Wetherby: Home of the Charlie Hall Chase

The Mandarin’s Saturday Selections from Wetherby, Newmarket, Down Royal & Ascot

Wetherby

bet365 Hurdle (Grade 2) 2.30
Paisley Park
Emma Lavelle’s stable star seemed to just lose his way in the second half of last season, despite winning against young pretender to his staying crown, Thyme Hill in a thrilling finish at Ascot in the Long Walk Hurdle before Christmas.He can run well fresh, so is given the nod here to get back on track in what doesn’t look the strongest renewal

bet365 Charlie Hall Chase (Grade 2) 3.05
Shan Blue
A great race is in prospect as Cyrname, the highest rated horse in training not so long ago, tries to defend his title in his first outing in this campaign. However, he may not get things his own way with Shan Blue, Fusil Raffles and Clondaw Castle lining up against him. Fusil Raffles should strip fitter for the run against Bravemansgame at Newton Abbot earlier this month, while Clondaw Castle looks progressive and can figure in the shake up. Shan Blue was a solid looking novice chaser last season and might well be the least exposed of these, so if seeing out this trip could be the answer

Newmarket

888sport What’s Your Thinking James Seymour Stakes (Listed) 3.33
Bay Bridge (nb)
Sir Michael Stoute’s colt has not put a foot wrong this year, with his early season win at Newcastle on the all-weather backed up by two good efforts in Class 2 company. He looks ready for a crack at this level and has Ryan Moore booked for the ride. Top chance, and hard to oppose

888sport What’s Your Thinking Ben Marshall Stakes (Listed) 4.08
Zakouski
Charlie Appleby’s runner is better known for his exploits in Meydan, where he is a three time winner, but has winning form here too, in this race last year. He has every chance of defending the title on good ground, and is the form pick ahead of veterans Oh This Is Us and Safe Voyage. Joseph O’Brien’s Dante’s Pass is one on the up and may give the selection most to think about

Down Royal

Ladbrokes Champion Chase (Grade 1) 2.50
Galvin
There will understandably be plenty of support for Henry de Bromhead’s Minella Indo, who was the impressive winner of the Cheltenham Gold Cup back in the Spring, but the rapidly improving Galvin gets our ticket here. Unbeaten now in six starts since July of last year, Gordon Elliott’s seven year old gelding may have even more untapped potential, and is sure to be race fit after a hand and heels ride to win a Grade 3 chase at Punchestown just a couple of weeks ago. Going the right way, and one for the tracker for the big prizes this season

Join Racing TV Chase (Grade 2) 3.25
Envoi Allen (nap)
We first made note of Envoi Allen when winning the ‘Future Champions’ Flat Race at Navan, in December of 2018, and have never wavered in our support of the winner of twelve of his fourteen starts. Unbeaten until an uncharacteristic error in the Marsh Novices’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival back in March, he then pulled up in the Champion Novice Chase at Punchestown the following month, so arrives here on comeback trail. However, in our view, he’s simply one of the best chasers around, and surely the pride of the Cheveley Park Stud, since they built a stable for National Hunt racing. Back on track, and like any great heavyweight, will come back stronger after his first knockdown

Ascot

Bateaux London Handicap Hurdle (Listed) 2.10
Soaring Glory
Course winner Soaring Glory looks the one to follow for this Listed contest, having form around here that reads, 1,2,3. Jonjo O’Neill has made a fine start to this season and his fourth place in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival back in March stands up to scrutiny. The good ground should suit and Tom Scudamore is in the driver’s seat, lots to like

Bateaux London Gold Cup Handicap Chase (Grade 3) 3.20
One More Fleurie
Vinndication won this in 2019 from a 12lb lower mark, but last season failed to reach that level in four runs so is on a bit of a revival mission here. Preference is for Ian Williams’ One More Fleurie, who was a revelation since being switched to fences, winning four of his last five starts, all with Charlie Todd in the chair, and he still gets his 3lb claim here. Ground to suit and getting in off this mark for this hot handicap must have as good a chance as any, solid each way claims

The Mandarin

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