Former Talksport man Charlie McCann marks your card with six to follow on Saturday at Haydock and Kempton. View selections below
A wonderful jumps card from Haydock Park this afternoon and the hope is that the Clerk of the Course doesn’t overwater as they did at Cheltenham midweek. Yes we want good safe jumping ground but I’m not convinced altering the state of the going is fair on trainers, owners or punters.
One horse who will bounce off the forecast good ground today is Bold Chief for Harry Fry but marginal preference goes to the grey Our Mick (2.05) who showed he was coming back to his best at Aintree last time from a 3lb higher mark. The handicapper is certainly giving him a chance and it was only 13 months ago that he finished runner up at the Cheltenham Festival off an 11lb higher mark. Richard Johnson takes over in the saddle and he has ridden the Donald McCain-trained 8-y-old once before when second in a Sandown Novice Hurdle back in 2011.
Bincombe is only 7lb higher than when scoring over 2m 4f here last month and the step up in trip to 2m 6f will not harm in the valuable Grassroots Series Final but I think Forest Walker (3.15) is of interest coming back from a 10-week break for Dan Skelton whose string have returned to form of late.
The selection showed some useful form in Hunter Chases last season and made a winning start for his new stable at Uttoxeter back in November. He was last seen at Ludlow back in February when he pulled up behind the progressive Buywise, but the yard were badly out of form at the time and he can reward each way support in another competitive handicap.
I’m going to take a chance on Blenheim Brook (3.50) in the marathon 3m 4f Tim Maloney Handicap Chase for Lucinda Russell; the selection hasn’t been at his best so far this season but showed much more over 3m here last time behind Bennys Well who re-opposes on 9lb worse terms.
Back on the level and there was a smell of burnt fingers when Escalating (1.45) was beaten in the Brocklesby last month and he had obviously been showing a bit at home for Pat Eddery. He is likely to have learnt plenty from that initial experience and may find this polytrack surface more to his liking than Doncaster’s soft ground.
Godolphin’s Zibelina (2.55) makes her all-weather debut in the listed Snowdrop Stakes but with the Charlie Appleby yard in such good form she is taken to gain her fourth win from five starts. She escapes a penalty for winning a Group 3 at Deauville last August, has a good draw in stall 4 and this looks an ideal starting point for what could be a profitable campaign.
Championship (4.35) has 16lbs to find on official figures with God Willing but the selection was always considered top class as a juvenile by the Richard Hannon stable and he is given a chance to prove that he is no Morning Glory. There is a slight doubt about him getting this mile but if he is ever going to get home it will be at Kempton and he gets the vote in an informative Conditions event.