Paddy Power Blog columnist Ruby Walsh discusses his rides on Saturday, November 2, and rates some of trainer Paul Nicholls’ chances in racing at Wetherby, Ascot and Down Royal
Wetherby, John Smiths Hurdle, 2.50
Paul Nicholls is pretty happy with Tidal Bay. He prefers to be sat in and let warm up to find his feet. We’ll ride him like that today. He’s in good form and we’re hoping for a good run. He might go to Haydock in three weeks’ time for the Betfair Chase. Big engine – depends on the mood.
Wetherby, Charlie Hall Chase, 3.25
Silviniaco Conti is not an old horse. He was very good over hurdles the season before last, and over fences last year. He didn’t do much wrong, other than one disappointing run at Ascot. He’s a horse with a lot of potential. As he’s a Grade 2 winner over fences he just has a 5lb penalty today, rather than a 10lb penalty the Grade One winners have to carry. We’re hoping he can go very close. If he’s going to progress to a King George horse, or maybe a Gold Cup horse in time, with the greatest respect to the horses that are running today, he has to be beating them.
Down Royal, Champion Chase, 2.25
Sizing Europe is a non-runner so all eyes are on Kauto Stone. He started very well last year when he won at Down Royal. His second run was great too, when he went to the Tingle Creek and came up second best to Sizing Europe. Things went a bit pear-shaped then. He was far too free with me at Ascot. He fell at the first in the Champion Chase, which was unlike him because he’s a very good jumper. He had a big reputation when he came from France and looked to be living up to it early on. He’s not the biggest horse in the world and maybe the weights they have to carry in England and Ireland is the issue. He has 11lb 10 on his back today. But he’s a horse with a big engine and with Sizing Europe out it could make it a bit easier for him.
Down Royal, Ladbrokes Chase, 3.00
Like a lot of Paul Nicholls’ horses at Cheltenham, they were not right, and Cristal Bonus ran very disappointingly behind Sir Des Champs. It looks a match between himself and Bog Warrior, a horse I know well as well. I won a Grade 1 chase and a maiden hurdle on Bog Warrior. It’ll be a good race. They’re two similar horses who like to be up on the pace. They both jump very well. It’ll be a match from a long way out between the two of them.
Ascot, Underwriting Beginners’ Chase, 1.25
Rolling Aces travelled extremely well at Cheltenham and I thought half-way down the hill he would win, but when he jumped the second last he got a bit tired. He looks every bit a chaser. He’s a fine, big, good-looking horse. Fences were always going to be his forte.
Ascot, Priority Prices handicap Hurdle, 2.35
He’s had a breathing op which will be a big help. He did not handle the ground at all in the Imperial Cup. He hosed up with me at Taunton before that. Hopefully this operation will bring an improvement.
Ascot, United House Gold Cup Handicap Chase, 3.10
Poquelin, being French, has been on the go since he’s very young, and is better in handicaps than graded races. He’s been a better horse going left than right. That might be his problem. Join Together runs as well and it’s a funny race. Three miles around Ascot, you imagine it is stamina sapping but you need a bit of pace to hold your position. I hope Join Together doesn’t get too out-paced.