News broke yesterday that there will be a Mares’ only Chase at the Cheltenham Festival of 2021 although there will only be seven races per day so one of the current Festival races will be lost. At present no decision has been made although the Novice Handicap Chase, the National Hunt Chase for amateur riders and the Juvenile Handicap Hurdle are all, reportedly, under scrutiny.
Good to soft ground with further showers forecast at Colwick Park Nottingham this afternoon. In the opener War Of Clans is, arguably, a winner without a penalty having been first past the post at Ripon last time although he lost the race in the Stewards’ Room. He did race on the, apparently, favoured far side on that occasion, however, and the first horse home on the stands’ rail was What A Business (2.00) who, in hindsight, should have stayed far side having moved across from stall four.
The selection is actually 5lbs better off today with the “winner” because of jockey’s allowances and the hope is that he can track War Of Clans before pouncing late.
A market move for the newcomer Merryweather would be worth noting in the 1m Maiden for Ralph Beckett n the colours of Qatar racing but Cloud Drift (2.30) has shown enough in his first couple of starts to suggest he is capable of breaking his maiden tag at the third time of asking. The colt is owned and bred by Her Majesty the Queen and looked ready for a step up to a mile when runner up at Beverley last time.
Road To Paris (3.00) only won a small four-runner race at Yarmouth last time on good to firm ground, but he suggested he was well ahead of the handicapper and is taken to defy a 6lbs rise. Sir Mark Prescott’s three-year-old has yet to encounter ground slower than good, but he is bred to act on today’s ground.
Kyllang Rock (3.30) disappointed on his all-weather debut when last seen back in April but has a good record fresh and is taken to land the Conditions event over 5f. The selection finished runner up in the corresponding race two years ago behind Ornate and I would be disappointed if he didn’t go close this afternoon for James Tate.
At Ffos Las Ventura Bounty (2.45) is taken to go one better than when second to a Godolphin juvenile who went close in a decent Nursery at Newmarket from a mark of 83 on Saturday. Granted normal improvement I would be disappointed if Richard Hannon’s French bred juvenile didn’t go very close.
Royal Council (3.15) is visored for the first time in the Nursery over 5f and the hope is that it is a good day for James Tate. This will be the slowest ground encountered by the selection, but he looked to appreciate the drop back to the minimum trip when second at Sandown from a 1lb lower mark.
Beer With The Boys (3.45) carries 10st 1lbs including his talented young jockey’s claim but he gets his ground this afternoon for Mick Channon and he gets a narrow vote. The selection has been dropped 4lbs for his three runs this term and this represents a drop in grade for the four-year-old.
Cape Cavalli (4.15) is fitted with cheek-pieces for the first time this afternoon and he is taken to break his maiden tag at the fifth time of asking for Simon Crisford. The selection has run well on soft ground in the past and drops back in trip to a mile-and-a-half this afternoon.
Diocletian (4.45) has been beaten in his last couple of starts, is 5lbs higher today but I still feel he will run a big race despite the steadier of 10st this afternoon. Rob Hornby takes over in the saddle this afternoon for Andrew Balding whose four-year-old was a reserve in the Shergar Cup at Ascot on Saturday.