Racing UK ambassador Aidan Coleman gives us the inside track on leading Ladbrokes Trophy contender Ms Parfois, tells us about his other weekend rides and says the best if yet to come from big Haydock winner Paisley Park.
I’ll be keeping my fingers cross the heavens open at Newbury as the softer the ground the better the chance for Ms Parfois in the Ladbrokes Trophy Chase.
The big race of the weekend, and one of the biggest handicaps of the season, is always won by a very good horse. You just have to look at the recent winners, such as Native River, Many Clouds, Bobs Worth and of course Denman, who have all been superstars.
Ms Parfois is not up to that level yet, but she has performed well at the highest grade, and she should be a lovely ride.
I say that because there are no kinks, she is just very straightforward. She gallops and gallops and her jumping is very good.
This is her first run of the season but she’s done plenty at home and will be primed for this. I didn’t ride her last season for one reason or another, but rode her over hurdles the season before, and she always impressed me.
She was second in the Mildmay Novices’ Chase at Aintree on her last start over a similar trip on soft ground, and the time before that and she was a close second in the four miler at the Festival. Any rain would make this more of a test, which would suit her.
The bookies have her as one of the leading fancies and you can see why.
Thomas Patrick is a similar price and, like Ms Parfois, any rain will aid his chance. He had a terrific season and the second on his reappearance at Sandown three weeks ago will put him spot on for this. I don’t think there will be too much between Thomas Patrick and Ms Parfois at the finish.
Other weekend rides:
Of my other Newbury rides, Champ lines up in the Ladbrokes Handicap Hurdle seeking a hat-trick following two long odds-on wins in May. He’s only run five times in his career so is very much an unknown quantity and this is a big step up, but he clearly has a lot of potential.
It’s a similar story for What's Occurring, who comes here on a three-timer following two odds-on victories at Hereford at October and November. But, again, the Ladbrokes Intermediate Hurdle is a big step up in class, but I see him running well.
Behind Time would have a good chance in the Sir Peter O'Sullevan Memorial Handicap Chase, based on his win at Uttoxeter, but was pulled up twice subsequently, which is a concern.
On Sunday, I’ll single out It's O Kay, who runs in the Stoneygate Mares' Maiden Hurdle at Leicester.
He had shown up well in bumpers and made his hurdles debut at Newbury recently, following a long break. He will have come on a lot for that and I think he’ll give a really good account of himself.
Paisley Park will make some chaser:
I flagged up Paisley Park in last week’s column and he obliged for us – although only just!
It was a valuable handicap with £56,000 to the winner and it was a great weight-carrying performance.
He finished with a real wet sail, and I thought there was a good chance I would get there.
I think he’ll be stepped up in company now – and he deserves to be – but his future really lies over fences. He gives the hurdles plenty of air, which is a great sign for his future career. I think he could be some chaser.