With excellent racing across Haydock, Wincanton and Gowran Park, this promises to offer more Cheltenham clues. We have previewed the best of the action with odds from BoyleSports.
Eight runners go to post for the highlight of the ITV action in the Ascot Chase. Fakir D’oudairies is a leading player and he chases a second victory of the season having impressed at Clonmel in November.
Joseph O’Brien’s charge has since finished second in a competitive Graded event at Thurles and the Grade One winning chaser is a leading player given he looks sure to be suited by conditions in this event.
Dashel Drasher won this race 12 months ago and is deeply respected back at his happy hunting ground, whilst another former winner Waiting Patiently and course and distance scorer Lostintranslation also command respect. Saint Calvados was an excellent third in the King George last time out and should go close here.
Fanion D’Estruval has progressed with every run and will also enjoy ground conditions. Mister Fisher beat subsequent Denman Chase winner Eldorado Allen last time out and is another leading contender, whilst Two For Gold completes the eight runners.
Elsewhere at Ascot, the Listed Swinley Chase (2.25pm) features the classy Fiddlerontheroof who has his first run since finishing second in the Ladbrokes Trophy. The unexposed Ask Me Early is another interesting runner.
Over at Haydock, the £100,000 Grand National Trial (2.40pm) features Welsh National hero Secret Reprieve who looks a leading player for Evan Williams. His rivals include Haydock specialist Bristol De Mai who boasts five wins at the Merseyside venue, whilst Blaklion has won both of his starts at the track this season.
Fellow course scorers Sam Brown, Enqarde, Lord Du Mesnil and Midlands National hero time to Get up all look serious players in a fascinating event.
Elsewhere at Haydock, Porticello looks a warm order in the Victor Ludorum Juvenile Hurdle (1.30pm) having captured Grade One glory last time out for Gary Moore, whilst Hillcrest is the headline act in the Prestige Novices’ Hurdle (3.50pm) for Henry Daly. The seven-year-old won his first three starts over hurdles, before proving very unlucky when unseating rider at Cheltenham last time out. He remains open to stacks more improvement and looks a talent to follow.
The quality action also features the Grade Two Kingwell Hurdle in which Goshen bids to record successive victories in the £70,000 event under regular pilot Gary Moore.
The six-year-old was a stunning winner of this event last year and is odds-on to record back-to-back wins in the event. Goshen was a facile winner of the Contenders Hurdle at Sandown Park last time out and with ground conditions set to be testing at Wincanton, he is taken to come out on top in this event. Adagio was second in the Triumph Hurdle last term and looks the chief threat to Goshen having finished second in the Greatwood Hurdle when last seen.
1.50pm Ascot – Does He Know
2.05pm Haydock – Third Wind
2.25pm Ascot – Fiddlerontheroof
2.40pm Haydock – Secret Reprieve
3.00pm Ascot – Highway One O Two
3.20pm Wincanton – Goshen
3.38pm Ascot – Fakir D’oudairies