Teaplanter previews Saturday's racing and has picked out 4 horses at Ascot and Wincanton.
The withdrawal of Duke Des Champs, in favour of his Haydock assignment has reduced the competitiveness of this contest to some extent, but it is still a fascinating affair and it is one where we will take on the favourite Yala Enki. The Venetia Williams trained son of Nickname has had a very good season and has run very well in handicap company, with a win at Kempton and a very good Sandown run last time. However his improvement may have levelled out and he could find giving 3lb to Premier Bond beyond him.
At present there is no form in the book that really suggests Premier Bond should win this, but he is a stoutly bred son of Kayf Tara out of the very good mare Celtic Native and the manner of his Newbury win last time suggested that he could improve significantly when stepped up beyond 2 miles. He stayed on very well at the end of that race and his handicap rating of 137 might look stiff enough at present, but the extra stamina test that he will face today could see him in much better light. He is a horse that we have on our radar for the Martin Pipe race at Cheltenham and he very much appeals as the horse open to the most improvement in this field.
1.5 points win Premier Bond at 5/2 with Stan James
Ascot 4:45 - Calling Des Blins
Theatre Territory heads the market here after a very encouraging run in a bumper at Cheltenham last time, when she was 3rd behind two very talented mares in Copper Kay and Which One is Which. That clearly sets the standard, but she is short in the betting today and if she races as freely as she did last time, then she might struggle to stay on well enough in the closing stages.
The mare we like here is the Harry Fry trained Calling Des Blins. This 4 year old daughter of Konig Turf has loads of scope and she was quite impressive when winning a bumper at Angouleme on her only start last March. She stayed on very well at the end of that contest and she beat some very useful performers including Connetable, who has proved his talent for Paul Nicholls already this season. She has been given plenty of time off since then and she should have matured physically. If she builds on that debut effort, she will take a lot of beating and looks the call against the favourite, although a big run from the Tom Lacey trained Isle of Ewe would also not surprise at 20/1. The trainer remains underrated and has supplied a number of big priced bumper runners that have either run very well or won.This nicely bred sort must be respected and is worth an interest at 20/1 each way.
1 point win Calling Des Blins at 11/4 with Bet365, Coral , William Hill and others
0.5 points each way Isle of Ewe at 20/1 each way with Bet365
Wincanton 5:05 - Black Corton
The 133 rated Gala Ball heads the market here, but the 6 year old has to give 6lbs to what could be a very useful recruit from France for Paul Nicholls.
Black Corton showed loads of promise on his hurdling debut for Foucher at Auteuil last time, when he was 2nd to the talented Bipolaire. He had previously won a bumper at Le Pin Au Haras and built on this with an eye catching staying on at the finish effort, after finding himself poorly positioned in the straight. The winner is a very useful animal and the manner in which Black Corton ran suggested that he would improve plenty for the run. A trip of in excess of this 2 miles is likely to suit him better going forward and not all the Nicholls imports have shown their ability on their UK debut this year, but he looks a horse that could compete in graded races before the season is over and he is the value call here against the skinny favourite.
1 point win Black Corton at 4/1 with BetVictor, Ladbrokes and Betfair Sports