We said goodbye to the 2018 jumps season at Sandown on Saturday and Altior again hinted that he was ready for a step up in trip in winning the Celebration Chase. I do not think connections learnt anything about the horse at the weekend and I fear they missed a trick in not running in the Melling Chase (2m 4f) at Aintree a fortnight earlier.
Altior is 14/1 for the King George with BetVictor with stablemate Might Bite heading the market at 2/1.
The ground is sure to be testing at Windsor this evening for their seven-race card and the 2-y-o Novice Stakes is a fascinating race with recent C&D winner Blown By Wind (5.40) having to carry a 6lbs penalty against six rivals.
The son of Invincible Spirit might always want a bit of cut in the ground to be seen at his best and, if he is to be a Royal Ascot contender, he should be able to give the weight although a market move for either of the newcomers Dark Thunder or Anthem Of Peace would be worth noting.
Past Master (7.10) finished runner up on polytrack when last seen back in December and this five-year-old has only had three career starts for Henry Candy who did us a favour on last Monday’s Windsor card.
A son of Mastercraftsman he should be at home under todays’ underfoot conditions – his tissue price is 9/2 with BetVictor. Argus has been running well on the all-weather of late and has run well with plenty of cut in the ground previously.
I have been waiting for Pointel to run for 551-days for James Fanshawe and it will be interesting to see what the market makes of his chances in the mile-and-half-handicap. Marginal preference, however, is for Hawridge Flyer (7.40) who has joined Rod Millman since his last start when disappointing at Haydock when market leader back in September.
The selection won a Ffos Las maiden over this trip on heavy ground back in August and, after just five careers starts, he is open to more improvement than most in this competitive 14-runner handicap.
At Wolverhampton Rasima (2.10) is no star but she ran well enough to finish second to a hot pot of William Haggas here earlier in the month and must go close from her plum draw in stall one.
Her chief threat looks likely to be John Gosden’s Perfection who has been a beaten favourite in both starts to date so she obviously shows a fair bit at home. She has the worst of the draw in stall 12, however, lacks a recent run and needs to be more amenable to restraint than she was at Lingfield last time.
Tivoli (3.15) is another Gosden filly who has been very well backed in all her career starts and looked ready for a return to 7f when runner up here over 6f earlier in the month. The filly only lost by a head on that occasion and is taken to give 3lbs to Candy’s Ortiz who is making her seasonal reappearance.
The class act on the card could easily be Mootasadir (4.25) who looked potentially smart when winning at Chelmsford on debut for Hugo Palmer over a mile. The runner up at the Essex track was rated 90, which puts into some perspective what he achieved on his first start.
Jennie Candlish’s Star Ascending has already won six races so far in 2018 and is “only” 19lbs higher than when starting his winning spree at Southwell back in January. He is obviously in the form of his life, but this looks a better race and the vote goes to Sky Eagle (4.55) who justified favouritism when scoring at Kempton from a poor draw when last seen back in November.
The selection is just 4lbs higher this afternoon and the booking of Andrea Atzeni suggests Ed Walker is confident of a bold show.
For all your racing needs check out BetVictor.com