The second day of the Discover Racehorse Ownership Weekend features the race of the Jumps season so far as Altior, unbeaten in his last 19 starts and a four time Cheltenham Festival winner, takes on Cyrname, the highest rated British horse in training and a stunning winner of the Grade One Betfair Ascot Chase in February.
The two will face each other in the Christy 1965 Chase over 2m5f with Altior running beyond two miles for the first time and whether he will relish the extra distance has been a hotly debated topic since connections first targeted this race months ago. Cyrname is proven over the course and distance but he has yet to take on a challenger of Altior’s class. All is set for a fascinating head-to-head.
The other Grade Two race of the day is the Coral Hurdle which features two Grade One winners renewing rivalries in If The Cap Fits and Roksana. They fought out a thrilling finish in the Ryanair Stayers Hurdle at the Grand National Festival in April where If The Cap Fits just came out on top by a head and he bids for a second successive win in this race.
Roksana won the Mares’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival and she made a pleasing seasonal return recently and should build on that. The lightly raced Call Me Lord represents Nicky Henderson and he brings some excellent handicap form to the race in what will be an intriguing contest.
The Gerard Bertrand Hurst Park Handicap Chase is the most valuable two mile Handicap Chase in the calendar and has attracted another excellent field of 11. The Last Day looks the one to beat and he could not have been more impressive when winning at Aintree earlier this month.
Knocknanuss represents the novice form from last season while connections of Capeland and Diego Du Charmil will hope if they are involved at the finish it will be less dramatic than last time. Last year’s winner Caid Du Lin runs again while Vaniteux has hinted at returning to his old form in recent outings and could yet have one big performance in him.
ITV will broadcast those three races as part of their production from Haydock where the first Grade One Jumps race of the British season takes place, the Betfair Chase. Haydock specialist Bristol De Mai is bidding for a third success in the race and his stiffest rival looks to be Lostintranslation for Colin Tizzard who was one of the best staying novices last year.
Off the track two very special ex-racehorses will be at Ascot to meet and greet racegoers on their arrival. Rock On Ruby, the Champion Hurdle winner in 2012, was Harry Fry’s stable star for a number of years and won 12 of his 27 starts including the Coral Hurdle at Ascot on his final start in 2015.
Opening Batsman, also trained by Harry Fry, enjoyed a stellar nine year career for The Twelfth Man Partnership and his biggest day came when winning a Grade Three at Kempton in 2013.
Tickets for Discover Racehorse Ownership Saturday are still on sale, priced from £26 for adults and free for under 18s.