Ben Linfoot guides you through the ITV action at Ascot, Haydock and Taunton on Saturday featuring the Clarence House and Peter Marsh Chase.
NO BET - A great day's racing including Shishkin v Energumene but nothing appeals at the prices
The Saturday show on ITV4 begins with a treat as JONBON has his latest run in the Sky Bet Supreme Trial Rossington Main Novices’ Hurdle at Haydock.
Soft ground asks a new question of him but there shouldn’t be any problems there and even under a penalty another authoritative victory is expected.
Might I, getting 5lb, should give us some sort of comparison of Jonbon with his stablemate Constitution Hill, who ran away from Harry Fry’s horse with ease up the Sandown hill in December.
Dan Skelton's UNEXPECTED PARTY was an unexpected loser at Wetherby over Christmas but the drop in trip can help him get the party started after the SBK Holloway’s Handicap Hurdle.
Second to Gowel Road at Cheltenham’s November meeting, he was sent off the 8/13 favourite up 4lb at Wetherby on December 27 but somehow got reeled in by The Brimming Water following a mistake at the last after travelling all over his rivals.
He deserved the 6lb rise for that defeat as he looked well ahead of his mark and his strong travelling style should lend itself well to this race dropping two furlongs to 2m3f and a bit.
TOMMY’S OSCAR gets another chance to prove his worth as a left-field Champion Hurdle contender in the New One Unibet Hurdle.
Ann and Ian Hamilton’s horse has had a superb campaign, delaying a switch to fences such has been his progression over hurdles with three successive wins in handicaps off marks of 138, 147 and 150.
Rated 156 now, he’s 9lb clear on ratings and gets weight from two of his five rivals, so on a track and ground he’s comfortable on his claims are there for all to see.
Emma Lavelle’s new recruit WESTERN VICTORY looks a mare on the up and she can prove it in the Grade 2 SBK Mares’ Hurdle at Ascot.
Molly Ollys Wishes is on a retrieval mission after fluffing her lines here last time, while My Sister Sarah, for the Willie Mullins team, was well beaten at Leopardstown over Christmas.
Western Victory put in a career-best effort on her final start for Declan Queally at Clonmel on December 2, powering away from Minx Tiara to win by 11 lengths, and she’s hugely unexposed over a staying trip.
It will be interesting to see how Royale Pagaille copes with a rating of 163 in the Peter Marsh Handicap Chase given he hosed up in the race last year off a 7lb lower mark.
The big threat looks to be REMASTERED in receipt of 17lb and it looks like David Pipe’s horses might be turning a corner after the good second of Gericault Roque and the win of El Paso Wood in the week.
His performances in the Ladbrokes Trophy and Tommy Whittle suggest he’s capable off 146 and it’s doubtful there’s anything as well handicapped as his latest conqueror Enqarde in this line-up.
Palmers Hill is a horse on the up but a new question is asked of him up 8lb to 142 in the bet365 Handicap Chase at Ascot on Saturday.
The extra two furlongs should be no problem, but this is his toughest assignment yet and his JP McManus owner-mate in the green cap, PHOENIX WAY, rates a serious threat.
Harry Fry’s horse clearly isn’t easy to train as he’s had as many starts as he has years with nine and he has had two wind ops, too, but he’s talented.
In December he ran a cracker at this track when second to Annsam over three miles, form that has been boosted a few times, and he can cope with the drop in trip to 2m5f and lay down a strong challenge.
Paul Nicholls’ YALA ENKI has made a habit of winning the BioWaveGo Portman Cup Chase at Taunton and he goes for his third consecutive win in the race under Bryony Frost on Saturday.
This isn’t any harder than the fields he has faced in the previous two renewals and judging by his win at Cheltenham in November he remains in terrific form at the age of 12.
That victory was a achieved on good ground so he’s not a one-trick pony, which is good as Saturday’s race looks set to be run on much better conditions than has been the case the previous two renewals.
A terrific race is in store in the Grade One SBK Clarence House Chase as Shishkin takes on ENERGUMENE at Ascot in the highlight of the season so far.
It’s hard to form a strong view given we are dealing with two unbeaten chasers who have not yet had to hit top gear to win any of their races, but a few things have steered me towards the Willie Mullins-trained horse.
I think he’ll love right-handed Ascot given he can adjust that way and tactically he might just have a positional advantage when the race begins in earnest at the top of the straight.
Published at 1515 GMT on 21/01/22
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