Katie Walsh: My horses to watch on Saturday
The Betway ambassador previews the Clarence House Chase at Ascot as well as the standouts at Haydock and Navan.
Shishkin v Energumene is the clash we all want to see. It’s box office and is what racing needs. My gut feeling is that Energumene (15:35) is going to win. I think he’s very special and that’s not take anything away from Shishkin.
The fact that Shishkin often shows that he’s better when he’s going left-handed. If he was to get beaten, this could be the day.
First Flow will take it up and make the running and will likely set the race up for the other two as he’s probably just shy of their class. It’ll be a fascinating battle, but we know Energumene will stay and stay, and he’s not short on pace either. I can’t wait for it.
My Sister Sarah (14:20) was disappointing last time out, but at the start of the season, she was being campaigned as a Champion Hurdle horse. She was good when she went over to Kempton at the start of the season, and I don’t think she’s going over to keep Energumene company in the horse box.
Jonbon (13:25) is not a working mans price, but he’s as good a novice as we’ve seen in England this season and he’ll have to win this if he’s to run in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham. This will be his last run before Cheltenham, and I expect him to make light work of his rivals.
Hunters Call (14:00) is very lightly raced for a 12-year-old and his second at Cheltenham last time is the best form in the book in this field. He’s always promised to be a very good horse, but he’s been plagued with injuries in his career. It looks as though Olly Murphy has had a clear run with him this season and it would be good him to get a graded victory in the bag.
The Peter Marsh always takes some getting. It’s a gruelling test and although he’s the best horse in the race, Royal Pagaille (14:35) has to concede so much weight to his rivals. If he wins, I’ll happily eat a slice of humble pie, but it’s a big task.
At the price, I think Fortescue represents value. He’s been highly tried this season and clearly stays all day. This test will suit him, and he could sneak a place.
Ardla (12:00) was good the last day at Navan and could still be improving. His jumping was savage that day and his form prior to that run wasn’t bad either as he finished second to Grand Jury and Jesse Evans on his last two starts. He should go well.
Glen Wyllin (12:30) must have a proper chance. His third in a bumper to Dysart Dynamo reads well and he’s slowly getting the hang of the racing game. This looks winnable for him.
Ash Tree Meadow (13:05) has been bang there in some hot novices, namely behind Sir Gerhard last time. This is much easier, and he deserves to get his head in front.
The big race of the day at Navan is a Grade B Handicap Hurdle. It’s so competitive and you could make a case for plenty, but I’d like to put a word in for Carrigeen Lotus (13:40) who ran very well last time at Cork and sneaks in at the bottom with not much weight on her back.
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