There are further showers forecast for Ascot in the run up to Champions Day tomorrow and 17 were declared for the opening Champions Sprint including three previous winners The Tin Man (2016), Librisa Breeze (2017) and Sands Of Mali (2018). The Group 1 winning three-year-olds Advertise and Hello Youmzain are the 9/2 joint favourites at BetVictor.
The flat turf cards at Haydock and Redcar have fell foul to the elements but there are a couple of decent jumps cards this afternoon beginning at Uttoxeter. There is a competitive novices handicap chase and Westend Story (3.15) gets the vote returning from a 315-day lay-off following a good run in a very good novice chase at Exeter – his first start over fences.
The Philip Hobbs-trained 8-year-old certainly has the scope to make his mark over the larger obstacles and he can give weight to his eight rivals. The winning novice hurdlers Golden Whisky and Carrick Roads are worth noting in the market and both have hinted that they could leave their hurdles form behind over the larger obstacles.
I hope it is a good day for the Hobbs/Richard Johnson team as Mcnamaras Band (3.50) could be attractively weighted on his handicap debut in the valuable handicap hurdle over a trip just shy of three miles. The selection has won half of his four careers starts and may well have made it three only to slip up when going strongly on his hurdles debut at Chepstow. The selection has yet to prove his stamina but gives the impression that he may improve for the step up to three miles for the first time.
Brigadier Bob jumped out to his left when scoring at Huntingdon last time from a 5lbs lower mark although he may have been a shade fortunate as Alexander The Grey ran out two out when still holding a three-length lead. Moores Novelty (4.55) was backed as if defeat was out of the question here earlier in the month but looked held in second when coming down four out. The Stable amateur jockey Tristan Durrell takes over in the saddle this afternoon.
There is a cracking 3m handicap chase at Fakenham and Touch Kick and Treackle Tart must go close with the latter running out an impressive winner at Warwick on her seasonal reappearance. The vote, however, goes to Cesar Et Rosalie (4.05) who had not been asked a serious question when coming down three out when last seen in June. Sam Twiston-Davies takes over in the saddle for the inform Neil Mulholland yard.
In the BetVictor sponsored Maiden which concludes the card at Dundalk this evening Aidan O’Brien’s Yale (8.45) is first reserve for the race but, if he gets a run, I am convinced that he is much better than he showed on debut when finishing mid-division when made a short-priced favourite for a Curragh maiden. As a son of Scat Daddy this evening’s all-weather surface should suit.
There is a terrific &f Fillies’ Nursery at Newcastle this evening and I like the chances of African Swift dropping back in trip from a mile, but I hope she helps set the race up for Onassis (6.35) who ran another good race at Newmarket last time for Charlie Fellowes. The each way selection ran a terrific race on polytrack on her penultimate start and there seems no reason why she shouldn’t be at least as effective on tapeta.