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The Mandarin’s Saturday Selections for 17th February 2024

The Mandarin’s Saturday Selections from Wincanton, Haydock Park, Ascot & Gowran Park


Jennings Bet Kingwell Hurdle (Grade 2) 2.05
Course and distance winner Rubaud could be the answer in a tricky looking race, where a case can be made for all five. Goshen won this race in 2021 & 2022 but has not yet set light to this season’s campaign, while Welsh Champion Hurdle winner, Nemean Lion is very good, but might not act on ground this deep. Colonel Mustard and Guard Your Dreams both have claims but the progressive Rubaud takes the chance on this heavy going. If Paul Nicholls’s Air Chief Marshal gelding can cope with this ground, every chance

Haydock Park

Virgin Bet Every Saturday Money Back Mares’ Hurdle (Listed) 1.02
You Wear It Well
Jamie Snowden holds the ace in the pack here with You Wear It Well, who has gone from strength to strength after landing the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival last year. That said, she’ll have to prove that she can act on Haydock’s sticky ground, but is sure to give it a good effort from the front. Not much bang for your buck, but You Wear It Well is the class act of this field and should score at this level

Virgin Bet Rendlesham Hurdle (Grade 2) 2.40
Butch (nb)
The highly progressive Butch can maintain the unbeaten record stepping into Graded company. He’s racked up four wins from his last five starts, and with no concerns over this ground looks sure to figure. Certainly not thrown in to this Grade 2, and with trainer Olly Murphy in fine form, has to be high on the shortlist

Virgin Bet Grand National Trial Handicap Chase (Premier Handicap) 3.15
Famous Bridge
The noted silks of Trevor Hemmings are likely to be seen at the business end of things in this Grand National Trial. Both Iron Bridge and Famous Bridge line up in the Yellow & Green quartered silks, and both have every chance of scoring here. However, it’s going to be a real test of stamina on Haydock Park’s heavy ground, so Famous Bridge gets the nudge. He won twice here before Christmas on similar going, and won’t be lacking for effort when plenty of others have thrown in the towel. Iron Bridge has strong form too, with a runners-up spot to Nassalam in the Welsh Grand National standing out, so these are the two to keep on side

Albert Bartlett Prestige Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 2) 4.25
Isaac Des Obeaux
In a decent looking renewal, plenty to make a case for, but Isaac Des Obeaux and Bryony Frost will try to take things from the front here. That’s where Bryony is happiest, and that’s how Isaac Des Obeaux likes to run his race, so the tactics should be clear from the off. If this pair can repel all-comers from the front, this Grade 2 is for the taking on ground to suit


Sodexo Live! Reynoldstown Novices’ Chase (Grade 2) 1.50
Apple Away (nap)
Lucinda Russell will be hoping that Apple Away returns to a hot spell of spring form that saw her bring up the hat-trick last year, with a win in the Grade 1 Sefton Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree capping it all. Her novice chasing campaign has got off to a decent start with a win at Leicester on heavy ground before bumping into the smart Grey Dawning at Warwick in a Grade 2. In receipt of weight from all the field here, and easy to back with conditions to suit

Betfair Ascot Chase (Grade 1) 3.36
Pic D’orhy
A terrific race in store for the feature, where Venetia Williams’s L’homme Presse is sure to get plenty of support. However, her stable star had a really tough race against Protektorat in the Fleur De Lys at Lingfield four weeks ago, so Pic D’orhy, who has had a week longer to recover from his last run, looks a big danger. In recent times, Pic D’orhy has has a super record at Ascot, so is taken to serve it up to the jolly

Gowran Park

Red Mills Trial Hurdle (Grade 3) 2.17
What’s Up Darling
Gordon Elliott holds the key to this Grade 3 with What’s Up Darling. This is an easier assignment than the Royal Bond when he was last seen, and was far from disgraced when fifth of eight to Farren Glory in that Grade 1. Henry de Bromhead sends out Lantry Lady, who’s been well backed in the ante-post markets, but What’s Up Darling is race hardened so gets the nudge

Red Mills Chase (Grade 2) 3.27
Saint Sam
Not seen since falling at Listowel back in September, but the class act of this field if fully tuned up for a return to action. With Gordon Elliott’s Riviere D’etel having a fine season, Saint Sam will need to be at his best as he gives away 7lbs, but Riviere D’etel was in the Opera Hat at Naas just a week ago so it’s a quick turnaround. Saint Sam to defy top weight and score Grade 2 honours for Willie Mullins

The Mandarin

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