SEE the Light in the Olbg.com Mares’ Hurdle. Irish raider MAGIC OF LIGHT finished third in the Troytown Chase at Navan on her comeback run before bolting up at Newbury.
That was a Listed mares’ race and she was way too good for the opposition. This return to hurdles poses a different test but she is unexposed over 3m.
Culture De Sivola looked good when beating Molly Childers at Kempton over Christmas. The favourite ran a shocker that day but the runner-up has since won a chase so the form does add up.
She is badly off with Magic Of Light on official ratings but it’s hard to think she’s stopped improving.
If You Say Run finished ahead of Culture De Sivola when they filled the places behind Mia’s Storm at Kempton in November.
She has the form to go close but she is not the most straightforward.
Jester Jet has to give weight away. She’s shown promise in chases this season and she has always shaped like she would come into her own over 3m.
Petticoat Tails has come up against useful Sensulano on her last two starts. She’s another who would be better off if this was a handicap.
PROMISING novice SEDDON should take advantage of a tasty rating on his handicap debut.
He wasn’t disgraced in the Champion Bumper at last year’s Cheltenham Festival and he was successful on his hurdles debut at Stratford on his comeback run.
There was a lot to like about his third behind Grade 1 winner Elixir De Nutz considering he had been held up in a slowly-run race.
That form is strong and he was also hit the frame in a hot novice contest behind top prospect Angels Breath over 2m at Ascot last month.
Both those races had hurdles taken out and that wasn’t ideal for a sound jumper. He clearly wants today’s extra three furlongs and I’m convinced he’s well weighted today.
Thosedaysaregone won well at Wetherby last week and makes a quick return from Ireland.
He’s got in towards the foot of the weights and is clearly dangerous for shrewd trainer Charles Byrnes.
Colonial Dreams ran better than his final finishing position on his return at Kempton on Boxing Day. I’m expecting him to take a big step forward today and his form last season was good.
Ballymoy has won four of his last five races and is progressing all the time. He will need another personal best to shoulder top weight to victory but that is far from impossible.
MR MEDIC is just what the doctor ordered. He won at this track last season and he was again successful on his return over today’s course and distance when seeing off Flying Angel in November.
His sixth behind Frodon in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup might be considered a little disappointing but he was right in the thick of it until nearly blundering away James Best four fences from home.
Back at his favourite track he looks to have a great chance.
Mister Whitaker went off favourite for the BetVictor Gold Cup at Cheltenham in November but he never really threatened. He looks ready for the step up to 3m to me.
Benatar twice won at this course last season and he put in a solid effort behind Valtor over 3m last time out. That trip just stretches him and he looks dangerous today.
Happy Diva chased home in-form Aso at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day. That was a fine performance from a consistent horse. Expect another good run today.
TRUE champions don’t come along very often. It won’t be worth backing ALTIOR but that doesn’t make the prospect of watching him win the Matchbook Clarence House Chase much less attractive.
He is awesome and everything I admire in a racehorse. Some might salivate over the brilliance of a Sprinter Sacre but I’ve always preferred those horses that tough it out and bludgeon their rivals into the turf with a relentless finishing surge.
We’d all love to see more than three runners in these Grade 1s but the small field won’t bother Altior. He’s been here before many times on his way to an astonishing 16 straight victories.
His Tingle Creek defeat of Un De Sceaux last month was as good as any of his previous wins and he hardly broke sweat to see off Diego Du Charmil in the Desert Orchid over Christmas.
It should be another stroll for Altior today but savour him. Horses like this fella are worth watching is any contest.
Fox Norton is likely to fill the forecast spot. He won Grade 1s at Aintree and Punchestown a couple of years ago but hasn’t had much luck since.
Last season – when he was runner-up behind Politilogue in the Tingle Creek before pulling up in the King George – was cut short by injury.
It’s hard to imagine he will be at his best for his first run for a year but his class should be good enough to see him finish in front of Diego Du Charmil.
MISTER FISHER looks a right catch in the Sky Bet Supreme Trial. He probably shouldn’t have been beaten when touched off on his hurdles debut at Newbury.
