Weekend racing preview: Jumps action in spotlight as Cyrname and Paisley Park feature at Wetherby
The Jumps season notches up a gear this weekend with competitive action at Wetherby, Ascot and Down Royal.
The highlight is the G2 Charlie Hall Chase, whilst the G1 Ladbrokes Champion Chase is another cracking event.
We have previewed the pick of the ITV Racing action and if you’re heading racing at the weekend, check out OLBG for more tips.
The highlight at Wetherby is the bet365 Charlie Hall Chase over three miles at 3.00pm. With a prize fund of £100,000 seven runners go to post for the contest, which is headed by Cyrname who is bidding to become the seventh horse to win two renewals of the Charlie Hall. The nine-year-old disappointed in two subsequent runs last term being pulled-up on both occasions. However, connections believe he is in good form at home and given he is rated 9lb superior to his rivals he makes plenty of appeal here.
Shan Blue could give Cyrname the most to think about. Already successful over course and distance he enjoyed G1 success last season as a novice and should serve it up to Cyrname. Clondaw Castle is another interesting contender given his solid handicap form last term but he could find one too good here.
Fusil Raffles needs to step up on the pick of his form to be involved, as does Kitty’s Light and Mighty Thunder who are interesting for some of the staying handicaps later this season. Top Ville Ben completes the seven runners and he has already recorded three wins over fences at Wetherby and is a danger if getting his own way in front.
Former Stayers’ Hurdle hero Paisley Park is also in action at Wetherby as he returns in the G2 bet365 Hurdle (2.30pm) where he takes on the likes of Master Tommytucker and Thomas Darby.
Over at Down Royal, one of the sport’s true superstars Envoi Allen makes his eagerly awaited return to action in a G2 event at 3.25pm. Now trained by Henry De Bromhead, the seven-year-old is yet to win for his new trainer having fallen in the Marsh Novices’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival and then being pulled-up in the Champion Novice Chase at Punchestown. However, this looks a good starting point for his season and he makes plenty of appeal.
Elsewhere at Down Royal, Gold Cup winner Minella Indo makes his first start of the season in the G1 Ladbrokes Champion Chase (2.50pm). The eight-year-old will be primed to run well on his first start of the season and should be tough to beat. His rivals are headed by the loveable Frodon who makes the trip to Northern Ireland, whilst Galvin bids to record a sixth straight win. Ravenhill and Irish Gold Cup hero Delta Work complete the five runners.
Over at Ascot, the £100,000 London Gold Cup (3.20pm) is the highlight. The classy Vinndication chases victory in this event once again and looks like the one to beat. Regal Encore is another former winner and the pair are towards the top of the shortlist along with the progressive One More Fleurie and the unexposed Johnbb who all look capable of going close in this event.
ITV Racing selections
1.20pm Wetherby – Gericault Rouge
1.35pm Ascot – Nassalam
1.55pm Wetherby – Miranda
2.10pm Ascot – Boothill
2.30pm Wetherby – Paisley Park
2.45pm Ascot – Editeur Du Gite
2.50pm Down Royal – Minella Indo
3.05pm Wetherby – Cyrname
3.20pm Ascot – Vinndication
3.40pm Wetherby – Haafapiece