Our intrepid gallops reporter rounds up all the most fancied runners across both codes on what promises to be a fascinating weekend.
Antonia De Vega (2.45 Ascot)
Ralph Beckett will not be looking forward to the the turf season drawing to a close based on his recent very high level of form, and he should go close with the unexposed Antonia De Vega Group 1 Qipco Champion Fillies & Mares Stakes at Ascot on Saturday. A proven high class performer in a light first season, she has been limited to just one outing so far this term, but really looked the part in winning a Listed event at Newbury in mid-Summer. That lack of action can now play to her advantage at this late stage of the campaign, and connections believe she can make an impact at this level despite her lengthy lay-off. She has been working very nicely, will handle the tough ground better than a good number of her rivals, and is a workable each-way price.
Kick On (4.40 Ascot)
Kick On looks a little better value than hot favourite and stablemate Lord North in the Balmoral Handicap. John Gosden demonstrated once again with Lord North's comfortable win in the Cambridgeshire that he is a master at setting horses up for the back-end handicaps and Kick On is another three-year-old who looks more than capable of winning off his current mark. His victory over Group 1 winner Accidental Agent at Group 3 level at Saint Cloud on his latest start, shows he is improving, and his family all seem to handle very soft ground.
The Revenant (3.20 Ascot)
The Revenant may not have won at the very highest level as yet, but he looked a high class performer when hammering the opposition in the Group 2 Prix Wildenstein at the Longchamp Arc meeting, and is expected to extend his unbeaten sequence to five this season in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes. The three year olds have shared their prizes out between themselves over this trip this season, but those looking for an each-way interest may be rewarded with an investment on impressive Greenham Stakes winner Mohaather. Injury has prevented him from running since his win in the 2000 Guineas trial back in April, but Marcus Tregoning has had this race on his target list for some time, and he is another fresh and able to handle the mud.
Happygolucky (1.45 Stratford)
Happygolucky has shown some form in the Irish pointing field and he merits serious consideration on his debut for Kim Bailey in the Dave Callanan's 30th Birthday National Hunt Maiden Hurdle at Stratford. The five year old has been working very nicely in his prelims for his new trainer and looks one to note whatever happens to him in this interesting race.
Whitehotchillifili (2.25 Ffos Las)
The powerful Harry Fry team have yet to find top form, but hopes are high that Whitehotchillifili can reproduce some of her classy bumper form from last season and run a big race in the Ministry Graphics Mares Maiden Hurdle at Ffos Las. She finished behind her stablemate Misty Whisky in a valuable bumper at Sandown in March, but was her stable's number one pick that day, and ran a fine race to finish fourth. This looks a relatively low key race for her debut, though warren Greatrx's Miss Honey Ryder could prove a big danger.
Tidal Flow (3.35 Ffos Las)
Tidal Flow looks the one they all have to beat in the Norton’s Coin Cup Novices' Chase. Philip Hobbs always thought the six year old would make a very useful young hurdler last season, and he was proved right, even though the gelding did disappoint a little after winning his on his first two outings at Kempton an Newbury. He looks sure to improve for his Summer break however, and looks to have found a good opening for his first look at the larger obstacles.
Monsieur Le Coq (4.15 Ffos Las)
The Low Cost Vans Welsh Champion Hurdle gives a real boost to the early jumps season, and Jane and Chester Williams can take the prize back down to the M5 courtesy of Monsieur Le Coq. The recent heavy rain has made conditions quite testing, and this very talented French bred should cope with it well. A winner on this course last season and at Sandown, he tried the lucrative double of the Imperial Cup and County Hurdle in the early Spring. Although he failed to win either, he was second at the Esher course, and was not beaten that far on his Cheltenham Festival debut. He has been given plenty of time to recover from those two quick races, and he looks a sporting investment, with his stable having made a bright start to the autumn exchanges.
Whoshotwho (4.20 Market Rasen)
Dr Richard Newland's Whoshotwho looks worth a speculative bet in the Virgin Bet Prelude Handicap Chase at Market Rasen. Sam Twiston-Davies' mount has shown a liking for this course in the past, and looks nicely weighted on the best of his performances last season.
Skandiburg (3.10 Market Rasen)
Skandiburg came to hand early last season winning a novice at Fakenham first time up just under a year ago, and can stage a repeat on his reappearance in the Rugby World Cup Handicap Hurdle. The race has cut up from the five day declaration, and this looks a better opportunity than it looked earlier in the week.
Itchy Feet (4.25 Kempton)
Olly Murphy, trainer of Skandiburg, runs one of his best young prospects in Itchy Feet and he can repeat his win over Grand Sancy at this meeting 12 months ago in the Matchbook VIP Hurdle at Kempton on Sunday. The pair met in the Listed novice event, and Itchy Feet came out best in a muddling affair by two and a quarter lengths. Both went on to enjoy very successful campaigns, with Itchy Feet finishing placed in the big novice hurdle events at the Cheltenham and Aintree Festivals. He is 4lbs better off with Paul Nicholls' charge, and it will be interesting to see how these high class performers against a proven and very experienced operator, Silver Streak.