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With the sun beating down across the UK, expect ground conditions on the fast side for the weekend, with Ascot’s Grade 1 Betfair Chase taking centre stage. We could be looking at a whole host of small-field assignments given the forecast.
2.59pm Ascot (Saturday) - Pic D’Orhy
The return of Shishkin makes this race essential viewing. Can the Nicky Henderson star get back to his old self going up in trip? All will be revealed, but on value grounds I think the Paul Nicholls trained PIC D’ORHY could make waves here.
He’s won his last three outings, and heading right-handed on flattish tracks really suits him. He likes to get on with things at the head of affairs, and is likely to set a bold tempo, so if there are chinks in the armour of Shiskin they will be fully exposed.
Fakir D’Oudairies had a hard race when arguably a fortunate winner at Clonmel 4 weeks ago. He has the ‘been there done it factor’ but I just would have slight reservations about him at the price. Harry Cobden will look to poach a soft lead on board the eight-year-old, and he can pose some serious questions of his rivals.
2023 Pertemps Final - Walking On Air
Looking further afield, and the Cheltenham Festival is just four weeks away, and the excitement continues to build. Allaho is the most high-profile runner to bite the dust, but that could open the door for the Antepost Armchair selection BLUE LORD to win the Ryanair. I’ve been boring everyone silly how I think Blue Lord will be best suited to the intermediate trip, especially on drying ground.
Anyway, looking for more strings to the bow, I was taken with how well WALKING ON AIR jumped and travelled to win at Exeter on Sunday. In doing so, he has booked his ticket to the Pertemps Final.
Pretentions of the horse making up into a Stayers’ Hurdle candidate were proved false, but he clearly is starting to get the hang of things. Jumping has been achilles heel, but he was much more fluent in that department - probably the best he had ever been in that regard. I like his unexposed profile, and I am sure we are yet to see the best of him. Nicky Henderson has said he heads straight to the Festival, and he goes into the portfolio.
Enjoy your week!
- Pic D’Orhy, Betfair Chase, Ascot, Saturday, 1pt win 5/2 (William Hill)
- Walking On Air, Pertemps Final, Cheltenham Festival, 1pt win, 12/1 (William Hill)
* Betting odds correct at the time of publication. All odds are subject to changes.
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