It’s all eyes on Altior this weekend as teh chaser of a generation steps up in trip in the Christy 1965 Chase, where Cyrname should prove a stern test for Nicky’s stable star. At Haydock Bristol De Mai is bidding for a third Betfair Chase but may have to settle for the runner-up position behind Lostintranslation who looks like a “proper” chaser.
Podcast Handicap Hurdle
Irish Roe has been a great servant for the Peter Atkinson yard winning eight ties and multiple placed efforts in blacktype company. She was last seen winning at Aintree last season which resulted in a five-pound hike in the weights. That being said she looked like the winner off higher when a last hurdle faller in the Greatwood last season.
Whoshotthesheriff showed smart form for Gordon Eliott and won his first two starts for Philip Kirby before holding every chance at Cheltenham only to fall two out. The five-year-old can only progress from here and is worth following.
Donald McCain’s string has been in great form of late and runs Fin And Game here who went winless last season but is down to a reasonable mark following a poor run at Aintree. He’s had a wind-op in the offseason and could feature here.
Selection: Fin And Game
Stayers’ Handicap Hurdle
I’m a huge Lisnagar Oscar fan but his Stratford run was very disappointing and a line needs to be put through it. He was a Grade 2 winner last season and then finished third in the Sefton at Aintree. He looked like the type to do well over fences but it’s not surprising to see him back over hurdles and he must enter calculations.
Irish point-to-point graduate Umbrigado won his first three starts under rules before finishing less than ten lengths behind Reserve Tank in a Grade 1 at Aintree. We haven’t seen David Pipe’s charge since but off a mark of 142, he should be competitive.
Highland Hunter finished nearly twenty lengths behind Lisnagra Oscar when last in action in February and although he could improve on his first start for Paul Nicholls I find it hard to see him reversing the form against a race-fit rival.
It’s always worth taking note when W P Mullins send one across teh Irish Sea and Eight And Bob is an interesting contender with Robbie “Puppy” Power in the plate. He’s won five times for current connections but I think he may struggle now up to a mark in the 130s.
Acey Milan and Tedham are others to note in this wide-open looking contest.
Selection: Lisnagar Oscar
I have been saying since he won the race impressively last year that I was backing Bristol De Mai to win this but now that I came to look at the race I think I’m going to jump ship. Nigel Twston-Davies grey is seeking a hat-trick of victories in the race and arguably put up a career-best to finish third in the Gold Cup at Cheltenham, a course he’s never won at.
The horse I’ve deserted Bristol De Mai for is Lostintranslation who I’ve got a bit of a love affair with. Colin Tizzards imposing gelding was built for fences and will only be getting better with age. He came out the wrong side of a few battles with Defi Du Seuil last season but got his due reward at Aintree. He jumped impeccably at Carlisle on seasonal debut and I think he can go right to the top.
Frodon enjoyed a fruitful campaign last season winning the Caspian Caviar, Cotswold Chase and finally the Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham festival. He was disappointing in the Old Roan Chase at Aintree but I’m sure Paul Nicholls will have him in great shape now.
Stayers’ Handicap Chase
Late Romantic jumped well throughout when winning on his first start since a wind-op earlier in the month. An eight-pound rise seems fair and looks the one to beat.
Robert Walford’s Moving In Style is just for-pounds higher than his last winning mark and should improve from his seasonal debut. The extra step up in trip could suit the son of Mountain High and is worth considering.
Gold Opera has gone nearly two years without winning and is still nine-ponds higher in the weights. At the age of 10, he will struggle to fend off his rivals with younger legs.
Selection: Moving In Style
Christy 1965 Chase
Paul Nicholls has won five of the last nine runnings of this early season Grade 2 chase with the likes of dual winners Al Ferof and Master Minded. The master of Ditcheat is represented by Cyrname who was a Grade 1 course and distance winner when last seen in February. The manner of which he beat the smart Waiting Patiently was impressive and he should prove a stern test for Altior.
This race is mostly focused around Altior who steps up in trip since winning a novice event over 2M 2F at Kempton three years ago. The four-time Cheltenham winner hasn’t been beaten in 19 starts over jumps and it’ll be fascinating to see how he fares over further.
The field is made up by Solomon Grey who will need to find a vast improvement to trouble the principals.
The lightly-raced Call Me Lord is likely to start favourite here on the back of his placed effort in the Imperial Hurdle back in March. Prior to that he had run away with the Grade 2 Select Hurdle and had come up short in the Long Walk behind Paisley Park However that was a quality Grade 1 and with time on his side he should go close.
I have always like Harry Fry’s If The Cap Fits and even though last season’s winner disappointed in the Christmas Hurdle, he redeemed himself in the Grade 1 Stayers’ Hurdle at Aintree, which makes him the winner in my eyes.
ANother with claims here is Roksana who’s hot fitness on her side having finished just a neck behind Top Notch two weeks ago. The Skelton yard couldn’t be in much better form and although she was a Grade 1 winner at Cheltenham last season that was against her own sex and against the boys here she may struggle.
Selection: If The Cap Fits
Gerard Bertrand Chase
Diego Du Charmil showed the benefit of a wind-op when winning nicely if waywardly at Ascot earlier in the month. The former Grade 1 winner got six-pounds for that victory which means he carries plenty of weight now which may be enough to stop him.
Alan King had a big Saturday winner last weekend and holds strong claims of another here with Ballywood who was an early casualty in the Ascot race behind Diego Du Charmil. He won off seven-pounds lower last season and with a summer’s grass behind him he could win off this sort of mark.
The Last Day has yet to finish out of the first two when standing up over fences and has won his last two starts in fine style. Evan Williams charge got an eleven-pound hike for the latest of theses victories could be up to it.
Capeland was the subject of much debate when being disqualified after going through the wing at Ascot. On the book, he should turn the tables with his stablemate and would be a deserved winner.