JTwo of the best novice hunters from the last national hunt campaign will start their second season on fences in the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby on Saturday and Ahoy Señor (3.35) worth backing at around 2-1 to improve his career record against Bravemansgame to three wins to one.
Ahoy Senor’s fencing crumbled in the latter stages of the Kauto Star Novice Chase at the Kempton Christmas meeting, when Bravemansgame, early favorites in Saturday’s race, recorded their only success against him in three attempts.
Lucinda Russell’s top tier hunter was 30 steps ahead of Bravemansgame in the Mildmay Novice Chase at Aintree in April, however, and while Bravemansgame was clearly well below her best, there was also a feeling that everything had finally clicked for Ahoy Senor in terms of precise and consistent jumping in pace in the first year.
Wetherby’s flat track will also play to its strengths and the race looks like an ideal starting point as Russell charts the course for championship events next spring.
Ascot 1.30 Gochen is a sleek operator on right-handed slopes and is also coming into shape after a few strong performances on the flat, so he should be ready to make a winning start to his hunting career.
Up to 1.50 The shape of fall return her first victory over hurdles last month was backed by good weather that suggests she will be able to defy a penalty.
Ascot 2.05 Disappearances galore was making rapid progress in his final three races last season and is entering his second hurdles campaign on an achievable note.
Up to 2.25 Molly Olly’s Wishes is a solid and reliable operator at this level and should resume its successful seasonal debut in this race last year.
Ascot 2.40 The first, second and fourth from last season’s run of this valuable handicap hunt come back for another crack and Mr. Rooster is on a 2-pound lower mark, so he could improve on his narrow loss to Amoola Gold 12 months ago.
Up to 3.00 Sporting John’s his hunting career fizzled out after a win as a freshman as a novice in February 2021, but he found his calling as a remaining hurdler last season when he progressed through the handicaps to become a potential contender at Stayers’ Hurdle. He won for the first time in 2021 and should have enough in his hands to do it again.
Ascot 3.15 Whereas our power recorded two wins and an excellent fifth – from 2 pounds on the weights – at the Cheltenham Festival in his first season on the fences, there was still an air of unfinished business about him and he starts the new campaign on an unchanged score. He’s fine right-handed and he definitely has a run like this in him this term.
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