The festive racing continues with excellent racing on Sunday, including the Welsh National at Chepstow where Paul Nicholls has two solid chances...
"Best Chance: Mr Glass - 15:20 Wetherby. We have a smart team of bumper horses this season and Mr Glass is giving us the right signals at home."
French recruit jumps and works well
He is a nice recruit from France where he was beaten a short head on his only start in August at Clairefontaine ridden by a lady amateur jockey. It's hard to get a handle on the value of that form but he jumps well and works well and I'm looking forward to running him.
In top form and I expect a big run
I fancied him on his debut over fences just over a month ago at Wincanton where he jumped for fun on his way to winning a novice handicap easily. While he bolted in that day this is a completely different task but he has improved enormously physically and mentally this season. It's in his favour that he ran really well in the Betfair Hurdle in February and is in top form at home. I expect him to run a big race.
Switching back to hurdles
She was a bit disappointing on her debut over fences at Fontwell last month when she never got into a rhythm. So I'm switching her back to hurdles now in a race in which she was third 12 months ago. I'm hoping she is ready to run tidily in it again in a first time tongue tie.
Is in seriously good order and good run expected
There is plenty of rain around on Saturday night and that will be in the favour of Duc De Genievres who ran a terrific race on his debut for us in the Shloer Chase at Cheltenham six weeks ago. He jumped for fun and was only collared late on by the Arkle winner Put The Kettle On. Duc Des Genievres is a good staying two miler who likes to get on with things so that is what we let him do. He has improved since Cheltenham, is in seriously good order and will run well. I've taken off the hood he wore last time.
Wouldn't be surprised if he runs a big race
He was a shade disappointing on his return at Ascot and is on a stiff enough mark. But Kempton seems to suit him and he has run well in this race before. The plan as usual is to get him settled early on and then try and produce him with a late challenge. A big run from Adrien wouldn't be a surprise.
Conditions will suit
I thought he ran very well last time at Newbury a month ago until fading late on as he found the trip a bit too far for him. So I'm dropping him back half a mile in this and can see him being much more competitive in conditions that suit. Solid each-way chance in a first time tongue tie.
Should improve for the experience
He is a nice horse for the future who ran with promise in a bumper at Newton Abbot early in October where he showed signs of greenness. He is coming along steadily, has done plenty of schooling over hurdles and shouldn't be too far away though I'd expect him to improve for the experience.
Drop back in trip might do the trick
I'm scratching my head that My Way is still looking for his first win over fences after 11 attempts. He is a slick jumper who always travels well and won a maiden hurdle nicely at Stratford before fading late on in the Badger Ales Chase after looking like the winner between the last two fences. He didn't get home next time over three miles. His best run last season was over two miles, three and a half furlongs at Ascot in heavy ground in a good race with a light weight. So we are hoping that dropping him back in trip with a light weight in this will do the trick.
Settled in nicely and looks a smart juvenile
He is an interesting recruit from France who has been pleasing us since he arrived early last month. We bought him at the sales early in November shortly after winning at Auteuil. I don't normally run newcomers so quickly but he settled in straight away and has adapted beautifully to our routine. He is working great, seems to be improving and looks to be a smart juvenile. I really like what I see and just hope he has acclimatised enough to give a good account of himself.
Lots in his favour for a late challenge
He probably should have won last time at Sandown because he got to the front too soon, travelling strongly, then pulled himself up on the run in and was caught close home. Previously at Lingfield Bryony Frost timed her run on him to perfection, waited and waited before challenging late and popping his head in front in the line. Track, trip and ground will suit Storm Arising and Bryony will again be trying to produce him as late as she can.
Yala looks rock solid while Truckers can go well again in this race
Conditions will be ideal for both of ours in the Welsh National. Yala Enki stays all day, has gone close in the race for the last two years and is again a big player despite carrying top weight. He did brilliantly at Cheltenham in November when he was only just chinned by Ramses de Teillee. That was a career best in my book but he then over jumped at the first in the Becher Chas at Aintree which was just one of those things. He looks rock solid in a race tailor made for him.
Truckers Lodge is nice and fresh and was fine after he unluckily unseated Lorcan William at Kelso the day I expected him to go close. He is a relentless galloper and ran clean away with the Midlands Grand National just before lockdown, although the handicapper had his say afterwards by raising him 14lbs. Truckers Lodge ran a blinder in this race a year ago to be beaten less than two lengths by Potters Corner and will give a good account again though it will be harder for him from his new handicap mark.
Has schooled nicely
He goes over fences for the first time in this novice handicap after a cracking run in the competitive Listed three mile handicap hurdle at Haydock where he stayed on all the way to the line. It can't be soft enough for Highland Hunter who has schooled nicely over fences and must have a decent chance.
Much better run expeted
He blew out when a hot favourite on his debut for us at Wincanton two months ago. It turned out the ground was too quick for him that day and in hindsight he probably wasn't quite ready to run as we hadn't had him long enough. He has improved physically no end since then and it's encouraging that he won on soft ground in France. With our useful amateur Angus Cheleda taking off a handy 7lbs I'm looking for a much better show from from Hacker Des Places.
Big chance for horse that worked well recently
He ran a race full of promise on his debut at Newbury early last month, staying on strongly to be a good third in a competitive bumper. I think he would have been even closer if we had had more use of him. My daughter Megan was very impressed when she rode him in a piece of work on Saturday morning and she takes over in the saddle at Wetherby. Testing conditions will suit Mr Glass, a lovely horse who has improved since Newbury. Big chance.