RAISE a glass to BIGBADJOHN in the Badger Ales Trophy at Wincanton (3.35).
Trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies may have found the key to unlocking this quirky chaser’s massive talent.
He fitted a tongue tie for the first time in his career when winning with plenty in hand here last time out. His jumping from the front was excellent and he kept pulling out more when needed.
In the past, he has often followed one good run with a poor one — especially when trained by Rebecca Curtis — but those days are hopefully over now.
At his best, he would take all the beating. That’s because his best was very good and includes a second to Thistlecrack and a Grade 2 win at Ascot.
He enjoyed the 3m2f trip when scoring here last time so the slight drop back won’t be a problem. The handicapper has been lenient with just a 2lb rise for that last win so he’ll be right there again.
Paul Nicholls likes this race and has two chances in El Bandit and Present Man.
The former looked a really hot prospect when switching to chasing after a good hurdling career.
He promptly cruised to victory on his chasing debut at Warwick and was marked down as a future star.
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The problem is that was 543 days ago and he could be forgiven for needing this comeback.
Stablemate Present Man ran a cracker when third in the Bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown last time out in April.
He was bang there until the closing stages and he warrants respect off just 2lb higher than when winning this race 12 months ago. That gives him an obvious chance again and Bryony Frost gets on well with him.
DONJUAN TRIUMPHANT is taking a massive drop in class for the Listed Wentworth Stakes (2.05 Doncaster).
Andrew Balding’s flyer has looked something like his old self since wisely dropping back to this distance.
He has run well in two Group 1s, with a fourth in the Haydock Sprint Cup followed by an equally good third in the Champions Sprint at Ascot.
Wizard's magic tips…
1.30 Doncaster – Maid To Remember
2.05 Doncaster – Donjuan Triumphant
3.35 Wincanton – Bigbadjohn
There was a little give in the ground for both those runs so a bit of rain on Town Moor would only help his chances.
Looking back through his career, all of his wins have been in September and October so he clearly likes this time of year.
Librisa Breeze is another dropping in class but he was a fair way back at Ascot and needs to find his old spark.
At the other end of his career, three-year-old Laugh A Minute is improving fast and went close in a Deauville Group 3 latest. There should be a lot more to come and he’s won here before.
MAID TO REMEMBER can land an overdue win in Doncaster’s 1.30.
William Haggas’s filly has been knocking on the door in good company, including when second at Newmarket last time out.
It took a good performance to beat her as she came with a late run only for the line to come too soon.
She stays a bit further than this but there are few pace-pushers in the line-up so it should be run at a fierce gallop. Hopefully James Doyle will keep her a little closer to the pace so there isn’t such a big gap to bridge.
Queen Of Time chased here home at HQ and has since run a good race when third in a St Cloud Group 3.
Henry Candy’s filly has improved since being upped to this distance and should be right there again.
There are a couple of lightly raced types to consider too. The most interesting looks like Bona Fide who comes over from Ireland on the back of a good win at Gowran last time out.
This is a fair step up in class but trainer Dermot Weld knows what he’s doing and she’s bred to relish this distance.
11.45 Kings Pavilion
12.20 Dazzling Dan
12.55 Chatham House
1.30 Maid To Remember
2.05 Donjuan Triumphant
2.45 Shady McCoy
3.15 My Lord And Master
3.50 She Can Boogie
12.40 Grand Sancy
1.15 Buster Thomas
1.50 Litterale C
2.25 Secret Investor
3.00 If The Cap Fits
12.25 Minella Awards
1.00 Captain Drake
1.35 Hear No Evil
2.40 Kings Odyssey
3.55 Misty Whisky
11.50 Aye Aye Charlie
12.15 Cool Mix
12.45 Jack Devine
1.20 Jovial Joey
1.55 Civil Unrest
2.30 One Night In Milan
3.40 Summer Lightening
4.30 Shining Armor
5.00 True Belief
5.30 Aspire Tower
6.30 Monumental Man
7.00 Young John