The ground is described as soft at Haydock for Saturday’s 3m 2f Grade 1 Betfair Chase which sees Bristol de Mai lock horns with Lostintranslation. The former (6/4 at BetVictor) is unbeaten in four previous runs at Haydock and it is very much a home game for the Nigel Twiston-Davies grey.
Colin Tizzard’s Lostintranslation (2/1 at BetVictor) is running beyond 3m for the first time but it promises to be a race to savour. With the likelihood of Altior v Cyrname at Ascot at the weekend we have two mouth-watering clashes to look forward to.
At Fakenham this afternoon the ground is given as good – good to soft in places – for their six race card and in the Mares’ handicap chase I hope to see Black Tulip (1.40) build on her reappearance when third at Stratford over 2m 6f. That run was on soft ground and today’s underfoot conditions should see her in an even better light. Henry Daly’s mare normally plies her trade at distances short of 3m but she was only beaten less than a length over this trip over timber at Ayr.
Highland Bobby bumped into a couple of well treated rivals reverting to hurdles at Uttoxeter last time but the handicapper has raised him 4lbs for that effort and preference is for the juvenile Paricolor (2.10).
The selection looked held when stumbling a stride after the second last at Wincanton last time having shaped with considerable promise at Wetherby on debut. The hope is that he will enjoy these tight tuns and the hope is that jockey Fergus Gillard can make every post a winning one.
Master Vantage (3.10) has been a revelation in recent starts making all at Market Rasen and Huntingdon over two-and-a-half miles and he is taken to land the hat-trick despite the fact that he drops back to the minimum trip and is going left-handed.
The selection carries a 7lbs penalty for his latest success but goes well for his conditional rider Daniel Hiskett. Richard Phillip’s 11-year-old has never won left-handed but he has run some good races going anti-clockwise and he is in the form of his life at present.
I thought Viking Ruby (3.40) won with a bit in hand at Taunton last time when stepped up to 3m for the first time and a 7lbs rise may not stop Neil Mulholland’s mare although she would not want any significant rain.
The prospect of heavy ground at Lingfield is a concern for Yaa Salaam who ran two decent races over timber last season for David Pipe but was a tad keen in both starts. The 5-year-old has had his wind tweaked since his last run but may have to play second fiddle to Hold That Taught (1.30) who cost connections £220,000 back in the spring having won his sole point in his native Ireland. This corresponding race has been won by some decent types in recent years and this newcomer is potentially smart.
King D’argent finished best of the home challenge when fourth at Cheltenham in the Fred Winter at the Cheltenham Festival back in March and he may have just needed his comeback when fourth at Chepstow on his reappearance. Dan Skelton’s 4-y-old has been dropped a couple of pounds for that effort and he steps up to two-and-a-half miles for the first time this afternoon.
He must go close but Theo’s Charm (2.30) ran a terrific race at Plumpton last time and can race from the same mark this afternoon for Nick Gifford. With stamina guaranteed he gets the vote.
Cuban Pete comes here on a hat-trick but the vote in the 3m Novices’ Handicap Chase goes to Clondaw Anchor (3.00) who ran a very good race from the front when runner up in a deeper race at Uttoxeter on his reappearance. The selection is another stepping up in trip but he is a half-brother to a three-and-a-quarter mile winner (The Welsh Paddies) and he gets the narrow vote for dan and Harry Skelton.
I think there is more to come from Bear Force One but he is drawn in stall 10 in the mile handicap at Kempton and preference is for another progressive lightly-raced three-year-old Montatham (2.20) who is draw in stall one for William Haggas. The selection colt has only run five times – winning twice – and he has all-weather winners in his pedigree. BetVictor are offering 4 places in this competitive 14-runner handicap.
In the ultra-competitive £70,000 Handicap I hope to see Good Tidings (3.20) reverse recent C&D form with Just The Man on 1lb better terms for John Gosden and Kieran Shoemark. The each way selection got too far back last time, but finished well and I hope Shoemark can take advantage of his good draw in stall two. Note BetVictor are betting 4 places on this 14-runner handicap.