Today really sees the National Hunt season kick off in earnest with the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby plus a decent supporting card at Ascot. Most trainers will be happy with the rain that arrived over the past few days although I'm not sure it will have done my old favourite Holywell any favours in the big race. Lots of old favourites are running today and as always at this time of the season most of them need a run in them.
As before I'll have a head to head battle with my dad over the NH season, him being a jumping fan like me.
Sit back and enjoy the action today.
SAM WINNER 1505 WETHERBY (nap) (unplaced = -£5.00)
This horse goes really well fresh and will love the ground. He ran some cracking races last year; winning the Murphy Chase at Cheltenham carrying 11st 10lbs on soft ground. He then beat MEDERMIT and MA FILLEULE at Aintree off a mark of OR156. He proved (to me at least!) that he was a top class staying chaser in the Lexus when he just didnt quite get the trip that day. I'm hoping Sean Bowen will bounce him out from the front here at Wetherby, he may need a sterner test than this three miles. Eight year olds have a decent record in this and I'm hoping of a big run. HOLYWELL knows it's the Autumn and would prefer better ground, I think DYNASTE is the danger.
SIGN OF VICTORY 1450 ASCOT (nb) (unplaced = -£5.00)
Will love this ground and won this easily last year. He is carrying a stone more in weight but he's a high class hurdler in this ground. I'm expecting another dominant run and 5-1 is huge for me!
BABY MIX 1415 ASCOT (treble) (3rd – 9-2 = +£5.31)
This guy has been knocking recently and again the ground is key. My only doubt is the trip but he did start his novice chasing career over this distance and won a few. He ran well last time and I thought the jockey should have gotten him nearer but saying that he probably needed the run. Today is his day.
ROCK ON RUBY 1400 WETHERBY (2nd – 3-1 = £4.37)
The old favourite returns! The question mark against him today is his stamina. I don't think this will be an issue; he has been caught for pace recently in the hot races he used to win and non of these plodders will have that change of gear. Class is class and I think he'll stay and win this well. Staying hurdles will be his arena this year if he does.
My Dad's selections
AQALIM 1400 WETHERBY (3rd – 7-2 = £4.68)
NABUCCO 1450 ASCOT (WON – 7-2 = £15.93)
WHAT A WARRIOR 1525 ASCOT (unplaced = -£5.00)
GM HOPKINS 1545 NEWMARKET (unplaced = -£5.00)
Father 1-0 Son