1-15 BETTER ODDS WITH BETFAIR EXCHANGE HANDICAP HURDLE – 2 M 2 F 191YDS
Rock The Kasbah wasn’t beaten too far in a Grade three handicap at Chepstow a few weeks ago when chasing home Court Minstrel. The form of the race has been franked a couple of times since by both Sound Investment and Ron’s Dream who have won competitive events subsequently. Philip Hobbs’ five year old son of Shirocco has form on soft ground and with him fully entitled to come on for that latest outing, he should prove a tough nut to crack.
Unanimite was doing all of his best work in the closing stages at this track last time indicating that a step up in trip may well be worth a go. Daryl Jacob keeps the ride on the youngster and they have to rate as obvious dangers if they see out the trip. Gunner Fifteen has gone well fresh in the past and has won first time out for the last two seasons. He has only had four career starts though and a lack of experience may count against him here in stamina sapping conditions against top class rivals.
Rock The Kasbah is partnered by Tom O’Brien this afternoon for the first time and with the yard in excellent form, the combination should be more than capable of going close here.
2-25 BETFAIR “TAP TAP BOOM” FIXED BRUSH HANDICAP HURDLE – 2 M 6 F 177YDS
Tea For Two should be seen to much better effect this afternoon having finished sixth over what is a trip far short of his best at Chepstow last time. The form has already been boosted as mentioned previously by the likes of Sound Investment and Ron’s Dream and with the yard already having won this race twice in recent years with the likes of Aubusson and Diamond Harry, this son of Kayf Tara has to be high on any shortlist.
One For Harry will appreciate the underfoot conditions and came back to his best when winning at Carlisle last time. He has been placed over longer distances than this in the past so he commands respect in an open looking contest. Yala Enki has only had two starts for Venetia Williams but the French import successfully made all when romping in by almost twenty lengths at Exeter last time. This is a significant rise in grade, but with the yard firing on all cylinders, he cannot be totally dismissed either.
Lizzie Kelly is able to claim a more than useful five pounds off her mount this afternoon and horses carrying more than eleven stone tend to have done best in this race in recent years. Now that Tea For Two should be fully wound up for a winter campaign, he should be capable of having a say in the final stages here.
3-15 SHAWBROOK HANDICAP CHASE – 2 MILES 85 YDS
Fago made his first start since pulling up at Chepstow last December and he acquitted himself well for the vast majority of the race last time. Had he not of stumbled at the second last he may well have given Wakanda a great deal more to think about at Wetherby. He should now be fully fit following that effort and given that he has won on relatively flat tracks like Haydock and Newbury, there has to be every chance he will like it around here too.
Cold March is the only course and distance winner in the field and he made the most of a drop in trip to see off the likes of Pearls Legend and Baby Mix. Despite being lumped with top weight here, he commands the greatest respect for an in form yard. Crown Theatre makes the trip across the Irish Sea for Henry De Bromhead. Barry Geraghty has been placed on the six year old in the past and connections won’t be bringing him over just for a change of scenery. My Brother Sylvest and Dunraven Storm are beginning to look a bit exposed and preference has to be for their younger rivals.
Paul Nicholls runners invariably improve for their first run so with Sam Twiston-Davies yet again booked to ride the combination are taken to get off the mark at the second time of asking this season.
SATURDAY 1-15 HAYDOCK ROCK THE KASBAH
SATURDAY 2-25 HAYDOCK TEA FOR TWO
SATURDAY 3-15 ASCOT FAGO