It’s a real shame that Doncaster once again has been cancelled due to the weather and it does pose a headache for the BHA to reschedule it but let’s look forward to the action that is going ahead on Saturday at Wincanton and Aintree. Danse Idol can start her season off with a win in handicap company, while the exciting Reserve Tank should take all the beating in the “Rising Stars” chase. Fusil Raffles is the star attraction in the Elite Hurdle. Meanwhile, at Aintree Solar Impulse and Cepage are my two big fancies.
Richard Barber Mares’ Handicap Hurdle
Danse Idol brings very strong form into the race including a runner-up finish in a Grade 2 on seasonal debut last season. A mark of 129 should be well within her reach against her own sex and will be tough to beat.
The interesting horse at the foot of the weights is Deputy’s Oscar who’s won well on both starts this season and the former point-to-point winner could have more improvement to come over this longer trip.
The eye’s drawn to Organdi who’s form this year reads “3131” but she did get a ten=pound hike for the most recent of these wins which seems harsh and she’ll need to improve again to enter calculations.
I think Chester Williams doesn’t get the recognition he deserves and did well to get Aimee De Sivola up at Warwick after hitting the last. She’d have won easier only for that mistake and should be in the frame at the very least.
Selection: Danse Idol
Rising Stars Novices’ Chase
Reserve Tank should go off a short favourite in this grade 2 contest based on his two Grade 1 victories last season. Colin’s Tizzards charge began his career over fences at Chepstow where he raced a bit freely and he can show the benefit of that run here.
If You Say Run has twice been placed in graded company over hurdles and was an easy winner on chase debut at Worcester last month. She had a win-op over the summer and is open to further progress in this discipline.
In thirteen careers starts Solomn Grey has only been out of the frame once. He won both starts over fences at the end of last season but they were small runner affairs and he’ll need to improve again against these classier rivals.
Selection: Reserve Tank
This looks like a one horserace for me with Fusil Raffles who made an immediate impression in the UK when bolting up in the Adonis. He missed Cheltenham through injury but made no mistake when winning Grade 1 at Punchestown. The sky’s the limit with him and he’ll take all the beating.
The only horse that may trouble the favourite is Grand Sancy who was a course and distance winner of Kingwell last season which obviously reads well here. That being said I’m very excited to see Fusil Raffles back in action and I think Grand Sancy will follow him home.
The field is made up by Christopher Wood, Brandon Castle, Beat The Judge and rank outsider Top Beak.
Selection: Fusil Raffles
Silver Trophy Chase
Bryony was out of luck when controversially disqualified last weekend and she’ll be looking for compensation aboard Present Man here. He took this race twelve months ago off just a four-pound higher mark and his great record when fresh, he could be hard to beat.
I really like White Moon as an individual and he was unlucky not to win on seasonal debut fro the last season’s. He came to grief on both occasions but if none the worse for his fall at Wincanton two week’s ago he must go close.
Give Me A Copper has very few miles on the clock for a nine-year-old. I think the trip and ground so suit him and off a career-low mark he must enter calculations.
Others of interest include Just A Sting, The Young Master and Walk In The Mill.
Selection: Give Me A Copper
Download The App Handicap Chase
Solar Impulse comes here in good form having finished runner-up at Kempton towards the end of last month. He’s ten-pounds higher than his last winning mark but will surely go close.
Top-weight Charmant won three of his five starts last season and might have made it four wins if not coming to grief on his final run of the season. Brian Hughes is a taking jockey booking and is an interesting runner.
Baby King is a bit of a fan favourite and Tom George’s charge was a winner when last seen in action. He runs off just one-pound higher now and if fully wound up he should gove his running again. The other horse of note in here is Theflyingportrait who’s already got his head in front already this season and shouldn’t be far away.
Selection: Solar Impulse
Aintree Handicap Chase
Venetia’s horses have yet to hit top form yet but she did have two winners earlier in the week and its early days and Cepage could get the ball rolling for her. We last saw him finishing runner-up in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup and if fully wound-up he’s got the ability to win this.
The Russian Doyen was a model of consistency last season and ran a career-best to finish fourth in the Ultima behind A Plus Tard. That being said I think he needs to improve again to win a race like this.
Ex-Irish trained Riders Onthe Storm could make a winning debut for the red-hot Nigel Twiston-Davies yard. He was third in a Grade 1 novice event last season and looks like the type to improve with age. The only worry would be that he’s never won on seasonal debut so a watching brief is advised.
Duke Street chases a four-timer for the Newland team and even though he’s eleven-pounds higher than when first successful he should run well.
Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle
The dead eight face the starter here with Skandiburg being my idea of the winner. Olly Murphy’s runner was a three-time winner last season and only just missed out on seasonal debut at Market Rasen. He was untidy at the last that day and off just a four-pound higher mark he can gain compensation.
Jacks Last Hope has already had a busy campaign and has won his last two starts in fine manner. a nine-pound higher mark looks fair but this is a better quality race.
Christian Williams does a really good job with his string and this includes Potters Corner who won the Midlands National last season. He’s have needed his recent comeback run and should again run well.