Former Talksport man Charlie McCann marks your card with seven to follow on Saturday at Ascot, Haydock and Lingfield. View selections below
I shall be at Haydock for their Grand National Trial over 3m 4f today and Rigadin De Beauchene (2.55), not entered at Aintree, must be the selection after his win at Warwick last time. He remains at the foot of the weights, stays all day and can defy a 9lb rise for Venetia Williams whose string remain in rude health.
Teaforthree once again looks sure to run his race and deserves to win a big one; he is 16/1 for the John Smith’s Grand National Non Runner Free Bet at BetVictor and his odds will come down again if he runs well; although he copes with heavy ground I think better ground will suit and he is a must for the Aintree short-list. He is one of three I am interested in for the Big One having backed Cappa Bleu (runs Ascot) and On His Own as soon as the weights were announced.
Trustan Times (2.20) must give weight away all around and I was slightly disappointed with his finishing effort at Ascot last time but a repeat of his effort over C&D back in November should be good enough; note he has never won going right-handed and it might be that he is a better horse going anticlockwise.
There is a fine card at Ascot and Rocky Creek (2.05) jumped beautifully at Warwick last time and is taken to gain a hat-trick of wins in the Reynoldstown; the only horse to beat him over fences is Harry Topper and that one is held in very high regard by Kim Bailey. I’m not convinced he is a RSA horse but this will probably decide if trainer Paul Nichols goes to the former or the 4m NH Chase with the latter my preferred option at this stage.
Houblon Des Obeaux is a thorough stayer but never jumped with any fluency at Sandown dropped in trip; this will be a more suitable test but he has had a number of hard races this season and is readily overlooked.
Having backed Cappa Bleu (2.40) for Aintree I am hoping for a big run in the 3m Handicap Chase and feel that, despite top-weight, he will go close; trainer Evan Williams has been looking to get a run into him for a few weeks now and, although better ground will suit, he is taken to enhance his National credentials.
I’m looking forward to seeing Towcester winner Red Sherlock (5.00) back on the track in the Bumper having made a very favourable impression first time out when very well supported on debut.
I suggest we keep an eye on Coup Royale (2.30) returning from a lengthy lay off at Wincanton; he is extremely well handicapped on his chase form, has run well fresh in the past and his young conditional takes off a valuable 7lbs. Any market confidence would be worth noting and he is a very talented horse at best and first time out might be the time to catch him.