Katie Walsh: My horses to watch this weekend
The Betway ambassador picks out her fancies for Saturday and Sunday's racing from Sandown, Aintree, Cork and Punchestown.
Cork on Sunday
Chacun Pour Soi was made a non-runner on the morning of the Betway Champion Chase at Cheltenham, and we haven’t seen him since, but he’d looked superb prior to that and is still an exciting prospect.
On all known form, he should just be too good for these in the 13:25 and it’ll be great if he can explode back onto the scene with an impressive win.
If Darrens Hope was trained by a more popular trainer, then I’m sure there would be more of a buzz about her.
She was so good on her first start over 3m at Cork last time and I know Paul Townend was impressed with her that day. He takes the ride again and I think she’ll take some stopping at 14:30.
Pike County looked like he was going to win a similar race before he came down at the last at Navan last month.
He looked as though he’d improved and if he’s in the same form, he’ll take some beating in this race at 15:00, especially under Simon Torrens, who is great value for his 5lb claim.
Punchestown on Sunday
In the opening race (12:35) on a competitive card at Punchestown, I like Sneaky Getaway .
He is a frontrunner who will be hard to peg back if he gets his way out in front. He’s got plenty of racing experience, which is always worth it’s weight in gold in tough small field races.
Finest Evermore is a horse on a roll. She’s won all three of her starts this season with her last two victories coming in bloodless fashion. She gets weight from the top two and I think that’ll be the difference in the 13:10.
The John Durkan Chase (13:40) may well be the best race we see this weekend. It’s star-studded to say the least.
While you could make a case for so many, I like the fact that Min has been there and done it, and seems to still be slightly underrated.
He doesn’t seem to get the credit he deserves, and the fact Patrick is using up one of his rides on him tells you he’s probably the stable's main hope.
It’d be great if he could win this race for a third successive year.
Sandown on Saturday
The Henry VIII Chase (13:50) is a cracker, isn’t it?
It looks like the best renewal of this race for some time now. If he jumps like he did on his debut over fences at Warwick, then Allmankind should take all of the beating.
He ran with the choke out in the Triumph Hurdle and couldn’t go with Goshen, but still managed to finish third, which shows he has some class.
He was savage at Warwick on his chase debut and at Sandown, more so than most courses, jumping really is key, especially down that back straight where they come thick and fast.
The Skelton’s are also flying and are having winners left, right and centre.
The Tingle Creek (14:25) is the feature race on the card and it's such a shame that Altior has been ruled out over concerns about the ground. He's an amazing horse with a great record and his connections all agreed that he was in great form at home. Fingers crossed we see him again soon.
You couldn’t fail to be impressed with the way Cloudy Glen hacked up at Fontwell last time. He won doing handstands!
He looked much improved and, while he has top weight to carry in the London National (15:00), his yard are flying. He jumps and stays well and should go very well in the 15:00.
Aintree on Saturday
The Many Clouds Chase (14:40) is another great little race this weekend.
Santini , who was second in the Gold Cup, makes his seasonal reappearance, but I think he’ll struggle first time up. Despite being the best horse in the race on ratings, Aintree is a quick three miles and this horse is a real stayer who might just be tapped for toe.
If there is a horse who’ll bound out in the lead and make it a test for everyone, it’s Frodon , who was a good winner at Cheltenham last time with a performance which looked as though he’d improved again.
It’s interesting that Joseph O’Brien is sending a horse over to Aintree - Scholastic , who was second to a smart horse of Gordon Elliot’s called Quilixios.
She’s got plenty of racing experience having come off the flat, so she’ll know how to put her head down and battle if she gets into a scrap in the 14:05.
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