You couldn’t help but be impressed with Kid Commando when he demolished a good field at Ascot last time out, but you have to question just how much that race took out of him on his first start of the season.

Despite the win being very impressive, they went very fast and that can sometimes take more out of a horse than they show you at home.

Any money for SHAKEM UP’ARRY for the Ben Pauling yard is worth taking on board. He was impressive without winning last season but got this season off with a win at Ffos Las, despite being way odds-on.

He’s at the right end of the handicap and I certainly think he’ll be finishing the season much higher than his current mark of 130.


The Stayers’ Handicap Hurdle is going to attract lots of attention, mainly to the likely favourite THE JAM MAN , who absolutely bolted up the Troytown Chase last time out.

He is still rated 7lb below his official chase mark, so you can see why his shrewd connections have opted for a hurdle race this time.

It’s a really intriguing contest that also includes Relegate , who ran well in a much hotter race in Ireland last time out.

This is only her eleventh career start, which includes a success of the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham, and if Colm Murphy has had a clear run with her, she could be the best in this field.

Third Wind was a big eye-catcher on his recent run at Cheltenham. He’ll be spot on from that assignment and will relish the underfoot conditions.

15:17 ASCOT

MARRACUDJA has long threatened to win a good handicap chase and, despite not pulling up trees this season, he’s run better than the bare form suggests.

His owners love runners at Ascot, so I think this race – in which he finished fifth last year – has been a target. His rider William Marshall claims 7lb off his back and could run much better than his price would suggest.


The closing race on the card at Haydock is a 3m 4f Staying Handicap Chase, where stamina is obviously going to be order of the day.

BALLYDINE was slightly disappointing on his reappearance a Aintree last month, but he made a bad mistake down the back straight and never got into the race from there.

Overall, he jumps well, travels well and was second in the 2018 Betway Mandarin Chase at Newbury over 3m 2f.

Alminar does have a bit to find on official ratings, but he’s still lightly raced and, from what he’s shown so far, he’ll relish this stamina test, especially on soft ground.


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