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Alex Hammond blog: Awesome Alpinista claims Arc glory and jumping action returns at Chepstow

Sky Sports Racing presenter Alex Hammond returns with her weekly blog, looking back at a dramatic weekend in France and glancing ahead to this weekend’s jumping action.

Has much happened since we last spoke? Well, Christophe Soumillon has disgraced himself and star mare Alpinista has covered herself in glory in winning the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe for Sir Mark Prescott.

I’m off to Chepstow for the two-day Jumps Season Opener meeting but back to last weekend.

It’s not often you go racing and the reality beats the expectation, but the Arc more than delivered, and I haven’t enjoyed a race meeting a much as that in a long time.

ParisLongchamp was buzzing after Alpinista did her thing and it was joyful to see Sir Mark Prescott in the aftermath of the victory.

The great man has been training for 53 seasons and there’s no one better than preparing a horse for a specific day than the master of Heath House but those days usually come in a big handicap and not the most famous flat race in the world.

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Speaking exclusively to Sky Sports Racing, jockey Christophe Soumillon admitted to making a ‘terrible mistake’ after elbowing Rossa Ryan out of the saddle, earning the French rider a two-month ban

It was wonderful for Luke Morris and also for owner/breeder Kirsten Rausing, who puts so much into the sport.

National Hunt fans have much to look forward to this weekend with the jumping cranking up a gear. The unseasonably dry weather has resulted in some small fields but there are a few decent betting opportunities over the weekend.

The £75,000 Wasdell Group Silver Trophy Handicap Hurdle is the feature on Saturday and the sponsors run Zabeel Champion from just out the handicap, and he can’t be discounted.

I think they may all struggle though against Knappers Hill for Paul Nicholls. Another summer on his back should have helped him develop further and he’s won seven of his 10 starts to date.

He has stamina to prove at the trip, but I think he’ll get it no problem now he’s hopefully a stronger model.

Elsewhere on Saturday watch out for a horse in the closing Chepstow Construction Equipment Open NH Flat Race.

Bannow Bay Boy finished second in an Irish point to point in February to a horse called Matata who is held in high regard by his connections. You expect this horse to run well if he’s fully tuned up for his rules debut.

Nostrum is as short as 8/1 for next year's 2000 Guineas after an impressive victory at Newmarket on Thursday
Image:
Nostrum is as short as 8/1 for next year’s 2000 Guineas after an impressive victory at Newmarket on Thursday

Let’s not forget Newmarket this weekend though, with the classy colts lining up for the Darley Dewhurst Stakes on Saturday where Nostrum will be popular having won two from two including the Group 3 Tattersalls Stakes last time out.

The fact Sir Michael Stoute is having a tilt at this tells you plenty about the regard he is held in.

At a bigger price, Isaac Shelby is worth keeping on your radar for Brian Meehan. He’s 9/1 and with Sky Bet paying three places, rather than two, he could fill one of those spots.”



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