We might only be a few weeks away from this year’s Cheltenham Festival but there are still plenty more clues waiting to be uncovered ahead of the four-day spectacular.
The likes of Cue Card and Yanworth will be putting their credentials on the line this Saturday while connections of Blaklion will be hoping their charge can lay down a marker for the Grand National.
Ascot, Haydock and Wincanton are the venues to keep an eye on and that’s where we, along with the ITV Racing cameras, are heading.
Here’s our take on another cracking terrestrial television card…
The Kingwell Hurdle is the big one taking place in Somerset and it’s hard to look past the jolly.
Yanworth was mightily impressive in landing the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton on Boxing Day and he should be able to dispense of these rivals with the minimum of fuss.
Alan King’s charge has shown he acts on all kinds of ground, isn’t fazed by different trips and that he possesses a decent turn of foot.
Those combined traits put him head and shoulders over the likes of Irving and last year’s winner, Rayvin Black.
Sceau Royal put the latter to the sword when scoring at this track last November but his subsequent poor performance in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle is enough to put us off.
While we’re not of the opinion that Cue Card is finished, we do think he’s opposable in this year’s Ascot Chase.
This looks ready made for Philip Hobbs’ Royal Regatta, with the step up in trip from his Clarence House Chase outing likely to be welcomed.
Our selection won the Stella Artois 1965 Chase over course and distance back in November, is 261231 at this track overall, and will also enjoy the services of the champion jockey Richard Johnson onboard.
If you’re looking for an alternative to the jolly then get on our pick and expect another big run in a small field from this Grade 2 winner.
The Grand National Trial seemed like the natural choice to make this week’s Lively Longshot prediction and in Tour Des Champs we’re confident we’ve found one that can at least challenge for some place money.
Samuel Drinkwater’s 10-year-old produced what was arguably a career-best performance when outrunning odds of 50-1 to win at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day.
That was just his first outing for his new yard and he should go close again in a race where he’s likely to enjoy his ideal conditions.
ITV Racing Tips:
13:50 Ascot – Arpege D’Alene
14:05 Haydock – Agrapart
14:25 Ascot – Pleasant Company
14:45 Wincanton – Yanworth
15:00 Ascot – Theligny
15:10 Haydock – Tour Des Champs
15:35 Ascot – Royal Regatta
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