Jump racing returns to Ascot tomorrow with a cracking seven race card and now the rain has finally arrived, let’s hope there aren’t too many returns and it doesn’t go from one extreme to the other!
The ground is currently described as Good to Soft and there’s approximately 50% chance of rain forecast between 3am and 8am Saturday morning so fingers crossed the going should remain proper jumping ground.
Before Midnight is favourite to win the Class 1 Byrne Group Handicap Chase which is live on @itvracing and @skysportsracing at 2:40. The son of Midnight Legend, who carries the silks of Potter Group, wouldn’t want much more rain, especially on his first run of the season, so we’ll be keeping a very close eye on the weather. He proved a star for us last season winning at Chepstow, Cheltenham and here at Ascot as well some brilliant efforts in defeat, but he makes his seasonal return off a career high mark of 147 which obviously makes things a little more tricky and he’s worse off at the weights with the re opposing Amoola Gold on their run in the Hurst Park Chase last November – and it’s fair to say the Skelton raider handles softer ground better than our lad. However, you’ve got to be in it to win it and Before Midnight has been away to gallop so is pretty straight and as long as he comes back safe and sound and in one piece, that’s all we can ask for. Sam Twiston-Davies gets the leg up.
Our Power is vying for favouritism in the Class 1 Bateaux London Gold Cup at 3:15 and we’re hopeful he has a bright season ahead of him.
Whereas Before Midnight is at his best on decent ground, Our Power seems to relish plenty of cut as his easy victory at Huntingdon will testify. That’s not to say he’s a proper mudlark, but he handles it well and conditions tomorrow shouldn’t be a problem for our six time winner.
The Handicapper seems to have him in the right place and he resumes this term off 136, the same mark which saw him finish an excellent third in the Coral Trophy at Kempton (the old Racing Post Chase to us ‘oldies!’) In fact, if anything, Our Power seems to show his best form on right handed tracks, which is another tick in the box.
Whatever happens here is a bonus because he has been given a speculative entry in the Coral Gold Cup (Hennessy Gold Cup…) and if he runs well here it would be nice to think he could head to Newbury, but let’s not count our chickens until they’re hatched! Charlie Deutsch, who has struck up a good association with him, takes the ride once again. It’s a typically competitive Handicap and one can make a case for plenty in the 13 runner field, but Tea Clipper has the benefit of a run under his belt already this season and he brings some smart form into the race, while Major Dundee is an improving stayer and his trainer Alan King currently boasts a 21% strike rate!
Speaking of Alan King, he has entered Egbert, who is owned by James and Jean Potter Ltd, in a Maiden Hurdle at Hereford on Monday and a Novice at Warwick a day later. This gorgeous son of Yorton Stud sire Pethers Moon was unlucky not to win on his second start (in a Bumper) at Market Rasen in May when he just got nabbed on the line by a fast finisher, and, going forward, he is a horse we are quite excited about. While chasing will undoubtedly be his game, he’s schooled well over hurdles and Kingy is particularly pleased with him.
Range could make his debut for Potter Group and Walters Plant Hire in the Bumper at Chepstow on Wednesday.
SPRING IN HIS STEP
On a final note, we were absolutely delighted with Spring Meadow who pretty much won as he liked at Ffos Llas on Sunday on his first run over Hurdles and it seemed the further he went the better he went. Jordan Nailor have him a lovely, kind and thoughtful ride and his mount responded well when asked to go and win his race. He is by Fame And Glory out of a Gales Present, who is also the dam of Vienna Court, so he’s definitely bred to be winning races and he couldn’t have made a better start - Onwards and upwards, we say!