Former Talksport man Charlie McCann marks your card with eight to follow on Saturday at Ascot, Haydock, Nottingham and Ludlow. View selections below
A decent flat card at Ascot and Penhill is interesting having his first start for Luca Cumani whose string are in blinding form; he would be worth noting if there was a market move but preference is for Forgotten Hero (2.00) who looks sure to come on for his reappearance at Epsom when he was keen following a 179 day break.
The selection can run off the same mark as when runner up at Doncaster back in September and I would be disappointed if he didn’t make the frame although the Charlie Hills’ horses could be in better form.The Victoria Cup is the big betting race of the day and it is 12/1 the field at BetVictor (five places) which tells you how open a handicap it is. My two against the field are the consistent Big Baz (16/1 at BetVictor) who deserves to win a big pot for William Muir and could appreciate the drop back in trip and Dream Spirit (12/1) with marginal preference for the latter.
The selection has only had four career starts, all over a mile, but he travels as if this drop back to 7f will not be an inconvenience especially with a strong pace, seemingly, guaranteed. The last six runners from the William Haggas stable have finished in the first three and I am sure there is more to come from Dream Spirit this term.
It is Swinton Hurdle day at Haydock Park and Philip Hobbs saddles two. Cheltenian is the mount of Richard Johnson and has been raised 7lbs for his recent Ayr success but I am more interested in stablemate War Sound (3.25) who had a nightmare passage at Aintree last time and could never get into the race. The handicapper has dropped him 43lbs as a result and I’m sure amateur jockey Ciaran Gethings will want to race more prominently this afternoon.
No Surprise to see Storm Rock (2.15) drop back in trip having looked a non-stayer at Doncaster over 10f on his reappearance. The selection has only had three starts but won a York maiden on good to soft ground back in October and is entitled to improve again.
Paul Midgley’s Another Wise Kid has not won at 6f for over four years but he ran an excellent race at Ripon over this trip on his reappearance and represents a big danger to last year’s Ayr Gold Cup winner Louis The Pious (2.50) who showed his ability to handle soft ground when third in a Group 3 at Ascot back in October.
At Nottingham I expect Spinatrix (4.10) to go very close in the listed Kilvington Fillies’ Stakes over 6f; the mare was a ready winner over 5f here last month under regular pilot Connor Beasley and connections will be desperate to get a listed win to her name for breeding purposes.
Richard Johnson rode a winner for Tim Vaughan earlier in the week and I am sweet on the chances of Kalimantan (3.15 Ludlow) tomorrow stepping up in trip to 2m 5f for the first time. The selection ran well in a Wolverhampton maiden when last seen back in February and the booking of Johnson suggests to me a big run is expected.
The Evan Williams yard could be in better form but I want to see if the market speaks in favour of Mr Moss (4.45) despite returning from a two-year layoff. The 10-y-old was a decent staying chaser in his prime with a history of going well fresh and this doesn’t look the greatest novices’ hurdle.