At The Races pundit Declan Rix is back with his five runners to keep a close eye on this weekend at Ascot on Bateaux London Gold Cup day.
1:30 – Samarrive
The chasing debut of Goshen will no doubt make the headlines here, and the Gary Moore team have found him an excellent starting point, with all three of his rivals out of the handicap, but SAMARRIVE struck me as a horse who could go on to bigger and better things this season.
A progressive sort last campaign who had two hugely impressive wins at Sandown, physically, he looked the sort who would again improve significantly for another summer’s grass. Versatile ground-wise, as long as he is going right-handed; for a Coastal Path, Samarrive looks wonderfully straightforward.
I’m hoping Saturday could be the start of a big season for this five-year-old who got a good mention in our Paul Nicholls stable tour.
2:05 – Call Of The Wild
Alan King has won three of the last 10 runnings of this competitive handicap and I hope he can continue his good record with CALL OF THE WILD. A fine, big son of Fame And Glory, the six-year-old made steady progress last season, winning two races before finishing his campaign a little disappointingly at Cheltenham.
There were excuses this day however, where the vets found he overheated post-race; his trainer thinks he was over the top and I felt he didn’t stay. Dropping down to the minimum trip should suit, both visually and pedigree-wise, and as long as he is ready to go, he should give a good account of himself.
Raw, both mentally and physically in some of his races last season, he is another who is likely to have done well over the summer.
2:40 – Monsieur Lecoq
MONSIEUR LECOQ was robbed late in this race last season off a 2lb lower mark where he got to the front late on and idled badly. As he has got older, the eight-year-old has become lazier and is a busy ride for whoever throws their leg across him; he needs plenty of cajoling!
With that in mind, it’s interesting connections have again reached for the blinkers; and on the back of a satisfactory return with no headgear on at Chepstow 22 days ago, he looks primed to run a big race.
In a field where many of the leading contenders are making their seasonal debuts, hopefully both the blinkers and fitness edge see him go close.
3:15 – Poppa Poutine
With four of the first five in the market here having their seasonal debuts, I’m hoping POPPA POUTINE can make fitness count and outrun his price of 14/1 from the bottom of the weights.
Still only six with a strapping physique to carry on improving, there may well be more to come from this likeable character. While he can be lazy, he is always there for his rider and is a game sort.
He probably lacks the class of one of two in here, but any further rain would be a big plus, just to make this more of a stamina test, and also slow down those pacier sorts.
3:50 – Blow Your Wad
Highly progressive in three bumper runs last season, the well-bred BLOW YOUR WAD looks one of the nicer British-based horses to go hurdling this season.
A good fourth in the Grade 2 Bumper at the Aintree Grand National meeting when a little out of his ground early, he caught the eye in the straight with how he travelled.
By new National Hunt sire sensation Walk In The Park, his dam Molly’s Mate is a half-sister to the great Faugheen meaning, not only on paper is he of interest, but also on what we’ve seen on the track so far.