WHAT better way to prepare for Cheltenham than with a slog over three miles on soft ground at Ascot?
While most Festival hopefuls have had their final run before March, tomorrow’s Sodexo Reynoldstown Novices’ Chase (1.50pm) is a valuable race that’s attracted a handful of high class horses.
Pym’s latest run, a decisive eight-length win over the useful Imperial Aura at Cheltenham, put him right in the frame for this contest.
However, he was pulled out of a race at Cheltenham in October due to conditions becoming too testing and the ground has to be a concern.
On the contrary, Sam Brown only lines up if the mud is flying.
He has five wins from six starts, with the only blemish on that record coming on good ground.
After 750 days off, he registered two bloodless wins on heavy ground at Lingfield and Haydock.
Everything points towards another big run but it will have to be considering he has to give 5lbs to COPPERHEAD.
In winter ground at Newbury over Christmas, Colin Tizzard’s charge won with plenty up his sleeve and hasn’t been seen since.
This is his biggest test to date but conditions are perfect for him to prove he’s up to it, so take the 5/2, while the 16/1 on him following up in the RSA Chase next month is a decent price.
Another stamina test this weekend comes in the shape of the Haydock Grand National Trial (3.15pm).
Vintage Clouds and Lord Du Mesnil line up and look set to take things along at an honest gallop up front.
That could set the race up nicely for YALA ENKI, an out-and-out stayer who relishes soft ground.
He was a decisive winner over 3m4f at Taunton on heavy ground last month and looks the play at 6/1 with Ladbrokes.
Copperhead 1.50pm Ascot
Yala Enki e/w 3.15pm Haydock
Copperhead 16/1 e/w RSA (Cheltenham Festival)