Katie Walsh: My horses to watch this weekend
The Betway ambassador picks out her fancies for the weekend's racing at Haydock, Ascot, Naas and Navan.
There are some smashing races this weekend, despite plenty having small fields, they’re all mightily competitive.
Navan on Sunday
The two big races at Navan on Sunday are going to be well worth tuning in for.
The Monksfield Novice Hurdle (12:10) looks set to go the way of Gigginstown, but to which horse will take some working out. You couldn’t help but be impressed with Farouk D’alene the last day. He went very, very quick so he was entitled to get tired late on, but he jumped well and was never in doubt.
I imagine he’ll be ridden with more restraint in this but if he wins this in good style, he’ll be campaigned at all of the big races.
I know he won’t be a price, but Minella Indo (14:20) will surely take some stopping. He was very unlucky in the RSA last season. They just went a fraction too quick and got racing a touch too early. That was the difference as Champ came with a wet sail up the running to nick the race in the dying strides.
He bolted up by 25 lengths on his seasonal comeback at Wexford and should be winning on this if he’s going to progress into the Gold Cup horse I think he is.
The feature race at Haydock (15:00) only has five runners, but last year’s winner Lostintranslation is back having his first start since the Gold Cup. He won this in grand style last year but he did have a prep run at Carlisle, which he hasn’t had this year.
Despite having had a tough season last year, he finished a gallant third in the Gold Cup and, in my eyes, he sets the standard.
It’s good that his yard have been having a few winners, having been under a bit of a cloud at the start of the season.
At Ascot (14:40), I’m looking forward to seeing Laurina on her first start for Paul Nicholls. Paul’s horses are still absolutely flying and, as she’s getting almost a stone from both of her rivals in these race conditions, she should be tough to beat.
She’s had a few issues in her career, but if the breathing operation has made a difference, first time up might be the best time to catch her.
Real Steal is by far the best rated horse in the 1965 Chase (14:05). I was so impressed with his run in the Gold Cup. He absolutely tanked around Prestbury Park but looked to fall away as he came over the last.
I think he’ll be suited by a flatter track and Ascot could really play to his strengths. He’s got loads of pace and could be a King George horse if he goes well in this.
The Poplar Square Chase (13:02) is a good starting point for two-mile chasers and again, despite only having four runners declared, it’s deep in quality.
It’s hard not to be impressed with what Fakir D’Oudairies has achieved at just five years of age. He has finished fourth in a Supreme, second in an Arkle and is rated 160. That’s a fair old achievement.
One thing I’m sure you’ll notice if you haven’t already, is that he’s a superb jumper of a fence. He’s spring-heeled, quick in the air and rarely loses ground at an obstacle. He’s got to find some improvement this year as he’s not getting the weight concessions that he got last year, but he’s got the ability.
It’ll be grand to see Any Second Now have his first start of the season (13:37) as he sets out on his campaign to Aintree for the Grand National. Make no mistake, there really is only one target for him this season and it’s a case of working backwards from April.
The Beginners’ Chase (15:22) is a proper classy little affair. There are plenty of good horses in it who will all be winning races this season, but I have to say I’m most looking forward to seeing Cedarwood Road . He’s always been highly thought of and his victory in a Listed hurdle race at Naas in March has worked out very well. I think he could be exciting.
Visit Betway's horse racing betting page.