The Betway ambassador reviews a successful last weekend at Chester, and previews his Saturday runners at Haydock, Ascot and Kempton.
I’ll be heading up to the North-East on Saturday evening as I’m running the Great North Run on Sunday.
This will be my third crack at the race and, although I’m not exactly looking forward to it, I’m running for the Bodie Hodges Foundation. It’s a really important cause close to my heart that helps bereaved families who have suffered a tragic loss of a child.
I’ve run the London Marathon before, but I’m definitely not a runner. I can guarantee Mo Farah won’t be quaking in his boots.
Fortunately, all of our runners this weekend will be better prepared than me.
It was great to get a couple of winners last Saturday. Berkshire Rocco got the job done well in the seven-furlong novice – he’s an exciting horse for next year.
He’ll definitely stay further and it’s nice that he has shown the ability to win at seven around a tight track like Chester.
Good Birthday did well at Beverley. He got a good ride from Ben Curtis, who used his local track knowledge. The horse has progressed all year, which is encouraging, and he only went up 3lbs for that win.
It’s strange to think that a horse who has as strong form as him may struggle to get into the Cambridgeshire, so we might go to Doncaster next week to try to pick up a penalty for Newmarket.
It’s all up in the air. He’s in at Newbury as well in a couple of weeks, but that would be too close to the Cambridgeshire.
Kameko ran a smashing race in the Solario Stakes, just touched off by Positive on the line. He’s come out of it well and we’ll look at the Royal Lodge next.
It’s hard to go straight into a Group race after one maiden or novice, but we thought he was a very good horse and he proved it on Saturday. I think a mile to a mile-and-a-quarter will be his trip next year.
Shailene managed to finish third in the Group Two at Baden-Baden, so it was great to pick up some more black type.
It was a slightly falsely run race, which didn’t really suit her, but she is now Group Two-placed to go with her Listed win.
Haydock on Saturday
The ground looks like being pretty soft at Haydock and Ranch Hand won’t have any problem with that in the opening 1m6f handicap (13:50).
He is rated 95, which is the high end of the weights for a three-year-old handicap. This is a drop in class for him, really, after his two previous runs in the Bahrain Trophy and Lingfield Derby Trial.
I love the way he’s working at home, his fitness levels are good and I hope he’ll run well.
Here Comes When won the Superior Mile (14:25) last year and I’ve been really delighted with him over the past three weeks. He had a setback after Sandown, but is back in great form and we’re looking forward to seeing him run.
The ground should be perfect for him, although it looks a decent race. William Haggas’ Miss O Connor could be a star but I’d hope Here Comes When could finish in the first three. He’s been a fantastic horse for us.
Barossa Red goes in the closing mile handicap (17:20) having won over course and distance last time.
It’s a big field and he’s drawn out in the car park, which isn’t ideal, but he’s not short of speed and will hopefully be able to grab a decent position.
It’s a shame that we won’t see Advertise or Ten Sovereigns in the Sprint Cup, but it’s always a very good race and Brando looks the interesting each-way option to me.
He has some very good Group One form and he beat our Donjuan Triumphant on soft ground at Hamilton earlier in the season.
I would also love to see The Tin Man run another big race as he has been a fantastic sprinter for the past few years.
Ascot on Saturday
The Lavazza Stakes (15:55) is a very valuable handicap. It has been the plan for Never Do Nothing , who has been really consistent this season.
He has run two excellent races over course and distance on his last two starts and I couldn’t be happier with him. He’s a handy horse and should be capable of running well.
Stone Of Destiny has been busy this year.
He won well at the Shergar Cup last month and when things fall right for him he’s a very capable horse.
It looks as though he’ll have his optimum conditions in this six furlong handicap (16:30), although he will need a bit of luck.
Kempton on Saturday
The September Stakes (14:05) looks a decent race and Pivoine will take his chance. I wish this was over a mile and a quarter, but we have very few options for him at the moment.
If he was to run a stellar race he could make the plane to Australia, where the Caulfield Cup would be the preferred route.
He’d have to run a very big race, though. The Cox Plate would be another possibility.
If it was a mile and a quarter on quick ground at York I’d be very keen on him, but you’d have to say the trip is a question mark under these conditions.
Inclyne won over course and distance last time on her first start on the all-weather and takes her chance in the 1m3f handicap.
She seems to have come out of that run well, but this is a more competitive race.
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