Row in with tough as nails The Minack in Reynoldstown

I RATE Paul Nicholls’ The Minack the bet of the day in the Reynoldstown Chase at Ascot this afternoon.

He was very good first time over fences at Wincanton and is a horse I have always liked. You can argue he wasn’t so impressive at Warwick, but still got the job done.

I’ve seen better Reynoldstown Chases than this and just think The Minack is a real nice horse, who is as tough as nails.

Sonofvic starts the ball rolling for Paul in the opening novice hurdle and is at least worth a second glance.

He made his racecourse debut at Chepstow 108 days ago, back in November, and I actually rode him to win that day.

I have to say he surprised us a bit and Paul has been in no hurry with him. You’d imagine he shouldn’t be too far away.

Breedsbreeze has a lot to do off top weight in a handicap chase. He’s a fair enough horse, but this does look a big ask.

Likewise, I’m of the opinion Pride Of Dulcote is being posed a serious enough question in the Grade 1 Betfair Chase.

He missed out on the Hennessy at Leopardstown and this is not as stiff a test of jumping. He beat Punchestowns narrowly at Newbury, but Punchestowns’ two subsequent runs did not impress me.

As well as that I feel Pride Of Dulcote needs every yard of three miles and is vulnerable over this trip.

Riverside Theatre, a creditable second to Long Run in the King George at Kempton, also strikes me as in need of three miles.

There are one or two other possibilities, so I’m very much inclined to use the race for educational purposes!

Like Minded’s prospects in a handicap hurdle may not be immediately apparent, but he will surely perform a lot better than his ninth at Kempton.

He was far too keen that day and, essentially, too much use was made of him. Restraint will be the likely buzzword now.

I can’t tell you much about Polisky in a novice hurdle, other than that he was second at Auteuil in September.

Paul runs Silviniaco Conti and Celestial Halo in the Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton and that’s going to be an interesting contest.

Celestial Halo continues to disappoint and, until he begins to show more, you really wouldn’t want to be with him.

Silviniaco Conti is a good horse, but doesn’t have a lot in his favour. Wincanton is a level track and all about speed.

That won’t play to Silviniaco’s strengths and, on top of that, he has to concede weight to Overturn and Millie Chief.

I think he will beat those two at level weights in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham, but wouldn’t be too confident can manage it here.

Willie Mullins runs Tawaagg in the beginners chase at Gowran Park today and will be particularly anxious to win this.

It is a race which honours the memory of the late Ronan Lawlor, so tragically killed when riding out at Pat Fahy’s. Ronan, of course, was one of Patrick Mullins’ best pals.

There is every reason to believe Tawaagg capable of scoring. It looks an ordinary race and Tawaagg jumped like a stag when narrowly beaten first time over fences at Leopaprdstown. He might actually have won, but for the final fence being omitted.

Scotsirish has been found a decent opportunity in the Grade 2 chase. I won on him last season at Fairyhouse and he has been mixing it with the best ever since. I’d say this is the first realistic chance he has since that day.

I’m looking forward to watching Dunguib in the Grade 2 hurdle. The handicapper has him 10lbs below Luska Lad and, off a mark like that, he’d have some shot at the Coral Cup or County Hurdle at Cheltenham.

The last occasion I thought a horse was a certainity in the Coral Cup, he swerved it for the Champion Hurdle. His name was Hardy Eustace and, of course, he went and won the Champion Hurdle.

Right what have we got for you at Naas tomorrow? Golden Silver is better than a pension plan and cannot be opposed in the Grade 2 chase.

Two others of Willie Mullins’ I fancy are Day Of A Lifetime in the novice hurdle and Samain in the bumper.

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