Saturday features fantastic cards at Ascot, Newmarket and more importantly at Wetherby, where one of the highlights of the season occurs with The Charlie Hall Chase.
Some of the premier jumpers, including last years winner Nacarat, decent yardstick Poquelin, and Hennessy winner Diamond Harry are possibly making their seasonal debuts. They also have an excellent supporting card, challenging Ascot, who also put on a fantastic day’s jumping with two listed contests and the United House Gold Cup.
The Charlie Hall is traditionally a high class race, with Nacarat winning in style last year, from the Paul Nicholls-trained The Tother One. He seems to like flat tracks, where he can lead in a ‘catch me if you can’ style under jockey Sam Thomas, who does the steering here once more.
His style of running means he could have them all at it on the turn for home, and could be difficult to peg back. I really cannot see him finishing outside of the front three. The fact that Diamond Harry runs so well when fresh, and is the class horse in the race, means he is respected, however is far too short a price for such a competitive renewal.
Time For Rupert blotted his reputation when disappointing in the RSA Chase at Cheltenham, while it was reported he was wrong that day there are still doubts in my mind. The value in the race could be Chichago Grey for Gordon Elliot. The Cheltenham National Hunt Chase winner looked to ooze class when travelling well two weeks ago when unseating jockey Paul Carberry at the last. He is my horse to watch for the season, and I think he could go for the Grand National. With a touch more luck, he could spring an upset.
The trainer also runs Carlito Brigante in the Gigginstown Stud colours in the John Smiths Hurdle over 3m 1f. The Coral Cup winner looked to have more in the tank when a good fourth in the Liverpool Hurdle and built on that further to finish third behind Mourad and Quevega in the Punchestown equivalent race. He had prep at Dundalk to put him spot on for Saturday and he has the right trainer to get him prepared perfectly for the race.
Switching to the flat, there are two horses running in Listed races which look to have much more class than their counterparts at Newmarket on Saturday. Jet Away, for the Frankel connections of Tom Queally and Sir Henry Cecil, could not have won easier when strolling to a Conditions Stakes victory over nine lengths at York last time out. She travelled like a dream, and the daughter of Cape Cross could further enhance her reputation taking the 4.25, which has some solid consistent horses such as Dux Scholar, Dangerous Midge and Art History. The filly looks to have a touch of class however, and can provide three more cheers for Sir Henry.
The other fancy is Ecliptic, running for Team Godolphin, who looks set to build on winning a Conditions Stakes race last time out, a win which arrived on the back of a 458 day absence. The colt should come on for that run and the fact that the form has already been franked, with Inler winning a listed race in the interim, further enhances his claims. He lost a Group 2 by a neck as a two year old to King Torus, and he should use this to get back on his way to group races overseas this autumn.
2.45 Carlito Brigante
3.20 Nacarat (ew) Chicago Grey (Ew)
2.05 Ecliptic (Nap)
4.25 Jet Away
The Yorkshireman - Jack Milner