Kauto Stone can be a Royal winner
Richard Dunwoody previews the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby and the JNWine.com Chase at Down Royal.
- Related Content
The jumping action really steps up a gear this weekend with excellent cards at Ascot, Wetherby and Ayr, while there is also a must-see race over in Ireland - the JNWine.com Chase. Add in the Breeders' Cup action on Saturday night then it's a huge week ahead.
However, this week I'm going to focus on the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby and the JN Wine.com Chase.
Starting at Wetherby, in recent years the Bet365-sponsored Charlie Hall has attracted some big names, with plenty of the leading 3m chasers using this race to get their season's underway.
12 months ago Paul Nicholls classy Silvinaico Conto landed the money in impressive fashion as the 11/10 favourite and at this stage of the week the Ditcheat yard only have one entered Unioniste.
He won first time out last season and being only 5 years-old there should be plenty more to come from this classy John Hales-owned runner.
However, backing up my statement regarding this race now attracting some top names from the NH game, then this year is no different. The former Gold Cup winner, Long Run, is this year's star attraction as Nicky Henderson's 8 year-old gets his campaign started.
He's the clear top-rated in the field and would, therefore, not have to be totally at his best to land this - but those against him will cling to the fact he's not won first time out for the last three seasons.
Shrewd Irish trainer Tony Martin could send over his Benefficient, who landed the Jewson Novices' Chase at the Cheltenham Festival last term.
Over in Ireland all eyes will be on the Grade One JNWine.com Chase - a race that's attracted star names like Kauto Star and Beef Or Salmon in the past.
Paul Nicholls has also liked sending runners over and has won 4 of the last 6 renewals, including 12 months ago with Kauto Stone. He's entered that same horse again and will be hoping to become the first horse since Beef Or Salmon to land back-to-back wins in this contest.
With Nicholls' record in the race and the fact he's won this before then he's the one to beat for me, but will face stern opposition from the classy Sizing Europe and First Lieutenant.
However, Sizing Europe is not getting any younger at 11, pushing on 12, years-old, while First Lieutenant was a tad disappointing last time at Punchestown.
Charlie Hall Chase Trends & Stats
10/11 - Having their first run of the season
10/11 - Won by a horse aged 8 or older
10/11 - Won over at least 3m over fences previously
10/11 - Priced 7/1 or shorter in the betting market
9/11 - Officially rated 151 or higher
9/11 - Raced at either Ayr (3), Aintree (4) or Cheltenham (2) last time out
9/11 - Favourites placed
8/11 - Won at least 4 times over fences previously
7/11 - Aged 8 or 9 years-old
6/11 - Had raced at Wetherby previously (2 won)
6/11 - Placed 1st or 2nd in their last race
3/11 - Favourites
2/11 - Trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies
2/11 - Trained by Evan Williams
2/11 - Ridden by Timmy Murphy
2/11 - Ridden by Paul Moloney
Nigel Twiston-Davies has won the race in 1992, 1994, 2005 & 2007
JNwine.com Trends & Stats
10/11 - Won at least a Grade 2 Chase previously
10/11 - Won at least 5 times over fences previously
8/11 - Had won over at least 3m over fences before
8/11 - Won by Aged 8 or older
7/11 - Winning distance - 2 ½ lengths or more
7/11 - Priced 4/1 or shorter in the betting market
7/11 - Finished 1st or 2nd last time out
6/11 - Having their first run of the season (including last 5 winners)
6/11 - Had won a Grade 1 Chase previously
5/11 - Favourites
4/11 - Had raced at Down Royal before
4/11 - Ran at Aintree last time out
4/11 - Raced at Limerick last time out
4/11 - Trained by Paul Nicholls
3/11 - Won last time out
3/11 - Ridden by Ruby Walsh
2/11 - Trained by Arthur Moore
Follow Richard here: