Harry Skelton: West Cork can run a very big race

Saturday, Ascot

My first of three rides on Saturday is Go Steady in the novices’ handicap hurdle (12:40). He travelled into the race well at Leicester and got the job done after missing the last. We think the step up to three miles might bring about some improvement. He’s done well for connections and we hope he’ll run very well in what looks a wide open race.

Knight In Dubai ran nicely on his comeback run at Aintree after a year off and he takes his chance in the 2m3f handicap chase (1:50). He’s done plenty of work since then and everything seems to be good with him at home. We’d definitely want the ground to stay on the slow side as this trip would be a minimum for him. He’s a good horse on his day and fingers crossed he can go close. 

We were thrilled with West Cork in the Greatwood and he’s in really good form ahead of another valuable handicap in the Betfair Exchange Trophy (3:35). We’ve been very happy with him since Cheltenham and as long as he doesn’t ‘bounce’ we think he’s got a great chance. 

The bounce factor is when a horse doesn’t back up their first run after a long layoff and he’d been off the track for a long time prior to Cheltenham. We’ve seen no negative signs at home, but you never know until you run them. We think he can run a very big race.

As with the Greatwood, this is hugely competitive. No Ordinary Joe also ran really well to be third in that race and he’s a young, improving horse. You’ve then got Goshen dropping back into a handicap. He’s a class horse on his day and loves it round Ascot. 

I don’t have a ride in the Long Walk Hurdle (2:25) but it looks a fascinating renewal. You’ve got Champ switching back to hurdles and we all know how good he can be when on song, Paisley Park is unbeaten at Ascot, having won this race twice, while Thyme Hill was only just beaten by him in this 12 months ago. It should be a race to enjoy.

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