MILLE CHIEF (3.40) can reinforce his Champion Hurdle claims by mopping up the Bathwick Tyres Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton on Saturday. Alan King’s progressive hurdler was most impressive when defying top weight at Sandown last month and another success here will ensure a shake-up in the Cheltenham market. With Overturn in the line-up there is sure to be an honest pace but Donald McCain’s admirable sort could be a sitting duck.
THE MINACK (1.50) is my idea of the winner of the Reynoldstown Novices’ Chase at Ascot. Paul Nicholls’ rising star has won five of his seven races under Rules. He made hard work of landing the odds at Warwick last time but seemed to idle in front. Anyway, The Minack seems much better going right-handed, as successes at Wincanton, Huntingdon, Kempton and Exeter would seem to illustrate.
Stablemate PRIDE OF DULCOTE (3.00) could lower the colours of Riverside Theatre in the Betfair Ascot Chase. He took Punchestowns’ scalp after a fierce struggle at Newbury in late December, his best effort since losing out to Weapon’s Amnesty in another rousing tussle in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham.
At Haydock, COURT IN MOTION (2.10) also warms up for Cheltenham and is difficult to oppose after ploughing through the mud to score decisively at Warwick last month. Conditions will be ideal and he looks one for the future.
CARRUTHERS (3.20) is another horse very much at home on testing ground and he can bounce back to winning form in the totesport Grand National Trial under 5lb claimer Matt O’Connor.