The crowd will surely be cheering home Present Man, in Saturday’s Silver Trophy Handicap Chase at Wincanton, but Seymour Biz believes that one of Colin Tizzard’s inmates won’t look a gift horse in the mouth as he did last month at the same venue. He’s backing White Moon to get it right, this time around. Find all previous UK racing previews in his weekly column: Saturday Horse Racing Tips.
It’s a very big day at Wincanton this Saturday with their biggest meeting of the season. The centrepiece of the day is the £60,000 Badger Beers Trophy which has a fine turnout of chasers to try to overturn Present Man’s superiority in the race as he goes for a hat-trick of wins. The ITV cameras are at the Somerset track in abundance to cover four races and their coverage is backed up by a Chase over the Mildmay fences at Aintree and three flat races from Doncaster. That flat meeting is the last hurrah of the season for that code and the highlight is the November Handicap so I have given my thoughts on it below along with this week’s Lucky 15.
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Starting at Aintree with the Virgin Bet Handicap Chase at 2.40 over the Mildmay fences. This 2m 4f contest was won last year by War Sound and Phillip Hobbs’s 10-year-old returns to defend the crown he won last season. That was his only win since 2015 and he was unable to add to it as the season wore on, failing to make the frame on three occasions. He had a run at Punchestown in May but was pulled up there and I am not of the opinion he can reprise last year’s victory. Favourite and top weight here is Cepage trained by Venetia Williams who has not been out for 11 months when he ran second at Cheltenham, I consider he may need the run. Duke Street has won his last three races including a fine victory at Cheltenham last time out, but Dr Richard Newland’s charge is up 8lb for that win and looks on a high mark now. The one I like is near the bottom of the handicap, Dan Skelton’s Oldgrangewood who has run third in his last two races, both times over these fences. It is reported he has had a wind operation ready for this campaign and he can make a winning start here.
At Wincanton the 1.50 is the Richard Barber Memorial Mares Handicap Hurdle over 2m 5f. Nicky Henderson has Casablanca Mix here and she has been saddled with top weight after two victories during the summer months including a Listed contest. She may have too much to carry for my liking. Organdi from Richard Phillip’s yard has had a cracking start to the season winning last time out at Ludlow but she is moving up in class here. The same is the case for Stuart Edmunds’s Deputy Oscar who seems to prefer Market Rasen. Sixty’s Belle won a good race at Newton Abbot in May and she had previously run second in a Class 1 contest at Newbury, so Tom Symonds’s mare is not without a chance. Alan King says of Midnightreferendum that she is ‘just about’ ready to start back and that does not seem a good recommendation to me. But Paul Nicholls has had this race as a target for Danse Idol ever since she won at Fontwell in May. She performed well all last season culminating in that victory and she can go on to higher things this term starting with this contest.
The big race of the day is at 3.35, the Badger Beers Silver Trophy Handicap Chase over 3m1f. The main story of this race is Paul Nicholls’s Present Man going for a hat-trick of victories in this race after winning it in 2017 and 2018, he did very little after winning last year but may still go well. Lil Rockerfeller has had a couple of runs already this season for trainer Neil King, the latest at Chepstow where he was second behind Ballyoptic, but he is moving up in class here. He had Cloth Cap and Royal Vacation behind him that day and I would expect him to confirm those placings. The Young Master is fit from the flat and won his first two last season so trainer, Neil Mulholland, will have him spot on for this, he may well put in a good run here. White Moon fell at the last here in October when he had the race at his mercy, he had Beau Du Brizais and Sumkindofking well beaten before his unfortunate error. He was balloted out at Cheltenham a fortnight ago when fancied but he can make amends here and I just give Colin Tizzard’s charge the nod over The Young Master.
Finally, finally we come to the end of the 2019 flat season with the 3.15 at Doncaster, the November Handicap. There is a very strong field for this, the last major handicap of the season with all the top trainers represented. Peter Chappell-Hyam has the favourite here with Deja, a winner of his last four races, the latest being on the all-weather in July. He is very lightly raced and I have some concerns about how he performs on heavy going. Alan King is talking up the prospects of his old-stager Scarlet Dragon and he is hoping for a big run from the 6-year-old, but he has not won for three years and I cannot share King’s optimism. Indianapolis won at Leicester last time on heavy going and should handle the ground OK, but he has a 3lb penalty for that win and seems to have to much weight here. So what is required is a horse that will handle the going and is racing off a handy mark, the answer to these questions could be Ian Williams’s Reshoun. He was third in this race last year after winning on heavy ground at Haydock, this year he has never got the going he requires but has still run some good races despite that. He can bring the curtain down on a great flat season both for himself and the whole racing industry.
Saturday Lucky 15
2.40 Aintree. Oldgrangewood
1.50 Wincanton. Danse Idol
3.35 Wincanton. White Moon
3.15 Doncaster. Reshoun