Former Talksport presenter Charlie McCann marks your card for Saturday at Ascot and Haydock Park.
Today’s Betfair Chase sees the reappearance of Gold Cup winner Imperial Commander (3.25) just touched off by Kauto Star in the corresponding race 12 months ago. The Nigel Twiston-Davies trained runner was not at his best when unseating behind What A Friend at Aintree back in the spring but is taken to reverse the placings on this more galloping track.
What A Friend is owned in partnership by Sir Alex Ferguson and we at StanJames.com have an enhanced double for United to beat Wigan at Old Trafford and for What A Friend to win at Haydock Park at 5/1. Note Stan James are betting 1/3 odds 1,2 on this event.
Tara Royal has disappointed so far this term and I thought Ockey De Neulliac (1.15) made a highly encouraging reappearance at Aintree last month. The Ferdy Murphy stable have tended to need their first run of the season and the hope is that the selection improves markedly for his comeback.
Wogan (2.20) wouldn’t want the ground too soft but improved dramatically last season and is taken to make a winning reappearance for Nicky Henderson. The 10-year-old is 7lbs higher than when winning a valuable event at Doncaster back in January but is lightly raced for one of his years and could improve again.
Nevada Royale was once considered a potential Gold Cup horse but hasn’t seen the track for over two years. He has left the yard of Paul Nicholls in the interim period but is still owned by fearless punter Harry Findlay. A check on the market is warranted.
The David Pipe team have always thought the world of Grand Crus (2.50) and a 6lb penalty is unlikely to stop him following up his impressive Cheltenham win last weekend if over those exertions. His 6l defeat of the highly-touted For Non Stop will necessitate a big hike in the weights (3rd horse a further 11 lengths back) and the step up to 3m for the first time should not inconvenience as connections consider him a 3m chaser in the making.
There is also a cracking card at Ascot where the dual Champion Chaser Master Minded (2.05) reappears 2m 4f. He’s never won beyond the minimum trip in Britain and his stamina looked an issue at Aintree when runner up behind Voy Por Ustedes at this trip a couple of years ago. He faces no easy task against multiple Grade 1 winner Albertas Run but I think his stamina will last and give Paul Nicholls another big race winner.
Nicky Henderson is looking for a hat-trick of wins in the Ascot Hurdle with Champion Hurdle third Zaynar looking for back-to-back successes in the race; in receipt of 8lbs I just favour Karabak (2.35) who is 6lb better off for the 6l he was beaten in the corresponding race last term.