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Dan Skelton previews his weekend runners, including Benny’s King in the Ascot Chase

| 19.02.2021

Midnight River (13.15) starts quite a busy weekend for us at Ascot on Saturday in what looks quite a deep race.

Gallyhill is another one in here with a nice rating but I think Midnight River is in great form. He ran well in the Leamington Novices’ Hurdle and though he has to give away 3lb, I am not overly concerned. I think he will be very competitive. He is a horse I like a lot.

Captain Chaos (14.25) runs in the handicap chase. The ground will suit him as he wants slow ground. He is in good form.

His last run at Warwick was a good race for him but he probably doesn’t quite stay the full 3m5f round Warwick. That is the second time he has done that now at Warwick but we know this type of trip is grand for him and are looking forward to getting him back out there.

Shannon Bridge (15.00) runs in a competitive handicap hurdle. He won last time so it is definitely worth taking a shot at this. This could take some winning but he is there in the best of health.

Bennys King (15.35) tackles the Ascot Chase. It’s his first step into Grade 1 company so it is a big leap. He is up against some fancy horses here but arguably the best place for him to do it is at Ascot, on this ground and over this trip. All those things are in his favour.

We are sending The Mulcair (13.30) to Haydock. He definitely wants a step back in trip so this two and a half miles should be perfect. It is very competitive but I do expect him to go well.


We have Off The Hook (13.30) at Market Rasen in the mares’ handicap hurdle. I think she has a little chance, She had a nice run in a jumpers’ bumper a fortnight ago.

Marada (14.40) runs in a competitive mares’ novices’ hurdle. She has to give away a double penalty which won’t be easy but she is in good health.

Langer Dan (15.15) runs in the handicap hurdle. He has struggled for form recently and we need to get the fire burning a little bit. He seems to be on the way back. He held some nice form last season so hopefully he can.

River Legend (16.55) runs in the bumper and is a really nice horse by Ocavango. He has loads of scope and will definitely make a chaser. He goes nicely at home and I think he will run really well.

At Newbury we have Defining Battle (13.15) in the novices’ hurdle. This is a nice, big, strong horse off the Flat. He has done lots of jumping but I think will improve a bit for the run. I like him.

Cadzand (15.35) runs in the Betfair Hurdle for which he is the ante-post favourite. I think he has a great chance. The track holds no fears and he is quite progressive. The horse he beat at Kempton has won since but it’s very competitive. You can’t go there thinking you are the most likely winner as it’s very open but I have to give him a big chance.

Jersey (16.45) is a horse I like a lot and runs in a very good bumper. He is another horse for the future. He should like the track. We are not going there expecting him to win but he should acquit himself well. I felt he’s worth a go in a race of this quality and hopefully he can run really well.

Gadjet D’Ainay (12.50) goes to Uttoxeter where he makes his debut. We need to see more of him in order to gauge what he can do.

Message To Martha (15.07) ran way too green the other day at Warwick. She didn’t know what she was doing. It was only the second start of her life and she was all at sea. I expect her to have learnt a lot from that as I do think she will win races.