Back to 1971 and The Doors for our appropriate headline today and, despite the ravages of David and Eunice, all three televised meetings go ahead.
Main action comes from Ascot, where the feature race is the Grade 1 Betfair Ascot Chase at 3.38 (precisely).
Favourite for this race is Fakir D’Oudairies, trained across the water by Joseph O’Brien and this 7-y-o will be very relieved not to see Allaho‘s rear end disappearing into the sunset, as it has on three recent occasions. With nothing of that horse’s quality lining up today, this represents a good chance to pouch a third Grade 1 and we should back it to do just that at 5-2.
Telly action starts with the Reynolsdtown Novices’ Chase at 1.50, the field for which contains a very intriguing runner in Chris Gordon‘s Annual Invictus.
For the winner of an Irish Point, it is rather odd to find this 7-y-o being campaigned over no further than 2 and a half miles, mostly on tight tracks, including last time out at Plumpton, when it was virtually tailed off two out only to finish with a rare rattle to get within two lengths of the 143 rated Elixir De Nutz, giving away ten lbs.
3 miles and cheekpieces this afternoon, on going to suit – we have a wager, major at 5-1.
The Swinley Chase at 2.25 is next up, with a field of 9 and two each way shouts for your attention.
Caribbean Boy struck form last time out when winning comfortably at Kempton and a 4lb nudge shouldn’t prevent another good run at 7-1.
Fortescue is our other pick after the 8-y-o’s excellent 3rd behind Royal Pagaille at Haddock, with an unchanged mark. Take the 8-1.
The Dingley’s Promise Handicap Hurdle at 3.00 completes the Ascot coverage and we go dutch again in this 13 runner affair.
Main choice is Ballybegg from Kerry Lee‘s yard. This 7-y-o is 3-5 over hurdles, including last time out when winning at Uttoxeter. This followed two abortive attempts at chasing, which it didn’t like at all (bless) and, although 6lbs higher today, the booking of the rapidly improving Conditional, Daire McConnville means it runs off 4lb lower. A must each way bet at 15-2.
We also like the look of Zacony Rebel trained by Toby Lawes. This lightly raced 7-y-o has already won two Novice hurdles and there looks to be some mileage in a handicap mark of 127, so back it at 5-1, please.
Two broadcast race from Haydock, starting with the Grade 2 Rendlesham Hurdle at 2.05. Whichever of the six starters wins this nightmare event is unlikely to ruffle the market feathers for next month’s Festival and, to be frank, we haven’t a clue. A swerve is the order of the day.
The William Hill Grand National Trial at 2.40, however, is a different cauldron of tuna and the two horses at the head of the market look the two on which to concentrate.
The Galloping Bear is a convert from the Pointing field, which ran away with the Surrey National on its latest start in hock deep ground over today’s trip and a 5lb rise in the ratings is unlikely to prevent Ben Clarke‘s 9-y-o from following up.
The one horse that might is last year’s Welsh Grand National winner Secret Reprieve, which would have needed the spin in this year’s renewal and still finished 5th.
Back ’em both – sorted.
The Kingswell Hurdle at Wincanton is also being televised, with Goshen trading at 4-7.
Fakir D’Oudairies 3.38 Ascot 2pts win @ 5-2
Annual Invictus 1.50 Ascot 2pts win @ 5-1
Caribbean Boy 2.25 Ascot 1pt e/w @ 7-1
Fortescue 2.25 Ascot 1pt e/w @ 8-1
Ballybegg 3.00 Ascot 1pt e/w @ 15-2 (5 places)
Zacony Rebel 3.00 Ascot 1.5pts e/w @ 5-1 (5 places)
The Galloping Bear 2.40 Haydock 2pts win @ 4-1
Secret Reprieve 2.40 Haydock 1pt e/w @ 9-2 (4 places)