With plenty of potential Cheltenham, Aintree and possibly even Punchestown trials at the weekend, here is our review of the races including our eyecatchers and horses to note. Read on to find out who we think may have been laid out for a return to the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys Handicap Hurdle at Cheltenham.
Our TOP TIPS had a good week at Ascot with 4 winners from 7 races and a tidy 9.45 points profit were achieved. All 3 of our losing TOP TIPS have gone into our notebook as they should all go close when they run over more suitable distances.
Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle
Up and Go was a very easy winner of the novice hurdle making all the running and the opposition never getting close to him. This was a step up on his previous form and he could well run a big race in a race at Cheltenham, maybe the Neptune Hurdle (although he has now been taken out of this race).
Aaim To Prosper, our TOP TIP ran really well for 2nd despite being outpaced a long way from home. He now qualifies for a handicap and could be seen in the Coral Cup over 2m5f. This should really suit as he should run even better over further.
Sodexo Prestige Reynoldstown Novices’ Chase
Our TOP TIP– Rocky Creek was a good winner, despite not jumping the last great and idling as soon as the runner up came along side Rocky Creek stuck his head out again and ran on to win a shade comfortably. I’m not sure whether this is good enough form to be a challenger in the RSA Chase but his form is very strong.
Weatherbys Hamilton Insurance Chase
Vino Griego was a very good winner here following up on his recent victory but surely the handicapper is going to raise him significantly for this win and his chance at Cheltenham will surely be less as there are likely to be well handicapped horses running in whichever race he runs in.
Our TOP TIP Tatenen ran well for 2 1/2 mile but faded like a non stayer. His prominent racing style means he can’t really be ridden to get the distance and a drop back in distance is needed.
Runner up Cappa Bleu ran a really good Grand National trial, his jumping was foot perfect and a return to Aintree should now be his next run where he is trying to improve on his 4th place finish last season.
Betfair. Don’t Settle For Less Handicap Hurdle
Kuilsriver made it 2/3 in handicaps with his only defeat coming in the Lanzarote Hurdle in 2012. This is very clever handicapping and he was given a great ride by youngster Thomas Garner. He is likely to be raised for this effort but apparently he was more prominent than what was planned so may do just as well at Cheltenham in one of the handicaps.
Hold Court was our TOP TIP selection and in a slowly run race he was held up before making late headway. A stronger pace and a he could be a big player off his current mark.
Bourne was very eyecatching in this race as well, he was held up by Jason Maguire before being ridden along to try and get involved. He finally consented to get running and was finishing really well down the final straight and may even won but for a bad mistake at the last. His likely target is the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle where he was sent off the 9/2 favourite and slightly disappointed finishing only 9th. Donald McCain won this race last year with Son of Flicka and we think he may be trying to win it again with Bourne.
Betfair Ascot Chase
Our TOP TIP Cue Card was perhaps a fortunate winner of this race as Captain Chris was certainly challenging when he blundered 2 out. The pair would have beaten the rest out of sight and both have further big race victories in them.
Cue Card is likely to run in Ryanair Chase but on soft going the 2m5f trip probably stretches Cue Card and a drop back to Queen Mother 2mile trip would really suit and he could once again chase home Sprinter Sacre as he did in the Arkle last year.
Captain Chris has a tendency to jump out to his right and so Cheltenham doesn’t really suit and he could be saved and sent to Punchestown.
Ironspine Charity Challenge ‘National Hunt’ Novices’ Hurdle
Our TOP TIP Far West showed his versatility when winning this slowly run race with an impressive turn of foot. He now has 2 wins under his belt in slowly run races and 2 in truer run races showing that however the Triumph is run at Cheltenham he should have a great chance and still looks the one to beat.
Follow AscotInsiderOn Twitter Standard Open NH Flat Race
Our TOP TIP Red Sherlock won this relatively slowly run bumper but did show signs of being reluctant to go past the runner up. Flashes of his tail is a real concern and should he run at Cheltenham his attitude will really be brought into question. The Skyfarmer split 2 very impressive bumper winners and surely will win next time out if he doesn’t run in the Cheltenham bumper.
Betfred Grand National Trial
Well Refreshed showed he is still ahead of the handicapper winning this competitive handicap in relatively easy fashion.
Former TOP TIP Rigadin De Beauchene is probably somewhat unlucky to have bumped into a well handicapped horse but may still be able to win a similar event next time out. The Welsh National could be his target for next season.
This year’s Welsh National winner Monbeg Dude was very eyecatching here having been outpaced and last turning into the straight before running on past all his beaten rivals to finish 3rd. The Scottish National or Grand National look ideal races for him for the next few seasons. A run in the Bet365 Gold Cup Chase at Sandown could also be a possible target.
Bathwick Tyres Kingwell Hurdle
Zarkandar was a reasonable winner of this race although will need to improve on this to win the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham. Cheltenham really suits this horse however and he should be able to improve for a return to Cheltenham.
Khyber Kim ran a credible race after a lay off and a return to Cheltenham should also see him run a big race. I’m not sure whether the Champion Hurdle or a handicap is the best option for this horse, although if he did appear in a handicap he could be very much underestimated.