It was a blank day for me on Friday, so it was nice to have another day at home with the family having schooled a few at Henry Daly’s in the morning.
After last weekend’s wipeout with the weather, it’s great to have such a terrific weekend of racing to look forward to with cracking cards at both Ascot and Newbury.
The BHA often get a fair bit of stick so it’s important to congratulate them and the racecourses for moving so fast to get these meetings rescheduled. It cannot be easy with a pandemic to navigate around, so they have done so well to have got Warwick on last Monday and Newbury’s big card rescheduled for Sunday – credit where credit is due.
Looking ahead to a busy weekend and Cyrname should take all the beating in the feature Ascot Chase. He is very talented on his day and may take plenty of catching. Luckily I’m not in against him but here are my thoughts on my five rides…
KALOOKI – 1.50pm
He disappointed a bit at Christmas when a few of Philip’s [Hobbs] were running a bit below par. He’d previously shown some decent form around Newbury and isn’t far off the best of these on ratings in a competitive looking race. Hopefully he can go well.
JERRYSBACK – 2.25pm
We were delighted with the way he ran after a lengthy absence here last time and that will hopefully put him spot on for this. He is in grand form at home and the step up to three miles is also in his favour too so he must have a leading chance. I’d say he is my best ride of the weekend and I’m really looking forward to getting back on him.
I should also mention stablemate Musical Slave who never got into a rhythm at Doncaster last month. If he can jump better he wouldn’t be without a chance.
PILEON – 3.00pm
Things just haven’t gone to plan for him over fences and he now switches back to hurdles. This looks a really competitive contest but he would have a chance if returning to the form he was in last year when just touched off at Cheltenham. He handles bad ground and stays, so on that basis he should go well.
SAINT DALINA – 4.10pm
I rode her when she won at Ffos Las last March and she has held her form really well since then. Charlie’s [Longsdon] horses continue to run well and she is just the type you want to ride in a race like this. She stays, is tough and in good form, while the application of cheekpieces may sharpen her up.
CODE NAME LISE – 4.45pm
She made a promising start to her career when second at Warwick last month and is entitled to come on from that. The ground was hard work that day so the fact she handles conditions will stand her in good stead.
A great card to look forward to and I’ve no ride in either the Denman Chase (2.25pm) or the Game Spirit (3.00pm). Clan Des Obeaux has had some hard races this campaign and I’ll be fascinated to see how Lostintranslation gets on against him after his wind operation.
As for the Game Spirit, I’d be surprised if Champ could beat Greaneteen over two miles - it promises to be a great race to watch, though.
Here are my thoughts on three nice rides…
POL CROCAN – 1.15pm
He seems to be improving with every run and managed to get his head in front at Wincanton before Christmas. He has to shoulder a penalty here which makes life tougher and it will be hard against the likes of Good Ball.
EVERGLOW – 1.50pm
The experience of running in the Lanzarote Hurdle at Kempton last time should help him here, as will the step up in trip. He stayed on really well at Kempton from an unpromising position so hopefully he can be competitive.
ANNUAL INVICTUS – 3.35pm
As a novice he has the ideal profile for a race like this and gave me a good spin at Ascot back in October. Obviously this requires a lot more, but he is another who stays well and won’t mind any more rain.