Former Talksport presenter Charlie McCann marks your card at Wetherby (inc. the Charlie Hall), Ascot, Newmarket and Carlisle (Sunday).
The Bet 365 Charlie Hall Chase is Saturday’s feature event on a very good card from Wetherby and The Tother One (3.25), who has such a good record fresh, is taken to give Paul Nicholls and Ruby Walsh another big race winner.
The selection receives weight from many of the principles and although he hasn’t won for a couple of years, he ran his best race first time out last year when runner up in a competitive handicap at Wincanton; he will never have a better opportunity of landing a decent prize. Barbers Shop who has been well supported earlier in the week to give Her Majesty The Queen a welcome winner finished fourth in the Hennessy first time out last year, but failed to build on that effort and was subsequently disappointing. He barely gets today’s trip but on this flat track he shouldn’t have any concerns on that score and is a big danger.
Deep Purple won the corresponding race last year and Evan Williams is sure to have his stable star primed for a big run, but it looked a moderate renewal last year and I would be surprised if he or the evergreen dual former winner Ollie Magern were good enough.
Charlie Hall Chase 15:25: prices from StanJames.com (1/4 the first 3)
3 The Tother One
7/2 Barbers Shop
4 Deep Purple
8 Calgary Bay
8 Knockara Beau
10 Ollie Magern
50 That’s Rhythm
Tidal Bay (2.50) has been taken out of the Charlie Hall and runs in the big Hurdle race on the card and he is taken to maintain the stable’s recent excellent level of form. He has been called his share of rude names in the past but when he is good he is very good as he was at Cheltenham in the Cleeve Hurdle back in January. He must give 8lbs to Duc De Regniere which will be no easy task and last year’s winner Fair Along is a terrific front-runner at best. It looks another cracking contest.
Regular readers will know that I hold Karasenir (4.00) in the highest regard and I still have nightmares about his Chepstow defeat on his penultimate start. Losses were recouped at Kempton and I expect him to make it three out of four over timber today.
At Ascot, Ballybach (1.50) is burdened with top weight in the opening handicap but he has threatened on more than one occasion to make into a decent horse and despite the imposition of 11st 10lbs he looks sure to run well.
Dover’s Hill is a horse I have plenty of time for but he is one of three confirmed front-runners in the 3m handicap chase and they could easily cut each others throats; best to wait for Irish raider Sizing Africa (4.50) who ran such a promising race returning from a 12-month lay off at Gowran Park at the beginning of the month.
Back on the flat and Newmarket’s Zetland Stakes has been won by some decent sorts in the past including Twice Over who landed the odds in 2007 and the same connections’ are represented by Picture Editor (3.45 Newmarket) who is currently a 10/1 shot with StanJames.com for the 2011 Derby. A winner of both starts he may lack the brilliance of his stablemate Frankel but he would be the one of the pair that interests me more for the 2011 Derby at this stage.
Timepiece (make sure you put your clocks back tonight) looked an unlucky loser (or so my pocket told me) in a Listed race for fillies and mares over today’s course & distance and she is taken to go one better against a trio of Godolphin runners and the Lincoln winner Penitent in the Seymour Stakes. A winner at Royal Ascot in mid-summer Twice Over has been on the go since the spring but she was off the track for four months before this month’s effort and is entitled to improve for the run. Significant rain would be a big plus for Penitent.
Weird Al is likely to be all the rage for Sunday’s intermediate Chase at Carlisle but he may find 2m 4f on the sharp side especially as next month’s Hennessy Gold Cup is his prime early-season objective and Cape Tribulation (2.40) gets weight from his rivals and his lack of experience may not be too much of a concern in a five-runner field.