02nd November 2017

All roads lead to the 188Bet Haldon Gold Cup

The 188Bet Haldon Gold Cup takes centre stage on Tuesday with Sir Valentino bidding to make it back-to-back victories in the grade 2 race. He went on to finish fourth in the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.

Other entries include Brian Ellison’s Forest Bihan who could travel down from Yorkshire, Gary Moore’s classy duo Ar Mad and Sire Du Grugy and Philip Hobbs’ ever-popular Garde La Victoire. Paul Nicholls has entered Politologue and San Benedeto, while the 2015 winner Vibrato Valtat, who is now trained by Emma Lavelle, is also entered.

Looking through the entries, the two novice hurdles look particularly strong, and the three-mile novice chase is interesting too with Black Corton, who won so nicely under Bryony Frost at Cheltenham last Friday, bidding for a five-timer. It’s a great looking card.

There are two cracking cards in prospect tomorrow. The Grade 3 Sodexo Gold Cup is the feature race on the card at Ascot while Coneygree, the 2015 Cheltenham Gold Cp winner, could return to action at Wetherby in the Bet365 Charlie Hall Chase where he’s the 15-8 favourite to begin the new season on a winning note. If they all turn up, a superb renewal is in prospect with Cue Card among the entries along with the 2016 RSA Chase winner More Of That who beat Blaklion, another entry, that year.

With Nigel Twiston –Davies’ team in such good order, I wouldn’t be surprise to see him have another good weekend. It was great to see Sam Twiston-Davies ride two winners for Nige on Saturday at Cheltenham with both Cogry and Foxtail Hill in winning order.

Up at Aintree it was a battle of the greys in the 188Bet Monet’s Garden Old Roan Chase with Smad Place getting the better of Cloudy Dream.

In Australia superstar mare Winx clained her 22nd consecutive victory in the Ladbroke’s Cox Plate.  There’s talk of her running at Royal Ascot in 2018. It would be great to see her racing in the UK, but the flip side of that is does she have anything to prove.

Next week we have the Breeders’ Cup in Del Mar and the Emirates Melbourne Cup. It’s a race no British horse has ever won,  with Hughie Morrison’s Marmelo and Ian Jardine’s Nakeeta carrying our hopes for success down under.

What a man Aidan O’Brien is, and I don’t think we will ever see another quite like him. Last weekend he broke Bobby Frankel’s record of 25 group winners in a season with Saxon Warrior lifting the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster. With the outstanding racehorse and sire Frankel carrying all before him, I wonder if they’ll be a racehorse named O’Brien running anytime soon.

Today I’m on River Bray for Victor Dartnall in the Sun Bets’ Novices Hurdle at Uttoxeter. It’s his hurdle debut after a couple of decent runs in bumpers, the latest of which was at Newton Abbot last month when he was second on his seasonal reappearance and I ride Misty Mai in the Morgan Industrial Properties mares' Handicap Chase for David Rees.

On a final note, the Clydesdales will be racing at Exeter on November 26 for the Devon Air Ambulance. There’s a fabulous chance to become an owner for the day with all proceeds donated to the charity. Email Tim Ancrum at info@adventureclydesdale.com.