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ITV Racing Tips: Gold Cup winner Minella Indo back to show who’s best in Ladbrokes Champion Chase

| 29.10.2021

Jumping returns to the small screen with a bang this weekend with ten televised races and the return of the Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Minella Indo.

He reappears in an intriguing edition of the Ladbrokes Champion Chase at Down Royal, while in Britain two stars of previous campaigns, Paisley Park and Cyrname, are in action at Wetherby.

As a bonus, Rachael Blackmore, the outstanding jump jockey of last season and recently back from injury, is reunited with Minella Indo. She had been set to sit the race out when Gold Cup-winning jockey Jack Kennedy was told he could keep the ride but Gordon Elliott claimed Kennedy for Delta Work.

Minella Indo will probably be her ride for keeps if she can secure a victory in a race in which she goes head-to-head with Bryony Frost who rides Ladbrokes King George VI Chase winner Frodon.

Paisley Park, the former champion staying hurdler, starts his campaign a month earlier than for the past two seasons with a first appearance in the West Yorkshire Hurdle.

The other big name at Wetherby is Cyrname who has had wind surgery since he followed an impressive win in the same race a year ago with two pulled ups.

The bulk of the coverage is shared by Wetherby and Ascot, with time found to show the Ladbrokes Champion Chase live, beginning at 1.00pm on ITV4 and we have previewed the three most significant races of the day in our ITV Racing Tips.

14:30 – West Yorkshire Hurdle

It is more than two years since Paisley Park landed the Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham which may lead some to assume he is past his best. Yet despite only winning once last season there is little evidence to prove that.

He finished second to Thyme Hill at Newbury, turned the tables on that rival at Ascot and was third to Flooring Porter at Cheltenham. A repeat of any of those performances should be good enough to get his season off to a winning start.

There are seven others in the field hoping to exploit any lack of fitness in Paisley Park, who continues to be prone to a flat spot in his races, but none have yet shown they are in the same class as the former champion.

14:50 – Ladbrokes Champion Chase

An early start to the season for Minella Indo who led home a Henry de Bromhead one-two in the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March to end the hat-trick dreams of Al Boum Photo, who finished third.

The apparent second string to A Plus Tard, he delivered on the promise he had shown earlier in the campaign to score by a length and a quarter. He won his first two races last season which augurs well for this appearance in what should prove an informative contest.

Ladbrokes King George VI Chase winner Frodon, who is likely to go off in front, is certain to be fit and will ask questions of the reigning champion, while the Elliott pair of Galvin, who has won his last six including the National Hunt Chase, and Delta Work are both highly capable.

15:05 – Charlie Hall Chase

There were more questions than answers about Cyrname last season with the one-time top rated chaser in Britain failing to complete in two of his three runs.

He recorded his only victory in this corresponding race 12 months ago and, having undergone wind surgery, he should be able to pull off a repeat victory, assuming the procedure has fixed his breathing, if that was at the root of his poor performances.

He has been favourite for the last two editions of the King George but the fact he is 20-1 this time shows how much public faith in him has evaporated. He will need to show more consistency but another victory at Wetherby will be a sound start.

ITV Racing Schedule, Saturday, 30th October

13:20 Wetherby – 2m 3½f Handicap Chase

13:35 Ascot – 2m3f Novices’ Handicap Chase

13:55 Wetherby– Mares Hurdle

14:10 Ascot – 1m7½ Handicap Hurdle

14:30 Wetherby– West Yorkshire Hurdle

14:45 Ascot – 2m1f Handicap Chase

14:50 Down Royal – Ladbrokes Champion Chase

15:05 Wetherby – Charlie Hall Chase

15:20 Ascot – 3m Handicap Chase

15:40 Wetherby – 2m3½f Handicap Hurdle

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All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.



Jonathan Lees