Top Notch Day in Store at Ascot on a Brilliant Weekend of Racing6 min read
There is top-class action at both Haydock and Ascot on Saturday afternoon and we begin our preview at the Berkshire track where I hope to see Ms Parfois (1.50) land the Grade 2 Reynoldstown Chase although the selection has only ever run right-handed once under rules at Sandown back in February.
The selection is penalised 5lbs for winning a couple of listed Mares’ only contests but if she not inconvenienced by the switch to a right-handed track I hope to see Sean Bowen’s charge take advantage of the 7lbs she receives from the Grade 1 winner Black Corton. The latter, who is likely to try to make all under Bryony Frost, is Evens favourite with Ms Parfois and the latter gets the vote.
Only seven go to post for the valuable listed Handicap Chase over three miles and Grand National hopefuls Gold Present and Vieux Lion Rouge are fascinating contenders, but I hope to see Another Venture (2.25) land his hat-trick for Kim Bailey stepping up in grade.
The selection – – gets on well with conditional Mikey Hamill and his 5lbs claim will be a help on ground that is likely to be quite holding. Holly Bush Henry is another progressive sort near the foot of the weights who catches the eye.
The feature race is the Grade 1 Ascot Chase (3.35) and the unbeaten Waiting Patiently, in at , will be looking to give Ruth Jefferson a second career winner having taken over the reins following the death of her father Malcolm. The northern raider was visually very impressive at Kempton last time although it is possible that the race fell apart.
He must go close but I just favour Top Notch, who is unbeaten in three starts at today’s track and has his ideal conditions this afternoon. This race would not look out of place at one of the major spring Festivals with Irish raider Coney Island and the evergreen Cue Card also having their chance in one of the races of the season to date.
At Haydock, Lake View Lad (2.40) ran as well as could be expected when second to the promising Testify over today’s C&D in a Grade 2 event last time. The grey’s sound jumping might be the difference and jockey Stephen McQueen can claim 3lbs today, which he was unable to do last time.
Eight go to post for the National Trial (3.15) over three-and-a-half miles and Aintree favourite Blaklion must give 13lbs and more to his seven rivals. The 10/1 National favourite is 9/4 to score this afternoon but I feel he might struggle to give 17lbs to Wild West Wind, , who gets the each way vote in a cracking race.
The selection was in the front rank and jumping well when coming down in the Welsh National last month. The selection has not had many career starts for a nine-year-old and is open to further improvement for the stable of Tom George.
Noble Robin (3.50) will make a smashing chaser next term but has won his last two novice hurdles and gets the vote on his handicap debut for Jonjo O’Neill with Noel Fehily a significant booking.
Lake View Lad
Wild West Wind
Wincanton & Gowran Park
I was impressed with Call Me Lord’s (2.45) Sandown win last month under top-weight and he gets a narrow vote in the Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton under Aidan Coleman. The selection has a bit to find with Dan Skelton’s Ch’Tibello on official figure but the Nicky Henderson-trained five-year-old might just be open to a bit more improvement.
The Red Mills Chase at Gowran Park is a fascinating race with the novice Presenting Percy receiving 7lbs from Our Duke (2.00) over a trip of two-and-a-half miles that is, arguably, on the sharp side for both. Marginal preference is for last season’s Irish National winner and I expect Robbie Power to make plenty of use of his charge who is for next month’s Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Call Me Lord
At Market Rasen on Sunday, I think Solomon Grey (3.15) might be worth a second look for Dan and Harry Skelton in the two-mile handicap hurdle. Note the yard also saddle the talented top-weight Bertimont, who is making his belated seasonal reappearance, and Whatzdjazz but it is Solomon Grey who I feel might be the best handicapped of the trio.