Ascot’s Discover Racehorse Ownership Weekend begins today with a six-race card that sees Angels Breath and Birchdale making their seasonal reappearances in the opening Sky Sports Racing Novices’ Chase (2m2f).
Birchdale, winner of the Grade 2 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle last season, was last seen in the Grade 1 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle (3m) at the Cheltenham Festival. This will be the five-year-old’s first run over fences.
Also making his chasing debut is his Nicky Henderson-trained stablemate Angels Breath, a previous winner at the course when he took the Grade 2 Sky Bet Supreme Trial Novices’ Hurdle (1m7½f).
Catterick and Ffos Las also stage National Hunt meetings today while all-weather cards are held at Newcastle and Dundalk (Ireland).
The first running of the Bahrain International Trophy (1m2f), worth £100,000 to the winner, is held at Sakhir today with the field of 14 featuring several British runners. The UK charge includes Royal Hunt Cup winner Afaak, Jane Chapple-Hyam’s Aquarium and the Roger Varian-trained Mountain Angel.
King Power Racing are represented by the Andrew Balding-trained Pivoine and he is joined in the contest by Paul D’Arcy’s Coolagh Forest and the John Gosden-trained Turgenev.
Footpad makes winning return
He hadn’t been seen on a racecourse for 252 days but that didn’t stop the Willie Mullins-trained Footpad from making a winning return in the Listed Boomerang.ie Chase at Thurles on Thursday.
Having jumped well throughout, Footpad was briefly challenged by Mala Beach, but it was evidently clear that the seven-year-old was cantering while Davy Russell’s mount laboured.
Footpad, under Daryl Jacob, successfully negotiated the final fence and soon pulled away to win by an impressive ten lengths.
Betfair Chase declarations
Bristol De Mai will face three challengers in a bid to win a third edition of the Grade 1 Betfair Chase (3m1½f) at Haydock on Saturday.
Owned by Simon Munir and Isaac Souede and trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies, he will line up against Colin Tizzard’s rapidly improving Lostintranslation, the Paul Nicholls-trained Frodon and stablemate Ballyoptic.
Lostintranslation put in a sparkling round of jumping to score on his seasonal return at Carlisle earlier this month and Joe Tizzard, assistant trainer to his father Colin, said: “We could not be happier with Lostintranslation. He is in great form and this is the right next step for him.
“He jumped superbly and just ticked all the boxes at Carlisle and, whilst he needs to improve, he had a good blow after the race and will have come on for that. This is his sternest test to date, but the Betfair Chase has always been the plan and hopefully he can run a big race.”