Former Talksport presenter Charlie McCann marks your card for Saturday’s racing at Ascot, Lingfield and Navan with six horses to follow.
Ascot remain hopeful of staging their card this afternoon and let’s pray the Berkshire track beat the cold snap as there are a number of stars due to line up including Big Buck’s who is going for a 10th successive win in the Long Walk Hurdle. He cannot be opposed given if this were a handicap he would be giving 20lbs and more to the opposition. Ascot was abandoned last year and the race run at Newbury over Xmas and those looking for a shock could point to the fact that Big Buck’s has yet to race right-handed in Britain although there is no suggestion that he will be less effective going clockwise.
Nicky Henderson has saddled the last two winners of the Ladbroke Hurdle (not run in 2009) and he is double handed with the progressive unbeaten Aegean Dawn and Supreme Novices’ Hurdle 4th Oscar Whisky who both feature prominently in the betting. Taking the jockey’s claim into consideration Mille Chief is 12lbs better off with Aegean Dawn for the 4 lengths he was beaten over today’s C&D last month and there may not be a great deal between them on the revised terms. My immediate post race reaction, however, was that winning jockey David Bass had a bit more up his sleeve and he is taken to confirm the form.
Aegean Dawn (2.35) could be absolutely anything and many consider him a future Gold Cup winner. He looks worth following until he meets with defeat but in a wonderful race I have saved on novice Karasenir ew at 25/1. His two wins have been on good ground racing right-handed and as long as the ground doesn’t deteriorate too much he can run into a place.
Despite victory in the Long Walk Hurdle here back in 2008 Punchestowns is better at trips shorter than 3m and he is likely to go off a very short price to make a winning reappearance in the Graduation Chase but Pride Of Dulcote (1.30) was a favourite of mine over timber and made a very impressive debut over fences when last seen on the track last October. He has a 400-day absence to overcome, but is subject to optimistic noises from champion trainer Paul Nicholls and could cause a shock to the Henderson runner.
Lingfield inspect at 6.30 on Saturday morning but are optimistic of holding their eight-race all-weather card and Western Aristocrat (12.20) can maintain his unbeaten record having won well at Newmarket on debut. Clock watchers will tell you the time was very ordinary but he seemed to win with any amount in hand and could be a class above today’s rivals including the filly Ninita who also has a 100% record having scored at 50/1 at Wolverhampton on debut.
The Wonga Coup (12.50) is a great name for a horse and he must have every chance of losing his maiden tag in the 12f handicap in a race that won’t take much winning. He looked the winner for much of the race over a quarter of a mile shorter here last time and the step back up in trip should suit. Apprentice Jemma Marshall keeps the ride and he has run his best races for an inexperienced jockey.
Suits Me ought to have the run of the race from the front in the Listed Quebec Stakes but it is a long time since he got his head in front and he can help set the race up for Fanditha (1.55) who is returning from a couple of months off the track. The filly ran a career best at Newbury on her penultimate start when trained by Luca Cumani. She ran well on her sole start on polytrack and is a sporting selection.
Navan are due to stage the Grade 1 Navan Novice Hurdle and Hidden Cyclone (1.15) can make it four from four for trainer John Joseph O’Hanlon. The selection’s hurdling still has room for improvement but he has an engine and can take this step up in class in his stride.
The racing world have got right behind 15-time Champion jockey in his quest to be crowned Sports Personality of the Year tomorrow night but what do you think?
BBC Sports Personality Of The Year 2010 ~ Outright Prices from StanJames.com
10-11 McCoy, AP
7-2 McDowell, Graeme
8 Swann, Graeme
11 Taylor, Phil
12 Williams, Amy
14 Westwood, Lee
20 Ennis, Jessica
33 Daley, Tom
50 Cavendish, Mark
80 Haye, David
For all your sporting odds this weekend check out StanJames.com or ring 0800211222
Be lucky and stay warm