No Trials About Tribulation
Newmarket 13:55 E.B.F. Piper-Heidsieck Montrose Fillies' Stakes
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Power Of Light will find this easier than the Group 3 she contested over 7f here last time. She'd won over a mile on her debut at Newcastle while Pure Excellence scored in heavy ground at Haydock last month but couldn't follow-up at Doncaster last Saturday. Becky Lou is a maiden winner at Chester and DESERT IMAGE also opened her account at this track last time. It was soft ground on that occasion and Charlie Hills' filly is fancied to take this step up in class in her stride as she won by four lengths eased down. Hollowina didn't beat much at Haydock on her debut but is still preferred to Cloudwalker, Jadesnumberone and Similu.
Wetherby 14:15 OLBG.com Mares' Hurdle
ALASI has 8lb more to carry than when winning this 12 months ago and ended last season over fences. But she obviously goes well fresh and this year's renewal doesn't look nearly as competitive - a follow-up is on the cards. Une Artiste looked a progressive hurdler last term, winning the Fred Winter at Cheltenham and landing a Listed contest at the same track in April. She may have had enough for the season when refusing to race in a Grade 3 at Punchestown shortly after, when Baby Shine finished unplaced, and looks the danger to the selection. She Ranks Me has been in good form but would need a career-best effort to trouble the principals on these terms, though is still preferred to Countess Comet and the outclassed Hopeand.
Down Royal 14:25 JNwine.com Champion Chase
SIZING EUROPE lost his Champion Chase crown to Finian's Rainbow at Cheltenham but bounced back in typical fashion to land the Irish equivalent at Punchestown from today's rival Realt Dubh. He reappeared with another impressive victory over 2m4f at Gowran, the race he won a year ago before finishing runner-up in this for the second time. Connections appear convinced he'll stay three miles and a four-length defeat by Kauto Star in 2010 was hardly a poor run though he was outstayed from the last by Quito De La Roque last year. Slightly quicker ground conditions this time should enable him to last home and finally get a 3m victory under his belt. The winner wasn't seen out again after finishing third behind Synchronised in the Lexus in December and though Paul Nicholls loves this race and believes Kauto Stone will go well, he has yet to prove himself at this level over this trip. First Lieutenant was behind the selection at Gowran last time but badly needed the run and his close second to Bobs Worth in the RSA Chase showed that this should be his trip.
Ascot 14:35 William Hill Priority Prices Handicap Hurdle
Cape Express bolted up at Aintree last week but is 11lb higher here and no certainty to confirm that form with fourth Nampour. Paintball is gradually easing towards a decent mark, however, while Monte Cavallo and Changing The Guard have already shown good form this season. War Singer beat inferior rivals at Kelso with his head in his chest and Claret Cloak will be one to watch this winter, along with Raya Star. But ILE DE RE gets in here off only 10st and Henry Brooke's claim takes off a further 3lb. Winner of the Chester Cup and Northumberland Plate on the Flat this year, the grey will have needed his run at Ascot two weeks ago and reappears over timber of what may prove a very lenient mark considering his improvement on the level - he has to be the one to beat.
Wetherby 14:50 John Smith's Hurdle (Registered As The West Yorkshire Hurdle)
Tidal Bay has bags of ability but also needs plenty of encouragement. If Ruby Walsh can keep him interested he could play a part here as Fair Along, winner of this in 2009 and 2010 but also better known as a chaser nowadays, will ensure this is run at a good pace. Restless Harry landed this contest 12 months ago but may struggle to give the weight away to some useful stayers here with Smad Place interesting if able to reproduce the form of his third in the Stayers' Hurdle at Cheltenham in March. CAPE TRIBULATION made giants strides over hurdles in the spring, completing a rare Cheltenham/Aintree double in big handicaps. He was just touched off under a big weight over 2m2f on the Flat at York three weeks ago and his proven fitness could be the deciding factor here. Crack Away Jack looked destined for the top as a four-year-old but has had his problems since and this trip may stretch his stamina.
Ascot 15:10 United House Gold Cup Handicap Chase
Roberto Goldback and Cannington Brook both come here rather than taking up an engagement in the Charlie Hall at Wetherby. Neither can be ignored while Paul Nicholls has the top two in the weights with Join Together just preferred to Poquelin over this trip. Tullamore Dew is potentially well treated while Duke Of Lucca ended last term with victories at Bangor and Cheltenham. Nataani is on a four-timer and last season's Welsh National winner Le Beau Bai should be approaching peak fitness now, though needs a thorough test of stamina. ACE HIGH beat Duke Of Lucca at Chepstow a year ago and ran a blinder on his return from a lay-off at that track three weeks ago when only head at the last. If that's blown away a few cobwebs, Victor Dartnall's lightly-raced eight-year-old could be tough to pass here. Alfie Spinner should win more races this winter but may just need this.
Wetherby 15:25 bet365 Charlie Hall Chase
Silviniaco Conti has been all the rage in the ante-post market for this, with punters believing he can build on his victory in a Grade 2 novice chase at Aintree in April which finally dispelled doubts about his stamina. Time For Rupert was runner-up to Weird Al in this 12 months ago and should be thereabouts again but Master Of The Hall probably has a bit to find at the weights and has been a little erratic over fences so far while wayward Prince lost his way last season. Midnight Chase is a reliable sort, however, and no mug as he proved when beating Tidal Bay at Cheltenham in January. His only subsequent run came in the Gold Cup. PLANET OF SOUND began last season with a second in the Hennessy so obviously goes well fresh. He's a Grade 1 winner over fences so is well treated here at the weights and should take all the beating.
Newmarket 15:40 Betfred Ben Marshall Stakes
Red Jazz is the highest rated but has had plenty of attempts at winning over a mile before without success. By contrast, French Navy is better over a longer trip and Quick Wit makes more appeal over today's distance as Saeed Bin Suroor has won the last two renewals. There are doubts about Trade Commissioner on today's going while it's hard to assess the form of Norwegian Listed winner Entangle and Godolphin's third runner Swedish Sailor, well beaten on his reappearance at Doncaster. Fire Ship is stepping up from handicap company and a chance is taken that I LOVE ME bounces back to the same sort of form that saw her finish fourth to Immortal Verse in last year's Group 1 Coronation Stakes.