John Gosden will walk the course this morning before deciding if his brilliant three-year-old will run in the 10f Champion Stakes or the mile of the QEII at Ascot on Saturday.
The winner of the Eclipse, Juddmonte and Irish Champion Stakes already this season was cut to 11/4 (from 7/2) for the QEII yesterday with BetVictor. Punters obviously believe the prospect of soft ground will sway Gosden to the mile contest when the declarations are made this morning.
The 2m 6f Novice Handicap Chase at Uttoxeter is a minefield with a number of unexposed sorts and Her Majesty’s Forth Bridge will make them all go from the front. Another Stowaway will appreciate going left-handed and should be noted for a market move but I am a big admirer of Dashing Perk (3.25) and am looking forward to his chase debut.
The selection was a winning point-to-pointer, can go well and this intermediate 2m 6f trip should suit Dr Newland’s seven-year-old who is an each way recommendation. I believe there will be several winners come out of the race.
In the last Sounds Of Italy was backed as if defeat was out of the question when third here over timber last month having his first start for the Skeltons’. A winning pointer that was his first start since having a wind operation and he will never have a better opportunity to break his maiden tag under rules.
At Carlisle there is a valuable novices’ limited handicap chase and I am looking forward to the chase debut of Some Reign (2.10) who has not been seen out since finishing third on soft ground in a novice hurdle at Kelso back in January. He gave weight to the first two home on that occasion and the runner up (Aye Well) has certainly franked the form.
The Ayr maiden hurdle winner Return Ticket must give 6lbs and more to his 11 rivals in the first division of the Novices’ Hurdle who include Good Boy Bobby (2.45). The selection won three of his four starts in Bumpers and may be better suited by the forecast soft ground than the Ruth Jefferson-trained runner.
Good Boy Bobby is trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies who also saddles Al Dancer (3.15) who finished fourth in his first-time hood in the Aintree Bumper back in the spring. The winning pointer Windsor Avenue won both starts in Bumpers by an aggregate of 35 lengths, but I just favour Al Dancer who may have too much pace over this extended 2m 1f trip. A cracking novice hurdle.
Craggaknock (4.20) carries 11st 13lbs in the 2m 4f handicap Hurdle – minus his conditional jockey’s 5lb claim – but he has bits of hurdles form which suggest he could be well treated at present and he did run a very good race when runner up here on the level last month.
After a very disappointing weekend the Hobbs yard had a good winner at Huntingdon on Tuesday and the lightly-raced mare Pineapple Rush looks sure to have her supporters in another cracking midweek contest. A market move would be significant.
Halcyon Days (4.55) runs off the same mark as when scoring here last April and he ran a cracker on his seasonal reappearance when runner up at Ayr from a 5lbs higher mark last season. Conor O’Farrell takes over in the saddle this afternoon and Rebecca Menzies did have a flat winner earlier in the week.
At Chelmsford this evening Thaayer (8.15) looks sure to appreciate the drop back to 7f having shaped with considerable promise in debut over a mile at Lingfield earlier in the month. The filly Muneyra carries a 7lbs penalty for her win at Wolverhampton in a moderate maiden.