Katie Walsh: My horses to watch this weekend
The Betway ambassador goes through the card for the Silviniaco Conti Chase and previews Sunday's racing at Punchestown.
I’ve been trawling through the form for the Silviniaco Conti Chase (14:05), and I keep on coming up with different answers as to who’ll win it! It’s going to be a really informative race, but here are my thoughts on each of the runners.
Eldorado Allen has the form in the book this season. He won the Betway Haldon Gold Cup before getting outpaced and staying on again in the Peterborough Chase at Huntingdon. On recent form he brings the best to the table, however conceding weight to the bottom two won’t be easy.
Mister Fisher was very good as a novice. He ran very well up to a point in the King George Chase, but he found the ground much too soft on a trip that was too far. On good ground, he’d be the one to beat.
Defi Du Seuil has seemingly lost his way. He hasn’t won for just shy of two years but was a genuine Grade 1 performer from his first season as a juvenile hurdler up until last season. It’s his second run after a wind-op and if he comes back to anything like his best form, he’ll be too good for these.
Rouge Vif is having his second start for Paul Nicholls and we all know how much Paul can improve them. He’s got ability; he finished third in an Arkle. It just all needs to fall right for him, but with question marks around the others, could it be his big day?
Green Book (14:40) won a small race at Ludlow last time but he’s on the way up as he’s won his last few now. I remember he was entered in the Boodles Hurdle at Cheltenham last season and may have been balloted out, but he’s improved this season. His trainer Venetia Williams is having a right good time of it of late and despite not having much weight to carry anyway, his rider Ned Fox takes off another 10lb. He must have a cracking chance.
At Warwick, Threeunderthrufive (13:50) should continue his winning streak, shouldn’t he? He’s done little wrong since going over fences and it looks like another ideal opportunity that Paul Nicholls has found for him.
Ian Williams doesn’t train too far away from Warwick, so I know he’ll love it if Party Business (14:25) can win the Leamington Novices’ Hurdle. You’d have to say that he wouldn’t have been too far away in the Grade 1 Challow Hurdle at Newbury last time behind Stage Star had he not tipped up and looks an easier task.
Corach Rambler (15:00) did it in good style at Cheltenham last time and looked a novice going places. He was solid and is an out-and-out stayer who will likely end up in the Grand National next year. He’s got top weight to carry, but he’s got that touch of class about him. He could definitely run a big race.
The Pertemps Qualifiers are always difficult to find the winners of, but Alaphilippe (15:35) will likely need to go close to go up enough in the handicap to run in the final at the Festival. He was solid last year, he won plenty and ran a corker in the Albert Bartlett. It’s his first run of the season, but I’m sure the Fergal O’Brien team are working backwards from the Festival with this lad. The yard won this race 12 months ago, too.
Ross has two runners at Fairyhouse. Bythesametoken (11:45) runs in the Beginners Chase. He’s making his debut over fences after a good career over hurdles, having improved plenty over the past two years. We’re hoping he takes to fences and maybe even improve for them, so today will be a fact-finding mission in that respect.
Alfieri (14:32) runs in the Maiden Hurdle and while he’ll be winning races in time, he might just find this contest a little too hot for him at this stage of his career. Henry (de Bromhead), Gordon (Elliott) and Paul Nolan all have a strong hand, so this race will take some winning.
Sunday at Punchestown
There are two good races at Punchestown on Sunday. One over hurdles and the other over fences.
You can’t knock the way Hawai Game did it on his first start for Willie (Mullins) and he’ll be surely competing at a good level throughout his career, but Dysart Dynamo really looks does look very good. He’s three from three in his career and just seems to find it all so easy. I think he’s going to be a grand horse and should make it four wins out of four.
The Grade 3 Novices’ Chase is a good race and one I’m looking forward to. While Bob Olinger was much the better of these horses over hurdles, probably the best part of a stone or two, but I really wasn’t taken by his jumping of fences on his debut. Yes, it was his first run, and he was novicey, but off the back of that, he’s very short in the betting to be confident on.
Capodanno needed every inch of the trip last time to get up to win at Naas and he looked like he’d improve for that experience. With that in mind, I think he’s probably very likely to finish in the placings and if Bob Olinger doesn’t jump well, he’s arguably the second-best horse in the race.
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