WE HAVE A DREAM A PLUM RIDE TO PICK UP IN CORAL HURDLE
Ascot and Navan are my two ports of call this weekend, but I like everyone else will also have one eye on the Betfair Chase at Haydock which looks to be a great race in prospect.
He was a very good juvenile hurdler throughout last season and I thought he ran well on his comeback at Wincanton. On ratings, he looks the one to beat, but unfortunately it isn’t always that simple as If The Cap Fits finished in front of him at Wincanton on the same terms that he meets him off here.
He will probably need to improve from what he did there to reverse that form, but hopefully he can do that. He’s a great ride to get, I’ve ridden plenty of good winners for Simon and Isaac over the years and it’s great to be back on a good one for them.
I won a similar type of handicap chase on him at Cheltenham last time, but he had to work hard to win and this looks like it might be an even more competitive handicap.
Duke Of Navan, who was a head second to me at Cheltenham, re-opposes on revised terms and is an obvious danger. He looks to have a very solid chance, but he needs to step up his game again if he is to defy his rise.
I haven’t sat on him before and haven’t talked to Jonjo about him yet but looking at his form he is a consistent horse that should have no problem with the trip or ground. He has plenty of chasing experience too which is always a help in these novices’ handicaps.
She is another one that I haven’t sat on before, but she was acquitting herself very well in competitive mares’ handicap hurdles at the backend of last season. If she can produce that sort of form on what is her first run of the season, she must have a solid chance.
SQUOUATEUR HAS THE TALENT TO LAND A TOP HANDICAP
I’m heading over to Navan on Sunday for what must be a very rare thing, a Troytown chase card run on good ground! It has been a strange year for weather and hopefully the ground softens sooner rather than later.
I don’t think there’s any doubt that he has the ability to win one of these big handicap chases, but his jumping has generally caught him out. He can jump well, but he just has a persistent tendency to take one up by the roots.
His jumping has cost him a few times, including at the last two Cheltenham Festivals. If he gets it together, he absolutely has a chance, but he just needs to hold his jumping together. I’ve won a couple of times on him and hopefully we have a good spin around together.
He gave us all a great day when he won the Galway Hurdle in 2017, but he has struggled to rediscover that sort of form since. He steps up in trip here on what is his return from a break and hopefully that will be a help to him.
When he won the Galway Hurdle, he needed everything to go right and every yard of the trip to get the job done over two miles, so I’d say going further could be a help to him.
He has to carry a lot of weight, but I suppose he has earned it. Hopefully he’ll show some signs of a rejuvenation.
BITE THE ONE TO BEAT IN THE BETFAIR
The big race of the weekend is the Grade 1 Betfair Chase and I’ll be watching it with interest.
The Cheltenham Gold Cup was a brilliant race last March and it’ll be really interesting to see the rematch between the front two on this less testing ground.You’d think the better ground will be more in Might Bite’s favour and physically he looks like one that could well improve again with time.
In my opinion, Might Bite is the one we all have to beat in the staying chase division this season and I’d be expecting him to make a winning start to his campaign here.