Saturday – Haydock
1.30 – Slate House
Slate House has some very good novice hurdle form last year. I schooled him last week and he jumped well.
It was a hot race he ran in first time out at Plumpton and we can now build on that. Colin has found the right race for him, so it’s up to me now.
2.40 – Pingshou
Pingshou started off this season over fences. Ran well first time out at Cheltenham, maybe not so well last time, but they were two very good races.
He was behind Lalor at Cheltenham and then behind Dynamite Dollars at Sandown, both of whom you’d have to fancy to run well in the Arkle.
Pingshou is a Grade One winner over hurdles so deserves his place in what is a proper Champion Hurdle trial.
Evan Williams’ horse has done nothing but improve all year but if any horse is going to shock him, hopefully Pingshou can.
3.15 – Daklondike
It depends which Daklondike turns up and I will be doing the rain-dance tonight. The more testing the conditions the better for him.
He won nicely at Haydock last time so we know he likes the track. The handicapper has had his say since his last run but he’s a young improving horse so hopefully there’s still some progression in him.
3.45 – New To This Town
New to This Town is reasonably lightly race for Colin. Hopefully he can continue to improve. He should run well
Sunday – Exeter
1.10 – Drama King
Drama King had shown fairly little until he ran at Ascot where he ran well, and that was much more like it.
If he shows a similar vein of form then he will run a big race. David’s horses have generally been running well this season.
He hasn’t got the numbers of years gone by, but he has some really nice, young horses.
1.45 – Lough Derg Diamond
I rode Lough Derg Diamond over two miles around Haydock which was far too sharp for him. The more galloping track will suit him.
He’s had two runs since I rode him at Haydock, at Cheltenham and at Newcastle. He’s going to make a chaser but hopefully he can pick up a hurdle along the way.
3.25 – Aurillac
Aurillac has a bit to find with some of the others in the race. He ran okay to a point last time at Newbury.
He hasn’t been the most straightforward to train but he should like Exeter and hopefully he can build on that last run.
4.00 – Tikkapick
Tikkapick was second at Wincanton on his first run of the season but disappointed last time. If he can bounce back to the form of that first run he would have a good chance.
Over the weekend Slate House and Daklondike would probably be my best two chances, but at a bigger price I wouldn’t rule out Drama King on Sunday.