Oddschecker ambassador Nick Scholfield gives his thoughts on his rides this weekend
I’ve got three rides on Friday at Uttoxeter who should all be in with a squeak, although I would definitely have liked the ground to have a bit more juice in it!
I’ve ridden RIVER BRAY in both his starts in bumpers including at Newton Abbott three weeks ago. The form of that race was franked somewhat with Brianstorm (fifth that day) running a good race at Cheltenham next time out. Victor’s horse is a nice type but today’s race does look a particularly competitive one (features GUNFLEET who I put up in my five to follow earlier in the week) but I’m hoping he can make a good start to life over hurdles and he’s certainly a horse to look forward to in the future.
DARLOA is off a basement mark and wears blinkers and a tongue tie today. You have to go back a long way for the last time he showed any real form but that was at today’s track when he finished third on good ground and this afternoon’s race doesn’t look the strongest.
Finally MISTY MAI runs in the last and I’ve been doing my rain dance all morning. She definitely prefers softer conditions than she is likely to get today but she has plenty of experience in the point-to-point ranks so she should take well to chasing today. That being said, Charlie Mann’s horse looks hard to beat but I’m confident mine will be one to look out for when the ground gets really testing over the festive period.
I’m off to Ascot on Saturday where unfortunately due to the quicker ground I only have the two rides. I’ve managed to pick one up in the first for John Flint called RUMOR but he’s not one I know too much about. I then ride PENGO’S BAY in the next race for Stuart Kittow. He was badly hampered up the run-in at Exeter last time out when finishing runner-up with the horse that fell going on to win since. The form of that race looks solid enough and any extra rain in the Ascot area would certainly be a bonus!
Although I don’t I have a ride in the race I’m looking forward to seeing THE YOUNG MASTER run in the Sodexo Gold Cup. He fell in the National before being well fancied for the Bet365 at Sandown last time out before eventually finishing ninth. He has some decent course form to his name and has a very capable claimer on board meaning he will be running off a very nice weight.
Away from Ascot, Saturday looks a great day of racing with some real big hitters taking the stage. I mentioned in my Gold Cup column the other day that I’m really looking forward to seeing Coneygree in action and if he runs anywhere near the same sort of race he did at Punchestown last time out he will take all the beating in the Charlie Hall. There have been some positive vibes coming out of the Colin Tizzard yard regarding Cue Card and he apparently impressed in a recent racecourse gallop too. Then you also have a number of second-season chasers who will be looking to serve it up to the old guard too so all-in-all it should be a cracker!
Finally over the Irish sea at Down Royal the JNWine.com Champion Chase is a race I’ve rode in a couple of times for Paul Nicholls and it will be interesting to see how Our Duke has developed over the summer. He is obviously the one to beat on his form last season but he does lack a recent run. It’s still early in the season and trainers will have their horses at different stages of fitness but the track itself will offer no excuses as it’s a lovely one to ride and really suites strong galloping types.
Next week should be a busy one and I’m hoping to have plenty of rides at Exeter on Haldon Gold Cup day which I’ll fill you all in on Monday!
Enjoy your weekend,