Wayne Hutchinson: On Guard
Our columnist Wayne Hutchinson looks forward to riding Changing The Guard and reflects upon Medinas' effort in the World Hurdle.
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Unfortunately I'll be watching the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup on Friday instead of riding in it, but I'm hoping the best is saved for last from a personal point of view having picked up a good ride in the closing Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase.
If you're going to have a winner at the Festival, what better race (apart from the obvious ones!) to take victory in than the very last one?
I know the feeling well having won the Grand Annual aboard Oh Crick back in 2009 and I would love to repeat the feat on CHANGING THE GUARD.
He's a novice that won twice in the summer on good ground at Newton Abbot and then he went to Galway where he was beaten just over four lengths by Rebel Fitz on heavy - conditions that wouldn't suit.
Since then he's just had a nice spin around Ascot over hurdles. Although I've never ridden him in a race, I've had a sit on him at home and I can't wait to ride him.
Conditions are in his favour, he's at the right end of the handicap and Dr Richard Newland has his horses in really good form. There's plenty to like about him.
Reflecting on Thursday's racing, Medinas didn't disgrace himself when finishing seventh in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle.
It was a big ask stepped up in class, but he travelled and jumped nicely, before being outpaced. However, he galloped all the way to the line and picked a couple off again - he was just outclassed in a hot race.
I said to Alan afterwards that we'll have to try him over a fence now. He's in no man's land, and although he's only small we'll have to have a crack at chasing as he's not up to this level over hurdles. He's game, though, and if he takes to fences he could be a nice little chaser.
Bless The Wings was flat out all the way in the Byrne Group Plate and I'm convinced he wants three miles now.
He has run over three miles a few times, but never on genuine good ground and he felt good on it today.
I'd give him a chance over three miles on good ground as he jumped well in the main, but ran in tight to the fence at the top of the hill and that was it.
Looking ahead to Saturday, I ride WEST END ROCKER in the Betfred Midlands Grand National Chase at Uttoxeter.
He's been off for a long time but has been in really good form at home and we're all looking forward to getting him out again.
This was earmarked as his target a long time ago and conditions should be fine for him - he's very versatile when it comes to ground.
On old form he's got a huge chance from a handicapping point of view and I'm hoping he runs a very nice race.