Headgear angle could be key in this competitive staying handicap chase
Virgin Bet Masters Handicap Chase | 3m | 5yo+ | ITV4/RTV
Headgear could play a part in the outcome of this race because three of the seven runners are sporting new aids, with Danny Whizzbang and Deise Aba trying cheekpieces and Dominateur blinkers.
Turn the clock back 12 months and Dominateur was well fancied for the Grade 2 Towton Novices’ Chase at Wetherby after back-to-back wins at Chepstow, but he was well held and hasn’t threatened in three starts since. He is down 6lb, but needs to stage a revival.
In a remarkable coincidence, Ask Me Early lines up after winning the same two Chepstow contests Dominateur landed last season and connections will be hoping his career doesn’t follow the same downward spiral. Ask Me Early’s RPR’s are going in the opposite direction and this point winner is making his fifth start under rules.
Race analysis by Graeme Rodway
Saturday's tipping and analysis:
What they say
Paul Nicholls, trainer of Danny Whizzbang
He’s in slightly calmer waters compared to the Ladbrokes Trophy. He won’t mind the ground and I’m hopeful of a better run this time.
Jamie Snowden, trainer of Kiltealy Briggs
He was a good novice hurdler yet always promised to be a better chaser. He ran a fine race over an inadequate trip in a graduation race at Carlisle first time over fences and stepped up on that performance at Ascot in a Grade 2 when third behind Allart. We’re going back up to three miles with him on his handicap debut, and I think he’s got a decent chance.
Oliver Sherwood, trainer of Dominateur
He was slightly disappointing in the Welsh National, but the ground went against him. Remarkably, considering the wet weather we’ve had this winter, it had dried up to soft, good to soft on the day, and he definitely wants heavy in that sort of company. He’s laid-back and we’re putting the blinkers on for the first time to make him travel better. He's genuine, will love the conditions and has been to Sandown before. I just hope he shows his novice form again.
Philip Hobbs, trainer of Deise Aba
He has run shockingly in two races at Haydock and Chepstow and I have no idea why so we're fitting cheekpieces. He undoubtedly has ability and has been schooling well so I hope he can bounce back.
Harry Fry, trainer of Ask Me Early
He’s thrived since switching to fences, and we’re hopeful he can continue that progression. His mark of 135 is fair.
Olly Murphy, trainer of Calipso Collonges
I think he'll outrun his price. He's in good form, will be suited by coming back to three miles and he's running in the right race. He has Fergus Gregory back on him and he could run quite well.
Reporting by Richard Birch
Saturday's race previews and analysis:
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