Mon. May 23rd, 2022

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ITV Racing gets under way here with the Grade 2 Rossington Main Novices’ Hurdle over nearly 2m. This is a fine renewal for all that JONBON is impossible to oppose. He has looked very useful in two wins this term and is currently second favourite for the Supreme at Cheltenham. Nicky Henderson trains with Aidan Coleman on top. The run of Might I will be useful to judge a comparison with Constitution Hill who beat him at Sandown.

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ITV are also at Ascot and start with this handicap hurdle over an extended 2m3f. This is wide open. UNEXPECTED PARTY is up 6lb for a defeat last time which seems a bit harsh but I’ve long felt he’s better than a 120ish horse and now he has to prove it. This trip should be ideal and he’s a good looking horse for trainer Dan and jockey Harry Skelton. Must have each-way claims after his run at Wetherby.

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Another Grade 2 here in a champion hurdle trial over nearly 2m. Again this should be easy as on what we have seen this season TOMMY’S OSCAR is going to be too good for this field. Certainly the Ann Hamilton runner is the only one in here who might just turn into a Champion Hurdle contender. Danny McMenamin takes the ride on a horse who is on a four-timer after a success at Musselburgh. A rating of 156 makes him better than these.

This is a Grade 2 mares’ hurdle over nearly 3m. Competitive stuff. None of these are absolutely sure to relish the trip. MOLLY OLLYS WISHES has won over this distance though at Kempton and while that’s a sharp track she should get home and be another for trainer Dan and jockey Harry Skelton. My hope started this season in good form scoring at Wetherby.

A tough handicap chase in the Peter Marsh over an extended 3m1f. A peak form Royale Pagaille will be hard to stop, but it’s the up-and-coming REMASTERED who I will chance after his fine second at the track last time. The David Pipe runner travelled like a machine for much of the race and has a lovely racing weight here. Tom Scudamore should get a good spin.

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A handicap chase over 2m5f. PHOENIX WAY ran really well over a bit further at this track last time and might have at least an each-way chance for Harry Fry and Kevin Brogan who takes off a useful 3lb. A very lightly raced horse, my hope has a 33% strike rate and should be capable of this mark. Clearly hard to train but worth a few quid each way.

ITV broadcast one race from Taunton and it’s a staying handicap chase over nearly 3m5f. YALA ENKI did it well in this last year and while he’s aged 12 now I expect him to score again under Bryony Frost for the champion Paul Nicholls. The old boy came back this season with a fine success at Cheltenham in November suggesting this should be very possible.

The feature of the day in the Grade 1 Clarence House over 2m1f. Of course I could be wrong, but I’ve long been in the SHISHKIN camp and I’m not changing now. It’s a shame there are not a few more runners to test them all but with First Flow and Energumene able to go from the front I would expect Shishkin to get a nice lead and that the Supreme Novices Hurdle and Arkle Chase winner will be far too good for his rivals. He’s special – at least I hope he is for Nicky Henderson and Nico de Boinville.

So best of luck and pray for Yeeehaaas. You hear me Paddy?

Matt Chapman’s Tips

Haydock 13.25 – Jonbon
Ascot 13.45 – Unexpected Party (each-way)
Haydock 14.00 – Tommy’s Oscar
Ascot 14.20 – Molly Ollys Wishes
Haydock 14.35 – Remastered
Ascot 14.55 – Phoenix Way (each-way)
Taunton 15.15 – Yala Enki
Ascot 15.35 – Shishkin

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