Harry Skelton’s Saturday Preview

Saturday, Ascot

Doctor Parnassus (12:35) has run some good races on the Flat, including when just being touched off in his last race by Indefatigable, so there’s a nice bit of form there. It’s a big ask to see him go and win around here first time, but his jumping has come together well, and he’s done plenty of work, so we’d hope that he can run an encouraging race. It may be a tall order to win, but he’s definitely a horse we like.

In the two-and-a-half-mile handicap hurdle (13:45) we run Unexpected Party. I said in my Debrief blog after Christmas that I wish I could have had another go at Wetherby last time. He’s being going well at home since then and is a progressive horse, so hopefully he puts his best foot forward. The track and conditions will suit him well and I think he’s got a strong chance. He’s probably my best chance of the day. 

Molly Ollys Wishes runs in the mares’ hurdle (14:20), a race we’ve had in mind for her all season. It’s quite a warm contest, as you would expect, but there are no negatives really. I think the three miles here will be fine for her.

Knight In Dubai runs in the 2m5f handicap chase (14:55) and steps up in trip a little bit. It was an okay run last time at Ascot. He’s only got 10-stone to carry, which will help, and hopefully a bit softer ground will help as well. This looks an ultra-competitive race and I’d be hopeful rather than confident.

Amoola Gold runs in the Clarence House (15:35). He’s got quite a high rating now and has to lump a lot of weight in handicaps, so we’re going to let him take his chance here. The owners are keen to do so and it’s very exciting for them. If we pick up some prize money that would be fantastic.

What a race it is in prospect. I’m sure we won’t be hanging around and it’ll be a good test with Energumene setting the gallop, and First Flow likely to be prominent too. The way the race pans out could just play into Shishkin’s hands as he’s probably at his best when coming from off a strong pace. He was very good at Kempton, and he has a virtually perfect record as a racehorse. He’s the one for me, but if I could spoil the party that would be fantastic!

In the closing novice hurdle (16:05), we have Galia Des Liteaux. We liked what we saw from her up at Wetherby, where she showed a really likeable attitude and proved she stays well. She’s a big mare and whatever she does over hurdles will be a bonus. We hope she will run very well here.

Saturday, Haydock

Pikar takes his chance in the Rossington Main Novices’ Hurdle (13:25). He was a bit unfortunate to knuckle over at the last at Cheltenham, when running quite an encouraging race. That followed a promising run at Chepstow on his first start as well. We don’t want to lose our novice status too cheaply, which is why we’ve pitched him in at the deep end here. He’s schooled fine since his fall and is a really nice horse going forward. Hopefully he can run another promising race, but Jonbon is going to be very difficult to beat.Alnadam goes for the Peter Marsh Chase (14:35). He ran nicely at Cheltenham over 2m4f and the step up in trip will hopefully help. I found I was always in top gear throughout the race last time, and he kept finding for me all the way to the line. The ground won’t a problem and he’s only got 10st 2lbs on his back. As long as the Cheltenham race hasn’t left too much of an effect on him, he should run well.

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