Saturday 25th November

12.10pm Haydock – Gortroe Joe 2pts Win (9/2)

Gortroe Joe would have won a Point to Point if not coming to grief at the second last fence and confirmed that promise with a very eye catching run in third at Cheltenham last month. He should come on plenty for that on ground that shouldn’t hold any fears. The winner that day, Slate House, has advertised the form excellently by winning a Grade 2 since and the second has also won. He looks overpriced to me.

12.20pm Ascot – Count Meribel 1pt Win (4/1)

Nigel Twiston-Davies can do no wrong this season and Count Meribel can continue his good start to the campaign. The form of his last three runs are working out really well with the first and third winning from his Ffos Las second, the third winning from his penultimate Carlisle win and also the runner up of his latest win emerging with an impressive victory at Ascot yesterday. There is some with potential in this race but I think Count Meribel is being underestimated.

1.15pm Haydock – Big River 1pt Win (7/2)

A competitive Graduation Chase, but on ratings Big River looks the one to beat receiving weight from all his rivals. A dual winner on heavy ground, most notably when hammering Seeyouatmidnight at the end of last season, he made a winning chase debut and there should be plenty more to come from this son of Milan. The slight drop in trip doesn’t concern me under these conditions and he’ll put up a bold show for Grand National winning duo Lucinda Russell and Derek Fox.

2.05pm Ascot – Top Notch 2pts Win (11/4)

The beautiful grey Smad Place aims to follow up his Old Roan win and I really would love him to do so, but my head is with Top Notch. I believe this has been the target for a while and with a pipe opener over hurdles under his belt, should be spot on for his return to chasing. The form of his JLT second is quite striking, Yorkhill in first, dual Grade 1 winner Disko in third and Haldon Gold Cup winner Politologue in fourth. Top Notch is 2-2 at Ascot and will likely make that record 3-3 today.

6.45pm Wolverhampton – Cool Breeze 2pts Win (5/1)

I’ve got Cool Breeze in my tracker with the comment ‘a winner waiting to happen’, she does already have a win to her name but you get where I’m coming from. If you can, watch her run over this course and distance last time out. She got absolutely no luck whatsoever and when finally getting a run she shot into fourth, but the race was already gone. She’s actually been dropped 1lb for that effort and races off bottom weight under Josephine Gordon.

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