Champions Day at Ascot was another massive success and again highlighted what a tremendous trainer John Gosden is.
With three winners on the card, Gosden showcased a repertoire of impressive training performances from keeping Stradivarius at the top of his game for a full season in the staying division, to channelling the huge talent of Roaring Lion that has enabled him to take four Group 1 wins on the spin, and to getting Cracksman to bounce back to his brilliant best with a devastating display in the Champion Stakes.
I’m not expecting to witness anything as impressive as any of the above this afternoon but with a good quality card over jumps at Kempton along with action at Sedgefield I’m hoping that I can hopefully back a winner or two to make today’s racing every bit as enjoyable.
My Wigwam Or Yours doesn’t have a great strike rate but is operating at a lower level of competition now than during his days with Nicky Henderson and has looked like a horse capable of winning at this level on two outings for his current trainer.
Both starts for this stable have been over a stiff 3m at Hexham and, on each occasion, he’s travelled and jumped well while setting a good tempo before failing to finish off his race as his stamina ebbed away.
Today’s drop-in trip to 2m5f at a track that regularly favours those that race up with the pace is likely to bring about an improved effort and his handicap mark has eased a further 2lbs since that latest defeat.
Copain De Classe hasn’t lived up to his potential so far and I expected more from him on his final two starts last year bearing in mind the immense promise of his chasing debut at Ascot behind Benatar.
However, given the way he shaped in those races (travelling well but not delivering off the bridle) it would be no surprise if the wind operation he’s had since brings about an improved display today.
A good record fresh gives me encouragement that he’ll be fully primed on this seasonal return which comes under ideal conditions and he looks a well handicapped horse off 130.
Boric was second to a thriving and well handicapped horse in Audacious Plan in this race last year with another next time out winner back in third and a reproduction of that form could be enough to go one better this year.
Now 4lbs lower in the handicap, Simon Waugh’s consistent 10yo ran well to finish second to another well handicapped horse in Belmount on his recent return from a break and the winner has since franked that form by winning again off a 6lb higher mark.
The return to this longer trip is also likely to suit and although Brian Boranha is feared, Boric looks a solid option.
Jamie Snowden has his string in excellent form and his reappearing horses, in particular, are going very well so Midnight Monty looks a value bet in a race where many of his rivals look opposable.
Although he ended last season without a win, he generally held his form well, including on his return from a break on his first start for this yard.
He hasn’t had many chances in handicaps over fences and looks capable of defying the mark he’s on, while the return to having professional handling is a plus.
Conditions are quicker than most of his recent starts, but he handles fast ground well enough and though One Of Us appeals as a threat, I think it’s more likely that Midnight Monty is fully primed for today and he’s the bigger price of the two.