Former Talksport man Charlie McCann marks your card with seven to follow on Saturday at Ascot, Cheltenham and Kelso. View selections below
Champions’ Day at Ascot and the feature could go back across the English Channel as French raider Cirrus Des Aigles will love the forecast soft ground and more rain is forecast; winner of the corresponding event in 2011 he was beaten 2l by the mighty Frankel twelve months ago although the latter was not at his majestic best on that occasion with the ground softer than ideal.
At 5/4 at BetVictor he is without doubt the most likely winner but I am going to take a chance on Godolphin’s Farhh (4.05) who has been off the track since landing the Lockinge on fast ground over a mile back in the spring. One could argue he has yet to prove he truly stays 10f but at 4/1 he looks an each way bet to nothing given he goes very well fresh. At bigger prices I like the look of another French raider Morandi although he might have to settle for a place once again having finished behind Arc third Intello in the French Derby earlier in the season.
The Oaks form has taken more than its fair share of knocks but Talent (2.55) bounced back to form in the St Leger last time and I hope Jim Crowley makes plenty of use of the filly dropping back in trip. The lack of pace in the race is a concern, and if the race became tactical she would be vulnerable as she looks a thorough stayer in the making. Conditions should make it a thorough test, however, and she gets the nod.
The Queen’s Estimate (1.45) is three from three at Ascot and will be hard to beat in the opening stayers’ event; not seen out since her famous win in the Ascot Gold Cup back in June she ought to revel in the underfoot conditions and at 2/1 at BetVictor will be hard to beat.
There is a wonderful card at Cheltenham but no Channel 4 cameras which is disappointing; Martin Keighley aims his recent Chepstow winner Creepy (2.00) at the opening novices’ hurdle and gets the vote despite a slight concern that this extended 3m will test his stamina. The Keighley stable were out of sorts for much of last season but they are flying at present and Creepy should be followed until beaten. Another local horse Oscar Magic has a bit to find with the selection on official figures but is another to keep an eye out for this jumps campaign.
Charlie Longsdon’s string are in tremendous form and his Vulcanite will be very well backed in the handicap chase but preference is for Tartak (2.35) each way at what is likely to be a double-figure price. Easter Meteor was only narrowly beaten in the corresponding race 12-months ago but is a stone higher in the weights; that said the Emma Lavelle yard is in cracking form and he looks the type who will win a big race this year.
Court In Session has dropped to a very attractive mark and I was at Chepstow last weekend when the horse “won” a charity race over 1m 7f suggesting he was coming to hand. He is absolutely thrown in on his best form and, while it is possible that he will just throw his toys out of the pram when faced with hurdles, he must be worth an each way investment at what will be a juicy price.
The Novice chase over the minimum trip is excellent with Sizing Italy (5.00) just getting the nod over Balder Success; the latter broke the track record at Chepstow last weekend but that looked a tough race for the 5-y-old and he gives the Irish raider 3lbs.
Local trainer Simon Shirley-Beaven saddles Rapidolyte De Ladalka (3.20) at Kelso and the selection can make up into a decent staying chaser when the mud is flying this winter. It is possible that this run will blow away the cobwebs and that the track is too tight for this out-and-out galloper but I am convinced there is a decent race in him and there is plenty of rain forecast on Friday evening.