Former Talksport man Charlie McCann marks your card with six to follow on Saturday at Ascot and Haydock Park. View selections below
The 3m Betfair Chase is today’s Grade 1 highlight and it is great to see former Gold Cup winner Coneygree (3.00) back on track after damaging a hock in the build up to last year’s King George. The 9-year-old is unbeaten in five starts over fences, has a great record fresh and the only slight negative would be the fact that regular pilot Nico de Boinville is injured.
Aidan Coleman, fresh from his BetVictor Gold Cup win on Taquin Du Seuil, will take the mount unless champion jockey Richard Johnson’s proposed mount Menorah misses the race on account of the ground which was reported soft (heavy in places) on Friday morning.
Cue Card is the 6/4 favourite at BetVictor but I wasn’t overly taken with the latter’s Wetherby reappearance although you write off the Colin Tizzard-trained ten-year-old at your peril. This is a step up in class for Seeyouatmidnight trained in the Scottish Borders but the ground is perfect and he was the best backed horse in our antepost market (6s from earlier in the week at BetVictor.
The Fixed Brush event is a cracker and I can pass on a good word for Westren Warrior but Caid Du Berlais (2.25) was so impressive when scoring at Aintree last time that he gets the vote despite being raised 8lbs for that fluent success. The selection is 13/2 at BetVictor and can reward each way support in a top class renewal.
Kaki De La Pree (3.35) is a horse I have a lot of time for and I always felt there was a big race in him for Tom Symonds. The selection can go well fresh, and is potentially well treated although it should be noted that the yard are not in good form of late which is a slight concern. De Vous A Moi is another horse I have followed over the last couple of seasons but he hasn’t yet shown he gets three miles and Kaki De La Pree gets the vote.
At Ascot Aurillac is a horse who has much more to offer over fences but Dueling Banjos (12.55) is unbeaten in two starts racing right-handed and can make a successful chase debut for Kim Bailey. The selection certainly has the scope to make his mark over fences and the stable have been in decent form of late.
The Ascot Hurdle is a cracker and Yanworth (2.40) is taken to make a winning return having lost his unbeaten record over timber when runner up to Yorkhill at Cheltenham in the Neptune Novices’ Hurdle back in March. The selection is Evens at BetVictor and I think he just has Zarkandar, arguably unlucky at Haydock last time, to beat.
Vaniteux would have finished, albeit a long way behind Douvan, in the Arkle had he stood up back in March and he must have every chance in the valuable two-mile handicap chase for Nicky Henderson who could do with a change of luck after the sad loss of Simonsig and retirement of the great Sprinter Sacre last weekend.
My two against the field, however, are Cold March with the Venetia Williams team in such good form and Some Buckle (3.15) with marginal preference for the latter trained by Tom George. The selection hadn’t been asked a serious question when blundering four out at Aintree and, whilst he has never won right-handed, he can make his presence felt from the foot of the weights. The selection is 5/1 at BetVictor and I will be disappointed if he didn’t make the frame.