Ascot Saturday blog – Football & Racing News – Star Sports

… and so it begins – the busy Christmas period – I’m at Ascot on Saturday and thoughts on my five rides below. Thanks for reading the blogs and I wish you a very Happy Christmas writes HARRY SKELTON.





– 12:40pm Ascot Racecourse Supports Schools Photography Competition Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (GBB Race) (Class 4) 2m 7 1/2f

He’s been placed in two maiden hurdles and is now stepping up to three miles which will suit him. The handicapper seems to have given him a competitive mark, so this three-mile trip should bring out more improvement and the track and forecast ground at Ascot won’t cause any problems.



– 1:50pm Howden Handicap Chase (GBB Race) (Class 2) 2m 3f

I thought he ran alright at Cheltenham first time back, but he just got a little tired late on. He also struggled to get competitive in the deep ground the last day at Chepstow, so we’re going to Ascot with some cheekpieces on and will ride him very positively, which has suited him in the past. We expect the ground to be a bit better at Ascot which should definitely help him.

Saturday will really be his opportunity to show us that he’s still got it at the track and we’re hopeful that he can as we still see it at home. The handicapper has also given him a chance on the back of two poor efforts but we’re hopeful for somewhat of a revival in what will be a competitive race.



– 2:25pm Howden Long Walk Hurdle (Grade 1) (GBB Race) (Class 1) 3m 1/2f

We’re taking our chances with West Balboa (pictured below). She started nicely this season at Aintree but she now has to step up into Grade 1 company. The seven pounds she receives is a big help. She’s in great form and the plan was always to move her into this type of race. We will have to improve but she’s a lightly raced mare that is going in the right direction and the track and ground shouldn’t be any cause for concern.

Although she does stay three miles, it’s a really competitive race with plenty of runners to make a case for, but there are no negatives from our side. She’s an improving type and we hope she’s up to the grade.



– 3:00pm Howden Silver Cup Handicap Chase (Premier Handicap) (GBB Race) (Class 1) 3m

He’s put in two nice runs so far this season. We think Ascot suits him well and he’s taken a step forward since his last run. He’s off a competitive mark and should hold every chance in this race if he can improve a little. The step up back to three miles should also help him.

FAIVOIR (pictured below)


– 3:35pm Betfair Exchange Trophy (A Handicap Hurdle) (Premier Handicap) (GBB Race) (Class 1) 1m 7 1/2f

He ran well to finish second in a small field last time. We were prominent that day and he enjoyed running at a good pace, so we’ll be looking for the same here. He’s been running well at home and has plenty of experience in these big handicaps. This race is worth a lot of money so we think he’s got a really competitive chance.


We’ve got REAL STONE


running at Haydock in the 2m handicap chase. He was impressive last time out and we’re expecting the track and ground to really suit him. He should hold every chance.


I’ll be doing a couple more blogs over the Christmas period, but if there is one of ours to look out for, I would say it’s CHERIE D’AM in the first race at Aintree on Boxing Day.

Good Luck




Author: Eugene Morris