WE’RE hoping that Tatenen can continue the great run of our novice chasers in the Intercasino.co.uk Molyneaux Novice Chase at Aintree today.
I’m in Aintree today and tomorrow, with plenty of good rides. And I’ve been looking forward to riding Tatenen over fences for a long time. He looks one of my best rides of the weekend.
This fellow is a four-year-old and ran only twice for Paul after he arrived from France. He ran a good second to Franchoek at Chepstow on his English debut but then disappointed behind the same horse at Cheltenham in January, when we chased the winner all the way before dropping away tamely.
Tatenen has schooled very well over fences and is potentially one of our best novice chasers, possibly an ‘Arkle’ candidate. And everyone in the yard has been looking forward to starting him over fences for a long time.
There are only five runners in today’s race, including Jessica Harrington’s Dreamy Gent. Striking Article, which won well at Hexham, runs for Howard Johnson. But he’ll have to be well above average to give Tatenen 9lb.
Another horse to note today is Rippling Ring, which has to carry top-weight in the opener, the Intercasino.co.uk Handicap Hurdle.
This horse came from South Africa, where he won twice and finished a good fourth to Jay Peg in a Group 1. And he took a long time to acclimatise to England. He only got his winter coat shortly before Cheltenham. So there’s good reason to expect plenty of improvement from him.
Rippling Ring ran twice last season, winning a novice hurdle really well at Doncaster before running a cracker to finish fifth in the Supreme Novices at Cheltenham, behind Captain Cee Bee, Binocular, Snap Tie and Kalahari King.
I think this fellow is a fair horse and, although he has to carry top-weight of 11-12 today, he has the potential to be better than his rating of 136.
American Trilogy, a three-time winner and listed-placed in France, is set to make his hurdling debut in the Warrens Of Warwick Maiden Hurdle.
He’s not overly big, but has schooled well and is showing all the right signs at home. He works well and, although the strength of the opposition is hard to assess, he should go close.
MY OTHER rides today are Osaka D’Airy and Bold Policy in the handicaps later on the card.
I haven’t ridden Osaka D-Airy before. And he’s probably facing a tough task under top-weight in the Yachties Bars Handicap Chase.
But Bold Policy, which I rode the last day at Chepstow, should have a chance in the last, when the step-up to three miles will suit him well.
He felt a bit green at Cheptstow and should improve for the run. He looks fairly handicapped and, if he's gone the right way, he could run a big race.
Plenty to look forward to tomorrow as well, the likes of Kicks For Free, Pierrot Lunaire and Galway Plate winner Oslot.
Kicks For Free should take plenty of beating in the Intercasino.co.uk Novice Chase over what is probably his ideal trip, two and a half miles.
He only had three runs last season and was very unlucky to be beaten a nose after running a cracker in the Coral Cup at Cheltenham.
He didn’t stay three miles in the good race, won by Blazing Bailey, at the big meeting at Aintree.
This horse has always looked a chaser in the making. I schooled him last week and everything went well. So he should take a bit of beating tomorrow.
I have the same feelings about Pierrot Lunaire, a very decent prospect, set to make his seasonal debut in the Class 2 four-year-old race.
Pierrot Lunaire just kept improving last season, winning his maiden at Taunton before being involved in a terrific battle with Binocular at Kempton, a race decided at the last hurdle, which Binocular flew and my horse missed.
But we didn’t see the best of Pierrot Lunaire until Aintree, where he beat older novices impressively in a Grade 2.
He’s putting his Champion Hurdle credentials on the line tomorrow. And I’ll be very disappointed if he doesn’t win.
Oslot did his job well in the Galway Plate. That was his Gold Cup and, in a way, anything he does for the rest of the season is a bonus.
He’s nicely weighted, with 10-8, in the big handicap chase today. But, realistically, it’s a big ask for him, facing horses like Voy Por Ustedes, Exotic Dancer and Monet’s Garden, all proven Grade 1 horses.
Oslot will be helped by the three fences in the straight, unlike the long, uphill run-in at Galway. But this represents a big step-up.
On the positive side, he’s fit and well and, if there are any chinks in those top weights, fitness-wise, he might be capable of putting it up to them in what should be a cracker.
Of my other rides tomorrow, Oberon Moon should figure prominently in the Liverpool Echo Handicap Hurdle, when he’ll love the step-up in trip.
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