitive field has been assembled at Haydock.
Although this race has thrown up some big priced winners in recent years – Smooth Stepper won at a big price of 33/1 in 2020 – winners tend to be from higher up in the betting market. That could well be the case again this year as 5/1 shot Sam Brown ticks the right boxes. Anthony Honeyball’s 10 year old has nothing to prove on soft ground but it was good to see that he retains all of his fighting spirit when narrowly losing to Royale Pagaille on soft ground at Haydock last month. A two-pund raise for that run is not overly penal and Sam Brown can keep the strong performances coming to outstay his rivals.
3:00 Dingley’s Promise Handicap Hurdle
Class 2, 2m3½f
After a trying spell, Paul Nicholls has been happy with the way his horses have been running recently. Bravemansgame and Red Risk were winners last weekend and he is hopeful of more success in front of the ITV Racing cameras this time around. Cap Du Mathan is capable of playing an important part in that success at a generous-looking price of 7/2.
Cap Du Mathan returned from an absence of two years to win at Taunton last time out in a manner that suggests he can travel some way up the handicap ratings. Harry Cobden asked him for something extra with the race already in the bag at Taunton and the seven year old responded in impressive style. Although he won’t be seen to best effect until sent chasing, Cap Du Mathan is more than good enough over hurdles to pick up another win.
3:20 Wincanton Matchbook Betting Exchange Kingwell Hurdle
Grade 2, 1m7f
Goshen returned to winning ways at Sandown earlier in the month, putting in his best performance for nearly a year to beat Guard Your Dreams and Song For Someone among others. The timing could not have been much better for Gary Moore’s six year old as he returns to Wincanton for the defence of his Kingwell Hurdle crown.
Goshen’s tendency to jump out to his right makes it difficult to place him and the suggestion is that he will go chasing next season as there are more options over fences at right-handed racecourses. That will be a challenge but Goshen is also set to face a serious challenge on Saturday due to the presence of Adagio in the four-runner field. Tom Scudamore partnered the David Pipe-trained five year old on his first run since wind surgery last time out. It is often the case that horses are even better on their second start after having their wind sorted and that could give Adagio the edge in what promises to be an engrossing battle.
3:38 Betfair Ascot Chase
Grade 1, 2m5f
Mister Fisher is a horse who obviously has a huge amount of talent. However, his inability to put it together on the racecourse with any sort of consistency has seen many a punter follow the eight year old off a cliff. With all the usual caveats about not being sure which Mister Fisher will arrive at Ascot it could be worth lending him your support once more at odds of 9/2.
This is a quality renewal of the Betfair Ascot Chase and there is no doubt that Mister Fisher will have to be at his best to win. The way that he beat Eldorado Allen, Rouge Vif and Defi Du Seuil last time out at Kempton suggests that he is still getting better. It’s jumping that is the real concern at Grade 1 level for Mister Fisher but if he gets it right he can do his chances of seriously challenging in the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham the power of good with a big win at Ascot.