A busy weekend for ITV racing who are covering the Breeders Cup races from Keeneland this evening as well as afternoon jumps action from Exeter and Down Royal.
It is expected to be dry and sunny at Exeter this afternoon and it must be a short price for the obstacles on the far side to be omitted due to the low sun. Let’s hope that is not the case.
Eleven go to post for the 3m handicap chase and it is an absolute belter. I am expecting a big run from Gats And Co from the front after having a pipe-opener at Chepstow when he appeared to blow up going to two out.
Minella Buster heads the market on the back of his win at Kempton on chase debut when his fencing improved as the race went on, but it was a poor race and took little winning after the favourite departed. He is 9lbs higher in the weights this afternoon and will need to improve again to defy the rise.
Killer Kane would have been the selection, but I just wonder if he has the stamina reserves for this stiff extended three miles. Sizing Sam has the size and scope to jump a fence, but he has been a disappointment over the larger obstacles so far.
ST ERNEY won the corresponding race 12 months ago on good to soft ground and this is likely to have been the 11-y-old’s target for some time. The veteran is 5lbs higher in the weights today but is lightly-raced for one of his years and he gets the each way vote.
I’m not convinced the Haldon Gold Cup market leader Third Time Lucki will appreciate this near two-and-a-quarter mile trip although he has an outstanding record fresh and will love the forecast good ground.
Greaneteen won this corresponding race two years ago from a 17lbs lower mark but was beaten more than 20L in the contest 12 months ago from today’s mark. A dual Grade 1 winner last term he is a top-class chaser, but I think he will struggle to give 18lbs to WAR LORD.
The selection finished just in front of Third Time Lucki at Sandown last season although the Skelton runner went off too hard from the front and will be ridden with more restraint this afternoon. That said I do feel this intermediate trip will suit the Tizzard runner more than the market leader and he is taken to confirm the form on 4lb better terms.
Recommendation: War Lord at 9/4 with William Hill/Corals
Soft ground at Fontwell and a cracking card with Venetia Williams saddling DESQUE DE L’ISLE in the handicap chase over 2m 2f. The selection has won first time for the last couple of seasons, and he is only 4lbs higher than when winning at Ffos Las this time last year.
He does tend to jump out to his left which is a slight concern on this figure of eight track over fences, but he looks well treated and gets the vote ahead of Ecu De La Noverie who is thrown in on his best form having been dropped 18lbs in the weights since this time last year.
Recommendation: Desque De L’Isle at 7/2 with William Hill
It is a massive day for Gordon Elliot at Down Royal and the ITV cameras are on hand to catch the hurdles debut of American Mike, the chase debut of Mighty Potter and the clash between stablemates Fil Dor and Pied Piper in theGrade 2 Hurdle. I am a massive Pied Piper fan, but he is odds on at 4/6 to follow up his recent Cheltenham success.
The Platinum Queen has been a credit to connections having finished runner up at York and Doncaster before landing the Abbeye in Paris on Longchamp when she took advantage of the weight-for-age concession for juvenile fillies in a sub-standard renewal. This is, arguably, her biggest test yet, however, given she has the worst of the draw to overcome from stall twelve and it will be her eighth run of the season.
LOVE REIGNS was a beaten favourite at Royal Ascot for Wesley Ward but that 3L fourth in the Queen Mary behind Dramatised – reopposes tonight – has come either side of two facile wins on home soil including over C&D on firm ground back in the spring.
There seems no reason this evening’s good ground should be a concern and she is well drawn in stall two for one who likes to go forward. Note Ward has saddled the winner of the corresponding race for the last three years.
Mischief Magic carried my cash in the Middle Park last time but disappointed and I’m not convinced this drop back in distance will suit Charlie Appleby’s juvenile. A bigger danger is likely to come from Dramatised who failed to stay 6f at York in the Lowther but had looked very smart at Royal Ascot. She is well draw in stall four, Ryan Moore takes the ride, and she looks a big danger if she can get out on terms.
Recommendation: Love Reigns EW at 4/1 with William Hill 4 places
SILVER KNOTT failed to cope with soft ground at Doncasterbut has won a couple of Group 3s on fast ground, has a terrific draw in stall four and could be a class apart from his American rivals. Charlie Appleby has saddled three winners of this race previously from only four runners and he gets a confident vote to enhance his excellent record in the Juvenile Turf.
Recommendation: Silver Knott at 11/8 with Bet365