Betfair Ambassador Donald McCain runs through every horse he intends to run on Friday at the feature jumps meetings...
12:45 Haydock - Ubaltique
He probably got racing a bit too soon when third at Ayr last time - he pressed on with something else a long way out and didn't really get home as a result - so we're likely to ride him with more patience this time. It's not the best of handicaps for the money, he should cope with the ground and, fingers crossed, he'll have come on again for the Ayr run.
13:55 Haydock - Super Duty
Ideally, he'd probably prefer slightly better ground than it's likely to be here, but we've been aiming him at this race for a while and he'll be much happier at this trip than he was over two miles at Carlisle on his chasing debut. It's a competitive race but he is one my better novice chase prospects and I was happy with the way he jumped at Carlisle. If he jumps the same way here then it'll be disappointing if he doesn't go very close - I do think he's pretty good.
14:30 Haydock - Clondaw Kaempfer
I was really pleased with him at Aintree. This obviously represents a step up in grade for him and a step back in trip, too, but I don't think that'll bother him on the ground and the race has cut up a bit from the six-day stage. I'll leave the riding tactics to Jason but it wouldn't bother me if he ends up making the running on him - so far, he's looked the sort of horse we can do whatever we want with him so far as tactics are concerned. He showed at Aintree that he can cope with the mud but I don't think he needs bad ground - he's by Oscar, and all the ones I've had are at least as good on better ground.
15:05 Haydock - Corrin Wood
This looks a good race. He's a nice horse and he was obviously beaten by a pretty good one (Coneygree) at Uttoxeter. I would expect him to have come on a bit for that given that it was only the second race of his career and we know he stays and acts on the ground; he jumps well, too, but, even so, it wouldn't surprise me if he finds one or two too good in this company - I know David Pipe thinks a lot of his (Gevrey Chambertin) - and I'm really hoping that he just runs another nice race.
I had to ring Weatherbys about this one as I'd noticed in the paper that he only had a penalty for winning at Carlisle whereas he should have another one for winning in France as well. And there's no doubt he'd have been disqualified if he'd run carrying the wrong weight! There's a big field for this and 90% of them haven't run before so we don't know what's in there, but as he's got that double penalty I thought it'd best to take 10 lb off by using Paul O'Neill. He's a likeable horse who goes well at home and should cope with the ground at Haydock if his Carlisle effort is anything to go by. This run will tell us whether we can go to the bumper at Cheltenham on New Year's Day with him - that's the race Cinders And Ashes was touched off in a few years ago - or kick on over hurdles instead.
15:50 Ascot - Bourne
We had a few options for him this weekend and decided that Ascot was the best one. I didn't really want to run him against Ile de Re on Saturday and would rather he went to Ascot on account of the ground being better than at Haydock. Henry gets on well with him and we know he's back in good nick judged on his run at Chepstow last time. You couldn't say he would have won without that mistake three out but he'd obviously have run well and I think he will again here; the ground should be slow enough to make it enough of a test even though he's down in trip and I'm hopeful he'll be thereabouts.