Following a 9/4 winner yesterday, Steve Ryder is back with three selections for today's racing.
This looks a below par yet competitive renewal of the Grade 2 Berkshire Novices’ Chase this year and preference goes to the Gary Moore trained NASSALAM (best priced at 5/2) who made a winning chasing debut last time at Ascot. The four-year-old is in receipt of a handy weight-for-age allowance at this time of the year and that should be enough to swing things in his favour.
Nassalam finished 2nd behind top-class juveniles Adagio and Monmiral last season before struggling off top weight in the Boodles Handicap Hurdle at the Cheltenham festival. He made a winning chasing debut at Ascot 27 days ago despite jumping slightly left at the majority of his fences and this return to a left-handed track should suit him well as a result. It looked a strong novices’ handicap chase that day and he pulled 11 lengths clear of the third Kid Commando so he should prove hard to beat in this four-runner race.
The Venetia Williams trained FANION D'ESTRUVAL (best priced at 5/2) won the 2 mile novices’ handicap chase on this card two seasons ago but looks in need of this 2m4f trip these days. The six-year-old runs off top weight here off a mark of 151 having finished 4th in the Old Roan Handicap Chase on his reappearance behind Allmankind, Itchy Feet and subsequent Paddy Power Gold Cup winner Midnight Shadow.
Fanion D’Estruval looked really rusty on his reappearance but flew home to finish 4th only beaten four lengths having not been on the screen for the last mile of the race. The handicapper has actually dropped him 1lb for that run which seems very generous and I expect him to prove hard to beat. The main danger appears to be Phoenix Way who has shown good form fresh but I feel Fanion D’Estruval can win this before stepping back into graded company.
Connections of Paisley Park will be hoping that first-time cheekpieces will spark the 2019 Stayers’ Hurdle winner back to form but preference goes to the Irish raider MRS MILNER (best priced at 10/3) in this race. The progressive six-year-old won the Pertemps Final at the Cheltenham Festival in impressive style by five lengths before making a winning reappearance over 2m6f in a listed race at Limerick.
There appears to be a lack of pace in this race and I feel that Mrs Milner, who has form over both 2m and 2m2f, has more speed than her rivals and can win this if it does indeed become a tactically run contest. Bryan Cooper is riding extremely well so far this season and comes over for the ride and I expect her to win this with the other mare Indefatigable looking the biggest danger.