Ed Chamberlin: See you at Ascot
ITV Racing's Ed Chamberlin is looking forward to his debut at 'an iconic sporting venue' as the team head to Ascot.
Ed Chamberlin is looking forward to ITV Racing's debut at an iconic sporting venue
"Dessie's fighting back like a tiger".
One of the great bits of commentary in one of the great races as Desert Orchid rallied bravely to beat Panto Prince in the 1989 Victor Chandler at Ascot. Watching it back still gives me goosebumps and it's still hard to believe Dessie pulled it off giving away 22lbs to the runner-up. An epic performance from a legendary horse.
Twenty-eight years later the race is now a Grade One rather than a handicap and has a different name but could throw up another exciting head to head with Un De Sceaux set to renew rivalry with Ar Mad after their battle up the Sandown hill in the Tingle Creek.
This time next year I hope we might be talking about Douvan v Altior.
Ar Mad finished a close up fourth that day yet is sure to have plenty of supporters on Saturday as he was returning after a long absence in December's race, was too free early on and made errors down the back. Without those costly mistakes many think he would have gone close to reeling in Un De Sceaux.
I'm not so sure.
You can also argue Un De Sceaux would have won much easier without momentum stopping mistakes at the final two fences. Willie Mullins' raider will also be much better suited by the more testing ground at Ascot this weekend and is going to the very hard to beat.
My advice would be to hold fire until you've heard from Ruby Walsh who is our guest on the Opening Show on Saturday morning at 10am on ITV4. Ruby is always compelling viewing and I'm looking forward to hearing him talk to Oli Bell about his potential rides at the Cheltenham Festival, especially the wellbeing of Faugheen and Annie Power.
"A few hours earlier, on Friday evening in fact, keep an eye out for our Facebook Live feature. One idea, for which Oli Bell must take the credit, is Facebook Live, which is a fun way to preview the next day's racing."
I'm really looking forward to ITV Racing's debut at Ascot on Saturday. It's an iconic sporting venue and a racecourse I've been going to since I was in short trousers, so it feels a bit surreal to think I'll be presenting the show live from the track on Saturday and then later in the year the Royal Meeting, Champions Day et al.
It's going to be a packed show on ITV4 on Saturday with four live races from Ascot plus three crackers at Haydock. It looks like being a weekend full of Cheltenham Festival clues.
The Sky Bet Supreme is a tricky puzzle right now.
In recent seasons at this time of year there has been a Willie Mullins hotpot shaping the market. This time around it feels like Moon Racer has been at the top of bookmakers' lists for an age with a load of the hype horses – Jenkins, Peace News, Crack Mome to name but three – threatening to knock him off his perch before falling by the wayside, while this year's talking horse, Melon, has not even been sighted. To further muddy the waters Moon Racer could still be re-routed to the Champion Hurdle. The upside is that there must be serious value somewhere in the market. Maybe Boxing Day winner Elgin will put his hand up in the trial at Haydock on Saturday.
L'Ami Serge remains one of my favourite horse after his exploits over hurdles two seasons ago. His performance on our first show at Cheltenham on New Year's Day showed the engine is still intact and the way he travelled through that race smacked of a two miler. He should be hard to beat in the Champion Hurdle trial.
After that it's all eyes on Colin Tizzard's Alary in the Peter Marsh Chase. The Tizzard stranglehold on the Gold Cup could tighten even further by 3.30pm.
A few hours earlier, on Friday evening in fact, keep an eye out for our Facebook Live feature. The entire ITV Racing team get together the night before the show to discuss ideas etc. One idea, for which Oli Bell must take the credit, is Facebook Live, which is a fun way to preview the next day's racing.
See you at Ascot.
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