Racing: McCoy can time Royal accession

The former National Hunt jockey Steve Smith Eccles (right) gives a runner-by runner analysis of today's Victor Chandler Handicap Chase.
Click to follow
The Independent Online
Mulligan: Top weight will not do his chances any good. A useful horse at his best but cannot be trusted to put in a clear round.

Or Royal: A class young horse who is still improving. He won last year's Arkle Trophy at the Cheltenham Festival and his jockey, Tony McCoy, is keen on his chances. Or Royal will be suited by a strong pace but don't expect to see his grey nose until the closing stages.

Celibate: Came good last time over this course and distance, winning the Frogmore Handicap Chase. Mick Fitzgerald takes the reins and I expect to see the combination in the frame.

Jeffell: Irish raider who loves to bowl along in front and usually jumps well. However, I cannot see him getting into the front line on what he has achieved this season.

Leotard: Has an excellent each-way chance. He would have finished second to Celibate rather than fourth but for making mistakes in the closing stages of the Frogmore Chase.

Arctic Kinsman: Nigel Twiston-Davies's horses are hitting a real purple patch after a slow start and there has been some money for this grey. He ran poorly at Cheltenham last time and has a bit to find in my book.

Lord Dorcet: Flattered when second to a below-par Viking Flagship at Wetherby. He will have his supporters but I am not one of them.

Cumbrian Challenge: In great form, winning his last four starts. He races in a higher league this time but is an improving sort who can run a big race.

Native Mission: The rise in the weights is to his advantage and his trainer, Jimmy FitzGerald, rates his chances. Needs to show dramatic improvement to play any part.

Conclusion: There is sure to be plenty of pace and that should suit OR ROYAL, who likes to come late. Tony McCoy is bullish about his chances, while Mulligan's hopes hinge on his jumping. Leotard, Celibate and Cumbrian Challenge to battle it out for the minor placings.

Comments