Horse Racing Preview for ITV

13:50 Ascot - The Sodexo Reynoldstown Novices' Steeple Chase (Grade 2)


We start on ITV with the Grade Two Reynoldstown Novices Chase and Nicky Henderson is represented by the exciting Pym.

This seven year old jumped on the racing scene with big expectations going in the same silks as the mighty Altior but in bumpers and in his hurdles career he never quite got to grips with the task at hand.

However, he was always said to be bought as a chaser and he has turned into the horse they thought he would be running three times and having figures of 211.

On his second start of the season he landed a decent Novices Chase over course and distance of this race at Ascot and then backed that up with an even better performance at Cheltenham.

His jumping and staying ability will be put to the test again but for how well he has done this season you can only think more progressing is coming.

14:05 Haydock - The Rendlesham Hurdle Race (Grade 2)

The first big race of the day from Haydock is the Rendlesham Hurdle and in this Grade Two contest over three miles we like the veteran Clyne.

The 10 year old gelding for Evan Williams was a smart performer earlier in his career winning some smart races but now nearing the end of his career he has been vulnerable in races with conditions against him.

However, with the ground at the weekend set be heavy and the trip suiting perfectly it gives him a huge opportunity to get back on track.

14:25 Ascot - The Keltbray Swinley Chase (A Limited Handicap) (Listed Race)

The Keltbay Swinley Chase is another cracker on the card with this Listed field of runners all having ability over three miles ao far in their careers.

Trainer Kelly Morgan fields the interesting Red Indian who could throw down a bold challenge at a fair price if getting near his novice form of last season.

He has only ran once this season finishing fifth in the Peter Marsh Chase at Haydock and now on a very nice should enter the frame with improvement.

14:45 Wincanton - The Betway Kingwell Hurdle Race (Grade 2)

The only race at Wincanton on the ITV broadcast is the Grade Two Kingwell Hurdle and in this hot contest we are siding with the Dan Skelton trained Ch'tibello.

The nine year old has finished second in this event twice and this year's renewal looks slightly weaker than previous ones he has ran in.

The gelding is a Cheltenham festival winner when landing the County Hurdle at the festival last season and comes here off the back of a decent fifth in the Grade One Christmas Hurdle with the form from that already being franked.

15:00 Ascot - The Ascot Handicap Hurdle Race

The Give The Gift Of Ascot Annual Membership Handicap Hurdle over two mile and three furlongs looks a hot test and our selection is Eden Du Houx for trainer David Pipe.

The six year old has had a smart career for this successful trainer winning his point to point which saw him get the move to Pipe and after that he landed both his bumpers in fine style.

This season he has been sent hurdling and the gelding compared to his bumper life has found it tough, finishing second on his seasonal debut behind a smart horse for Olly Murphy.

He was then sent to jumps racing HQ where he was easily beaten in a five runner Grade Two contest but last time out he got back to winning ways when landing a strongly ran novices hurdle.

This confident booster at the end of January is a perfect prep run ahead of this Handicap Hurdle with the soft conditions playing to his strengths.

15:15 Haydock - The Grand National Trial Handicap Steeple Chase (Grade 3)

The big race of the day on Merseyside is the Grade Three Grand National Trial Handicap Chase and Elegant Escape is a proven stayer that is needed for these types of events.

The eight year old gelding has put some superb performances in over the years winning the Welsh Grand National last season and although only sixth in the same race this term his weight was huge.

He was a decent third in the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury again staying on from a long way back and having been a bigger price earlier in the week he has been gambled on.

He is the definition of stays longer than the mother-in-law and over three miles four furlongs you know he will be there at the end if his jumping is up to scratch.

15:35 Ascot - The Betfair Ascot Steeple Chase (Grade 1)

The stand out runner of the weekend is the highest rated jumps horse in the land with Cyrname looking to land back to back Ascot Chases.

The Paul Nicholls trained eight year old has been a superstar for the yard over the last 12 months landing this Grade One last year before dethroning Altior on his first start of the season.

After he romped to a 17 length victory in this contest last season he was posed as the highest rated horse in the sport which to many was baffling.

However, in November Cyrname took on Altior in the clash of the season and he managed to end Nicky Henderson's 19 race winning run in the 1965 Christy Chase.

After that Cyrname was set up as the King George VI Chase favourite at Kempton on Boxing Day but he was out battled by his stablemate and dual winner of the race Clan Des Obeaux.

Ascot to this horse is like Anfield to Liverpool, he is just at home and does his best work there and in a fair renewal of the contest he should prevail again.

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