Dashing Star did us proud last weekend battling hard to get back up for second place but that was on the flat and we switch codes today.
It’s that time of the year when we welcome back our favourites Jumpers and look forward to a few cracking trials on route to glory at the spring jumping festivals. Today we concentrate on the Grade 1 Jnwine Champion Chase at Down Royal where Road to Riches can follow up his all the way win this Summer in the Galway Plate with another big race win, this time at the top level.
A mare called Ma Filleule currently heads the market. I’m a big fan of this mare especially her jumping but this is a big jump in class and Daryll Jacob takes the ride with Barry Geraghty riding at Ascot. Usually Barry would be riding in a Grade 1 if expected to win but it all points towards a good book of rides for him to be forced to attend Ascot today. First Lieutenant, Boston Bob, On His Own, Realt Mor and Rocky Creek (has had a breathing operation) are all making their seasonal debut and are sure to improve for the run.
However, Paul Nicholls is very good at getting his horses’ ready first time out and I expect Rocky Creek to run a big race but possibly lacking the class to win. Tammys Hill is the current Foxhunter Chase champion and will find this level too much to cope with despite having had a nice hurdles run and win under his belt a fortnight ago.
Road to Riches ran a cracker when just beaten a head by the evergreen Sizing Europe at Gowran recently over two and a half miles and will appreciate the step back up in trip. He handled the undulations of Galway easily and should cope with Down Royal too. In the past he won a Grade 3 stayers hurdle over three miles at Cork on soft ground so stamina will not be an issue today. His jumping has been very good and he will be ably assisted by Paul Carberry in the saddle. Noel Meade has his string in great form the past few Months and this improving son of Gamut can use his fitness edge to win his maiden Grade 1.
Selection – 1 point *EW Road to Riches 8/1 generally, use *B.O.G
Best of luck,