Gold At The End Of The Rainbow


Terrific racing on Saturday with the fixed brush hurdles again being deployed at Haydock and a bumper card at Ascot, where the highlight is the Grade 1 Victor Chandler Ascot Chase. The Amlin has been won in recent years by Paul Nicholls’ horses Twist Magic and Master Minded. He has last year’s Supreme Novices winner Al Ferof at his disposal but there are others with arguably stronger chances.


The Nick Williams yard had the winner of last week’s top race, the Lanzarote Hurdle at Kempton, with Swincombe Flame getting up late on. The stable have two very good chances at Ascot with ZAYNAR and ROYALES CHARTER. Firstly we’ll look at Zaynar, who has a good record round Ascot, with three wins and a good fourth from his runs there. He looked back to his best when blitzing the field last time out in a Grade 2 Novices Chase here. The form has taken a massive boost with the third that day, Frascati Park, since winning a strong novices chase at Warwick while Kumbeshwar, runner up on that occasion, has since won and finished second behind Menorah in two further starts. The yard is in terrific form and, given the fact The Nightingale will post 11-10lb top weight and keep the weights down for the field, he has to have a terrific chance.


Royales Charter is another gutsy, game type, who has been unlucky in running into some good horses in novice chases this season. Since returning this term, the gelding has run four times, winning a handicap hurdle before switching to the larger obstacles. In his novice chases, he has ran into Kumbeshwar, Menorah, and Molotof, all of which have won again in good company. He could be very well in at the weights, running to a mark of 124.  On a form line through Kumbeshwar and Menorah, he could have upwards of 10lb in hands on official ratings, and could be a very backable price on Saturday.


The best bet on Saturday, in my opinion, is FINIAN'S RAINBOW for Nicky Henderson and Barry Geraghty. He should be too good for the rest of them in this less than vintage renewal of the Ascot Chase. Somersby, Gauvain, Oiseau De Nuit all want further trips, Forpaddydeplasterer hasn't won for over three years, and Al Ferof is still a novice, only running twice over fences. Finian's Rainbow has always been held in the highest regard by the stable. At Cheltenham he travelled well throughout but just failed to get up the hill, beaten by the staying on Captain Chris. He made amends at Aintree, and although made a bad mistake in his return at Kempton in the Desert Orchid Chase, still managed to get up, beating two of his rivals with relative ease under a terrific ride from Barry Geraghty. He should come on for that run and should be at home around Ascot. Anything above even money would be a steal.


Barry also rides Our Girl Sally, who he gave a terrific ride last time out when the mare outstayed her rivals in a Grade 3 Mares Hurdle at Leopardstown over Christmas. Barry retains the ride and is currently operating a strike rate of 33% this season at Ascot. Nobody rides the place better, bar a certain Timmy Murphy. She has improved steadily, previously running well behind subsequent winner Mikael D'Hagunet, and the form from her previous runs in Ireland looks good. The race may cut up and she may not have the strongest of fields to contend with. Emma Lavelle’s Kentford Grey Lady could be the biggest danger.


1.00 Ascot - Royales Charter

2.05 Ascot - Our Girl Sally

3.10 Ascot - Finian's Rainbow (Nap)

3.45 Ascot - Zaynar (Nb)


The Yorkshireman - Jack Milner @JJMSports


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