Daily Star



WITH Cheltenham just around the corner, most people will be preparing to wrap their stars up in cotton wool, waiting for their big day at the Festival.

Venetia Williams will be waiting another week for her stable hero L’HOMME PRESSE (3.35) though, as she gives him another chance to blow the cobwebs off in the Ascot Chase today.

He showed no signs of rustiness after more than a year off in the Fleur De Lys Chase last month, gaining a 3.03-length advantage through his jumping alone. He also quickened up to a very impressive 108.39%.

Finishing speed percentage suggesting the drop down a furlong to two mile five furlongs shouldn’t be an issue.

Earlier in the day in the Reynoldsto­wn Novices’ Chase,


(1.50) can take advantage of the absence of Grey Dawning, who is now a hot Festival fancy.

Two defeats by him sandwich an impressive win over fences at Leicester. She is nearly the top rated in the race today too, so her handy 7lb mares allowance looks like a bit of a gift too.

I trust her to put her last run at Warwick behind her when her jockey got swept up in going far too fast. Apple Away and Broadway Boy ended up taking each other on and the whole field recorded their fastest sectionals in the third furlong of the race.

Considerin­g she still managed to finish second, it was a good run from her.

Over at Wincanton in the Kingwell Hurdle, I really

fancy the chance of


(2.05) in turning the tables on Rubaud.

While Rubaud has been running creditably against some of the best two milers, Colonel Mustard has been struggling over fences. He lost a whopping 20 lengths through his poor jumping at Newbury so it’s a wise decision to go back hurdling. Some horses just don’t like it!

When they last met at Ayr in the spring, Colonel Mustard was giving away 8lb to Rubaud and was only beaten three lengths. This time around he is receiving 6lb off him.

If the return to hurdles has the effect I am hoping, he could be a very generous price!

Finally, we also have action at Haydock where I believe BUTCH (2.40) could take another big step forward in the Rendlesham Hurdle. He is unbeaten since stepping up in trip to three miles this season, including an impressive win on New Year’s Day at Cheltenham

That day he was one off top weight and stayed on really well up the hill. He finished off with a 107.02% finishing speed percentage. Pretty impressive on quite testing, heavy ground.

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 ?? ?? ■ KEEN CHANCE: Colonel Mustard can prosper by going back over hurdles
■ KEEN CHANCE: Colonel Mustard can prosper by going back over hurdles

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