Katie Walsh: My picks for the racing this Saturday
The Betway ambassador previews Saturday's racing at Aintree, Sandown and Navan.
I tell you what, we’re really starting to see the big guns now, aren’t we? We’ve got some proper racing this weekend including the John Durkan on Sunday, which really could already be the race of the season.
I’m looking forward to seeing how Chris’s Dream (14:40) gets on over the National Fences in the Becher Chase. He’s a good jumper of a ‘normal’ fence and is known to have gone well fresh in the past. Henry de Bromhead has his horses in savage order now and he wouldn’t be sending him there if he didn’t think he’d have a good chance.
It’s not the best Many Clouds Chase i’ve seen, which is why I think Native River (14:05) will take all of the beating. He’s 11 now, but he was in grand form last season and the Tizzard’s horses are in good order too. Certainly, much better form than they were in last seasons. He’s a Gold Cup winner and he stays all day, jumps well and operates around Aintree. He’s the one they have to beat.
It looks as though Willie has found a good opportunity for Elimay (12:20) to get her season started. I think she’s simply better than these horses and probably should have won at Cheltenham, too. It’s only a small field, but she’s the best horse in the race.
Ross is going over to Aintree as he runs Sea Sessions (13:30). She’s got a lovely way about her. She might have bumped into one each time she has run. She is getting more experience with each run and we’d delighted with a bit of black type for her.
The Irish are sending four over, all of which could be smart, including White Pepper (13:30), who was very good the last day.
I’m delighted to see the return on Chacun Pour Soi (14:25) in the Tingle Creek. He’s a proper horse and although he was beaten at Cheltenham, and some may say he doesn’t operate around there, you don’t have to, to be a top-class horse. I think he’s simply too good in this race and he’ll give Patrick a wonderful spin.
The Grade 1 Novice Chase looks weak in depth to me. It’s not the strongest running of the race, but that probably tells you about the lack of horses in this division in England at the moment.
While Dan Skelton had mentioned getting Third Time Lucki (13:50) fresh for his next run, he might have seen the entries and thought it was too good of an opportunity to miss. He’s won twice around Cheltenham and was the best of these over hurdles, so he looks like the one to beat.
There are some good, competitive handicaps at Navan, and I think Coventry (13:08) who has a feather weight on his back could sneak into a place. He stayed on well last time, but he couldn’t peg back the eventual winner. He’s still improving. He was with Aidan O’Brien as a two year old, so you’d think he was bred to be better than this!
Wa Wa (14:53) has gone up 12lb for winning his last two starts for Dermot McLoughlin, but he’s been so impressive in the way he’s done them, that I think he’ll likely get the hat-trick up.
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