ITV Racing Preview - 16/02/2019

13:35 The Sodexo Reynoldstown Novices' Steeple Chase (Grade 2)

Mister Malarky can roll onto the next level in the first race of the afternoon from Ascot and live on ITV - the Grade Two Sodexo Reynoldstown Novices' Chase.

Two wins from three since stepped up to fences, and was prolific last time out at Newbury.

He looked to have conquered the form of that smart Christmas Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day won by Glen Rocco, as the 6yo cruised to a simple success over Carlos Du Fruitier who finished third in that contest - and like the Mick Channon-trained 7yo, he runs at Sandown on Friday.

Won at Plumpton earlier this season too on his chasing bow, and very much a contender here stepping up in grade.

13:45 Betway Heed your hunch Handicap Steeple Chase

Gino Trail leads the way for the first of two live races from Wincanton - the Class Two Betway Heed Your Hunch Handicap Chase over two miles, and despite carrying top weight, we believe nothing should get near him.

That comes off the basis of his second at Sandown not too long ago to the useful Dolos - trained by Paul Nicholls.

Has been involved in graded affairs for such a long time now and always ran with great credit - including his outstanding display when just being denied the Grand Annual at the Cheltenham Festival last season.

This very much his level, and will be hard to oppose.

13:55 The William Hill Rendlesham Hurdle Race (Grade 2)

Shades Of Midnight can take one of the most competitive races of the day - also one of the features: the Grade Two William Hill Rendlesham Hurdle.

Strong form in late 2018 including a Grade Three second in November and won smartly last time out in a Class 3 small field event at Kelso but will really need to up his game here.

His second was behind Paisley Park who as we know is a superb horse and the current favourite for the Stayers Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival this year.

Big form chance, and can capitalise on a few of these returning from a break.

14:10 The Keltbray Swinley Chase (A Limited Handicap) (Listed Race)

Black Corton - remember him? Last season's Kauto Star Novices Chase winner now sticks with Listed Company for the Keltbray Swinley Chase just shy of three miles.

Three efforts this term - two of which saw him finish as the runner-up in hot contested prizes.

Beginning the season with a good second in the Charlie Hall - given the fact he almost departed mid race, before like many, were pulled up in the Ladbrokes Trophy.

He battled on gamely in Listed company at his beloved Kempton, when snatching second on the line, and should definitely be a key player in the race's outcome.

A previous course winner will certainly deliver a challenge.

14:30 The Red Mills Steeple Chase(Grade 2)

With Presenting Percy, Monalee can pick up the pieces in an intriguing four runner field for the Grade Two Red Mills Chase over at Gowran Park in Ireland for ITV's third weekend visit in a row.

Second to Percy at the Cheltenham Festival last year, this 8yo also had to sit next best in the Savills Chase at Leopardstown over Christmas to Mullins-trained Kemboy - but a very creditable effort on paper.

Beat both Road To Respect and Bellshill that day - the two that fought out the finish in the Irish Gold Cup a couple of weekend's ago, and looks a major danger here.

Seems a lifetime ago Monalee actually made his racecourse debut here in a bumper back in 2016.

14:45 Denman Steeple Chase

With Native River out, Clan Des Obeaux looks to have a golden opportunity on his hands to promote his claims for next month's Magners Gold Cup at the Cheltenham Festival in the rearranged Denman Chase.

Winner of the King George at Kempton, he appears to be the leading chance out of two for Paul Nicholls [Frodon]- who reported on Sky Sports Racing on Tuesday afternoon that both horses are in fine order - and more significantly do not require flu jabs resulting in them being able to race.

The King George form is always going to be strong, with Nicholls suggesting that the 7yo has come on leaps and bounds since racing at Haydock in the Betfair - which was very much a learning curve.

Poses good speed and has plenty of years ahead of him.

15:00 The Betway Kingwell Hurdle Race (Grade 2)

Alan King has not confirmed where his minimum distanced chaser will go at Cheltenham, but gives him a runout in the Grade Two Betway Kingwell Hurdle - the second of two live races from Somerset.

Only ever been beaten twice as a chaser, the first defeat being very narrow, before simply outclassed by Altior in the Tingle Creek.

No disgrace in being someway behind a champion of that calibre, but King will beg the question, of which direction does he send his talented 7yo in?

Many of King's horses now returning from a winter break, and Sceau Royal has a chance to shine brightest once against here.

15:20 Betfair Hurdle

Getaway Trump remains ahead of the handicapper, after his excellent second in the Challow behind Champ at Newbury, and now looks a leading contender for the rearranged Grade Three Betfair Hurdle.

Will hope for a good gallop - which there always is in the Betfair, and now drops back in trip to two miles where he enjoyed success at Exeter back in December.

Looks a big danger, and can enhance his claims for the novice events at Cheltenham next month with a quality performance here.

Trainer has had a good record in this, with a winner and a runner-up in the past seven years and looks to have another promising young prospect.

15:35 The William Hill Grand National Trial Handicap Steeple Chase (Grade 3)

A large field go for the Grade Three William Hill Grand National Trial Handicap Chase over all of three-and-a-half miles, and we've whittled it down to Impulsive Star and Carole’s Destrier.

Impulsive Star won the 3m5f Classic Chase at Warwick last month - the same race One For Arthur won before his National success in 2017, and this 9yo remain unexposed in marathon handicaps with 3lb claimer Sam Waley Cohen aboard.

Carole's Destrier meanwhile was back to winning ways two starts ago at Newbury, before just tailing away up the run-in behind Impulsive Star in the East Midlands.

Excellent from stacked up, and BOTH should play a part in the finish.

15:55 Ascot Chase

Ruth Jefferson opted to skip the Dublin Racing Festival with Waiting Patiently, who will now bids for back-to-back Ascot Chases in the day's feature which brings an end to the coverage on ITV.

His victory in this last season over old fan-favourite Cue Card extended his unbeaten run over fences to seven, before coming to grief in the King George nearly two months ago - when being brought down as a result of Bristol De Mai's early departure.

Officially unbeaten chasing when standing up to his fences, he looks a leading contender at next month's Festival; with his trainer Jefferson already confirming his future date to be in the Ryanair and NOT the Gold Cup.

Can do his claims no harm here and is one of the young rising stars in the division.