Business looks the real deal
21 November 2014
I’m really happy with my book of five rides at Ascot on Saturday. They all have chances although it’s an extremely competitive card and I’d be delighted to come away with one winner.
If you put a gun to my head for my best chance, then I would plump for Emma Lavelle’s Parish Business in the opening (Mitie Events & Leisure) novices’ hurdle.
I rode him on his penultimate start when we won at Chepstow and then he built on that with a very impressive win at Aintree.
It will be interesting to see if Hunt Ball can translate his chase form to hurdles – that’s a big if - but if he can, then he might be a danger, as could Fletchers Flyer.
I do think mine will take some beating though.
Astigos, who runs in the (Bam Construct UK) novices’ limited handicap, is a solid enough horse and ran quite well at Carlisle earlier this month. He is reasonably consistent but usually finds one or two too good for him as his record of only one career win to date proves.
Emma’s Woodland Walk ran well when third at Wincanton a fortnight ago and is a very consistent sort; she’s only finished out of the places three times in her 10 starts.
She always puts in a performance and should be in the mix, but there is a worry that she could be vulnerable to a speedy type in the (Trisoft) Mares’ Handicap Hurdle.
Fox Appeal, my third ride for Emma, lines up for the big race of the day, the Amlin 1965 Chase.
He’s a horse I’ve always really liked and has shown he’s in great heart with his two runs this season. He finished fourth on his reappearance at Market Rasen and then dead-heated in a graduation chase at Kempton. He looked all set for a comfortable win that day but idled a little before showing good spirit to force his way back up.
He’s a very talented horse and has always been highly regarded but as you’d expect for a race like this, it is a very classy renewal and you’d have to be fearful of Al Ferof and Wishfull Thinking.
I am particularly wary of the latter, given the white-hot form of Philip Hobbs’ horses.
Brick Red was highly-tried last season, including when second in the Kingmaker at Warwick and seventh in the Arkle at the Festival. He ran well at Ascot on his final start of the season but I am probably more hopeful than confident ahead of lining up for the (Country Living) Handicap Chase.
I’m at Exeter on Sunday to ride Jupiter Rex, who made a pleasing reappearance at the course 10 days ago, and Upepito, who runs in the handicap chase.
He was disappointing last season and we think he’s capable of a lot more, especially given his work at home. If he can reproduce it on the track, then he could be a horse to keep a firm eye on.
I can’t see beyond Menorah winning the big race of the day, the Betfair Chase at Haydock. He beat a top-class field in the Charlie Hall, and as mentioned earlier, you can’t stop Philip Hobbs right now.
Finally, it was a sad day at Cheltenham on Saturday for the Venetia Williams team and owner Andrew Brooks following the death of Kapga De Cerisy. He was a pleasure to ride and a horse we always thought a hell of a lot of, but he was cruelly deprived of the chance to fulfil his potential.