Make Time For Rupert In The Argento
A feast of racing on Saturday showcases Doncaster’s Sky Bet Chase (formerly known as The Great Yorkshire Chase), a highlight of the northern track’s jump racing calendar. Calgary Bay looks to defend his crown in what looks a decent renewal. It is also Trials Day at Cheltenham as preparations for the forthcoming festival move into top gear. Some very good horses on display at the Cotswold track, particular in the Argento Grade 2 Chase.
The Argento Chase is usually a pointer towards the Gold Cup and is run over the same course and distance. Won last year by Neptune Collognes, in a less than vintage renewal, this looks a classier field. Previous Arkle Chase winners Captain Chris and Tidal Bay, previous Hennessy winners Diamond Harry and Carruthers, as well as Cheltenham specialist Midnight Chase are among the likely runners. However another Cheltenham specialist with good claims is TIME FOR RUPERT, who can build on what promised to be such a strong novice career.
A disappointing favourite in last years RSA Chase, the eight year old finished second this term in the Charlie Hall Chase, before a solid fifth in the Betfair Chase. He dropped in grade to win a solid Graduation Chase at Newbury, and that confidence booster can do him the world of good as he returns to his favourite track.
Another Cheltenham specialist is POQUELIN, trained by Paul Nicholls and owned by the Stewart family. The multiple Prestbury Park winner carries top weight in the 2.05 but looks to hold solid claims, despite a disappointing season thus far. He has the class plus the course and distance experience to slam his rivals here, on his way to a likely run in the Ryanair Chase at the Festival.
The James and Keith Reveley team usually do well at Doncaster, and the father and son combo have two strong each way chances in the 1.50 novices chase, and 2.20 mares hurdle. The mare CUE TO CUE was the nap in midweek, but has been saved for this race (the 2.20), and she has solid claims. There are some tough rivals in Alasi and Lifestyle, but both have flaws, with Alasi unseating last time out and the Nicky Henderson trained Lifestyle running over a shorter trip.
The other Reveley eye-catcher is KINGS GREY who seeks to bounce back after consecutive seconds, often in unfortunate circumstances. His last run at Catterick was a muddling affair, and he came up short, when given a poor ride, seemingly with bundles in hand, going down by a short head. The race at Doncaster looks tough, but could cut up and, with jumping doubts about leading fancies Kid Cassidy and Menorah, he could spring an upset.
The Skybet Chase looks a terrific race in prospect and CALGARY BAY could take all the beating for the in-form Henrietta Knight stable. The versatile nine year old looked back to his best when winning a competitive three mile handicap on New Years Day at Cheltenham, showing the class that he has always promised. He is 2lb well in as a result of that and, given his performance in winning this last year, he should go close.
His main threat will come from the recent course and distance winner QIANSHAN LEADER, who won a tricky handicap here in the mud, back in December. The Emma Lavelle horse thrived in the tougher conditions, and if the heavens open, it could further improve his chances seeking the hatrick under stable jockey Jack Doyle. It’s worth backing both in this open-looking contest.
2.05 Cheltenham - Poquelin
2.35 Cheltenham - Time For Rupert (Nap)
1.50 Doncaster – Kings Grey
2.20 Doncaster – Cue to Cue (Ew)
2.50 Doncaster – Calgary Bay (Ew) & Qianshan Leader (Ew)
The Yorkshireman – Jack Milner @JJMSports
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