I’m thrilled to be heading back to Ascot for their first raceday of the year. It’s a track I really enjoy riding at and I’m lucky to have had a good strike rate there in the past. Fingers crossed for more of the same on Saturday.
The boss, Paul Nicholls, is the leading trainer of the Clarence House Chase with five career winners, so hopefully Politologue and I can hit our rivals for six and get the job done!
There’s no two ways about it, I’m absolutely delighted to get back on Politologue again, having last ridden him in 2019. I schooled Politologue both on Monday and yesterday morning, he’s in fine fettle.
Politologue has been a fantastic horse at the top level for many years, I remember winning the Tingle Creek with him four years ago when I was only 19.
It was one of my first big rides for Paul, so the pressure was on slightly, but thankfully Politologue jumped great and travelled brilliantly throughout and we ended up winning in a close finish.
He’s one of the horses that that got me noticed on the big stage, so I owe him a huge debt already.
In terms of tactics on Saturday, I probably won’t change too much – why would you when he’s run so well on his last two starts!
We’ll set off at a good pace and attack the first few fences, so his jumping hopefully gets into a good rhythm.
It’s a competitive race though, both Waiting Patiently and Defi Du Seuil are top-class horses.
Defi Du Seuil, if he bounces back to form, will be the main danger for me. He won this race last year and looked an absolute monster in the process. He’s lost his way a touch since then, but he’s still a young horse, so it’d be no surprise to see him bounce back.
Waiting Patiently ran a cracking race on Boxing Day in the King George VI Chase but he’s running over 2 miles on Saturday which is probably short of his optimal distance.
Politologue is without doubt in my mind the one to beat and his last two impressive victories back that up.
If we win the Clarence House on Saturday, Politologue will cement himself as the leading contender for the Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, certainly out of the English horses.
1:15 – Eglantine Du Seuil in the Grade 2 Matchbook Betting Podcast Mares’ Hurdle
Her last run round Cheltenham was a really solid performance. She stayed on well which is a good sign as we’ll no doubt be racing on stamina sapping soft ground at Ascot.
It’s a competitive little race with real top-quality mares in there. Both Roksana and Magic Of Light are consistent performers and set the standard. I think my mare will run well, but she’ll need to improve from the last day to be in the mix with the two favourites.
He probably didn’t stay in his last race – a three mile contest in heavy ground at Cheltenham. However, on Saturday, he’s going back to two miles, three furlongs at Ascot which is much more his bag.
His work rider, Donna, has said he’s in flying form so I think he’s in with a great shout this weekend.
2:25 – Favorito Buck’s in the Matchbook Best Odds Handicap Chase
He’s crept down the handicap over the course of his last four or five runs which betters his chances. He has good form at Ascot, so I think I’d rate him a decent Each-Way chance.
3:00 – Capeland in the bet365 Handicap Chase
4:10 – Jeremy Pass in the Matchbook Betting Exchange British EBF ‘National Hunt’ Novices’ Hurdle
I really like this horse; he beat a good horse called Sizeable Sam to win at Wincanton last time out. Sizeable Sam has then gone on to win his next two races so that looks rock solid form.
He’s a big horse and he’s progressing really well. The soft ground shouldn’t be an issue either. Politologue aside I’d say he’s my best chance of a Saturday winner.