Raya Star: Good chance in The Ladbroke at Ascot

Raya could be Ladbroke Star
Raya Star creeps in off a lovely weight of 10-1 in The Ladbroke at Ascot and I think the hustle and bustle of a big handicap like this will suit him. He is a good traveller and the decent gallop will help – he ran a lovely race last time around Newbury in the Gerry Feilden and I am really looking forward to riding him.
He has gone up a couple of pounds to creep into the handicap and I would say he has solid each way claims.
Romulus D’Artaix runs in the opening novice handicap hurdle and he is a busy horse that just needs to give himself a chance early on. He is very consistent and travels well in his races and the ground should be better for him than when he tried three miles for the first time at Chepstow.

More to come from Ardlui
Ardlui won the juvenile hurdle nicely at Newbury and it was testing conditions for the young horses. He has got through the ground – he wants dig in the going but not that much – as it blunted his speed and took the gears from him.
He had definitely come on from his first run and he is a stuffy horse as all he does is eat and sleep at home so hopefully he will keep improving with each outing.
The first two in the race were well clear of the third so lets hope they are above average. He is very similar in a sense to Mille Chief when he was a juvenile although he would not have as many gears. But he is quick and economical over his hurdles and still a colt so I would keep expecting more improvement out of him.

Montbazon looks exciting
Montbazon was second to Colour Squadron on his hurdling debut and I think you will find that the race will be one of the best pieces of novice hurdle form this season. It links in very nicely with Jonjo O’Neill’s decent horse It’s A Gimme and the first two were well clear of Ericht in third, who is also well regarded.
It has ridden like a nice race and my mount and the winner have made light work of the testing ground and quickened up well. He has done everything right like a good horse should do and will improve for the experience as Colour Squadron was a little more streetwise.
Montbazon is a sure-fire winner and a very nice prospect to look forward to – I would imagine Alan (King) will let him win his novice before aiming higher.
Gospel Preacher ran very well in another competitive novice hurdle at Newbury and he wants better ground. He would have been a nice third or fourth but for a mistake at the second last – he is a nice, big individual, really looks the part and is capable of winning over hurdles.
Folkestone promise
I was down at Folkestone on Tuesday and rode Henry San into second behind Double Ross in the novice hurdle so we were very pleased with him.
He would not want the ground as testing as that day but he certainly handled it and I think he has just run into a nice one.
He looks a sure-fire winner without a penalty as the winner quickened up well in the ground and looks well above average. Our lad should have no problem picking up a novice event.
I was pleased with Soir D’Estruval after his third in the beginners’ chase as he is a big horse and will improve for the run.
He jumped soundly throughout and took me into the race really well but has just got tired so hopefully he will be a nice type over fences. He rides like a three-mile chaser.
The ground was too testing for Monturgeon as he travelled like the best horse in the maiden hurdle. This was a step up in trip and on that going, it was just beyond him.
He will appreciate better going and does not ride like a slow horse, so coming back to two and a half miles would not pose a problem, as he showed at Taunton.

Torphichen relishes conditions
Torphichen handled the ground very well at Exeter on Thursday and all his best form is on soft and heavy going. I think that he appreciated coming back in to a little graduation chase and certainly enjoyed himself. He just hung a little bit in the air early on but his jumping got sharper as I think his run at Ascot when he nearly got brought down may just have left a mark on him.
He was good over the final four fences and I think he will give the Million In Mind Partnership lots of fun over the next couple of months.

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