His true colours were on show when he zipped clear to win a hot contest at Kempton on Boxing Day. The slightly softer ground is not a problem as he won a bumper on easier going.
Nicky Henderson’s youngster has to give 3lbs to all his rivals but I’m sure he’s got more than enough class to handle the weight difference.
Bright Forecast is a lovely horse. He came with a storming late run to on his debut at Newbury in November.
That race has worked out well and he had little trouble following up at Leicester over Christmas. I’ve no doubt he’ll develop into a smart horse but it’s likely to be over further.
Idee De Garde bumped into a good ‘un in Henderson’s Champagne Platinum on his hurdles debut at Newcastle.
It’s not hard to expect him to improve for that first run since joining Dan Skelton but he is thrown into the deep end a little.
Esprit Du Large won easily at Uttoxeter but he’ll find this an awful lot tougher.
GO for Mo in The New One Unibet Hurdle. MOHAAYED won the County Hurdle at last season’s Cheltenham Festival and he landed another valuable handicap when successful at Ascot just before Christmas when wearing cheekpieces for the first time.
I can’t imagine he won’t be as good in this much smaller field.
He’s weighted to get a lot closer to Silver Streak when he was fourth behind Evan Williams’ hope in the Welsh Champion Hurdle at Ffos Las in October.
Silver Streak prefers good ground but he does cope with softer. His second behind Brain Power in Cheltenham’s International Hurdle was probably a personal best and he seems better than a handicapper these days.
He’s reliable but I’m not sure he’s got as much in hand of his rivals as the market suggests.
Global Citizen wasn’t at his best in the Christmas Hurdle and his previous win in a Newbury handicap off top weight was a splendid effort. He’s classy on his day and looks a live danger.
Western Ryder is particularly consistent but he’s held by Silver Streak on last month’s Cheltenham form. He might need a bit further these days so this sharp track is unlikely to help.
Pingshou hasn’t taken to fences. He missed the whole of last season and perhaps his problems have caught up with him. His best form has also come on genuinely good ground.
Templegate’s TV tips
- 1.50 Ascot – Magic Of Light
- 2.05 Haydock – Mister Fisher
- 2.25 Ascot – Seddon
- 2.40 Haydock – Mohaayed
- 3.00 Ascot – Mr Medic
- 3.15 Haydock – Red Infantry
- 3.35 Ascot – Altior
CALL for the Infantry in the Peter Marsh Chase. I’ve had my eye on RED INFANTRY for a while as he looks a staying chaser going places.
Ian Williams’ hope rose through the ranks last season with wins at Doncaster and Warwick.
He’s continued that progress this term. There was a lot to like about the way he ground it out to win over 3m4f at today’s track in November and he moved like an in-form horse when runner-up at Sandown last month.
I can’t imagine the drop in distance will be a problem and it might just suit him. Few trainers have their stable in as good form as Venetia Williams.
Her Otago Trail was miles behind Valtor but that might have come too quickly after his return from nearly two years off the track. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see him run well.
Captain Redbeard didn’t appear to enjoy the Grand National fences in the Grand Sefton last month.
He’s got plenty of form around this track including when runner-up in this race 12 months ago and should go well.
Chase The Spud will not be enjoying this dry weather and 2017 Grand National hero One For Arthur is sure to need this run after getting rid of his rider on his return from 20 months off the track at Aintree last month.
1.15 Ecu De La Noverie
1.50 Magic Of Light
2.25 Seddon (nap)
3.00 Mr Medic (treble)
4.05 Downtown Getaway
12.55 Ain’t My Fault
1.30 Slate House
2.05 Mister Fisher
3.15 Red Infantry
12.50 Turn Of Luck
1.25 Maybe Today
2.00 Redicean (nb)
3.10 Remembering You
3.40 Dotted Swiss
1.40 Thomas Darby
2.50 Present Man
3.25 Before Midnight
4.25 Early Morning Rain
5.45 Golden Salute
6.15 Your Band
6.45 Freesia Gold
7.15 Black Medick
8.15 Captain Ryan