Simon Holt: Master plan
Channel 4 commentator Simon Holt is backing The Young Master to win Saturday's Badger Ales Trophy at Wincanton.
The Young Master (left) can win the Badger Ales Trophy
THE YOUNG MASTER, a horse who could become a leading Grand National contender this season, is taken to return with a win in the Badger Ales Trophy Handicap Chase at Wincanton on Saturday.
Neil Mulholland's game and consistent chaser finished first past the post in this corresponding contest two years ago only to lose the race on a technicality (he wasn't qualified to run) but has progressed well since and a 'second' success would certainly be deserved.
Last season ended on a high with victory in the bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown (Southfield Theatre fourth, Carole's Destrier 11th) after a previous third to Un Temps Pour Tout and Holywell at the Cheltenham Festival which is strong form.
Still only a seven-year-old, and from a stable in excellent form, The Young Master remains open to further progress and, with a decent record fresh in the past, looks the one to beat.
Southfield Theatre should again be thereabouts, though had a very patchy time of things last term, while his unexposed stable-companion Present Man jumped well when scoring over two-and-a-half miles here last month and should be open to further improvement.
At Doncaster, MIRSAALE, a horse who has been in very good form on the Flat and over hurdles in recent months, must have decent each-way claims in the Betfred November Handicap.
The six-year-old, who ran in Ruler Of The World's Derby three years ago, comes here after an excellent third in the Persian War Novices' Hurdle at Chepstow following two victories at Perth.
Earlier in the year, Mirsaale, whose trainer Keith Dalgleish has enjoyed his best season, also gained back-to-back wins on the Flat at Catterick and Ripon before finishing third to Sir Chauvelin, again at Ripon, and can now meet the latter here on 18lb better terms for about two lengths.
It's possible that this trip of a mile and a half could be a bit shy for Philip Makin's mount (who seems to go on any ground) these days but the selection usually travels well and it's important to stay strongly in these big-field handicaps.
Soldier In Action must be one of the leading players after slamming Higher Power by six lengths at Goodwood last month, and a line through the runner-up gives him the beating of the much-fancied Cape Cova who is now fitted with blinkers having run in snatches before getting up late here (1m6f) last time.
Soldier In Action is up 11lb in the ratings for that latest success but a bigger concern is the fact he can be a bit hit and miss sometimes.
The lightly-raced Wrangler, who improved for his first run back from an absence when chasing home To Be Wild and Percy Street over the course and distance recently (Trendsetter fourth, Mukhayyam eighth) is another leading contender in a typically competitive renewal.
Posted at 1050 GMT on 04/11/16.
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