Horse Talk with Simon Jackson:
Top horse-racing tips and the latest news.
ASCOT and LINGFIELD host top-class fixtures this weekend with Shishkin and Energumene clashing in the Clarence House Chase at Ascot and days two and three of the Winter Million at Lingfield.
Shishkin and Energumene are both unbeaten over fences and head the betting for the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham in March, with the Nicky Henderson-trained Shishkin best-priced at 11-10 and Willie Mullins’ Energumene 11-4, but as short as 2-1.
The boutique field of four runners at Ascot on Saturday includes last years Clarence House Chase winner First Flow – winner of the Peterborough Chase at his last start – and dual Ascot winner Amoola Gold.
Coral’s David Stevens said: “It’s fantastic the clash all fans wanted to see will be taking place at Ascot, and while there are only four runners lining up for this year’s Clarence House Chase, that will in no way detract from what will be a must-watch event.
“Shishkin is odds-on favourite to extend his winning run over fences, but Energumene has shortened this week, while last year’s winner, First Flow, adds extra spice to this eagerly anticipated contest.”
Meanwhile at Lingfield Umm Hurair is set to be Harry and Roger Charlton’s first runner as a training partnership in the £100,000 Coral Winter Oaks Fillies’ Handicap.
The four-year-old racked up a hat-trick of victories in December and heads the betting at 5-2 in the 10-furlong event that has attracted 14 runners.
Roger Charlton said: “Umm Hurair takes her racing well and we have been very happy with the way she has been training.
“When we sent her up to Wolverhampton in early December, the plan at that stage was to win a little race and then probably go to stud. She has just improved and improved, and I think winning three in quick succession was a bonus.
“Then a valuable race like this comes along and we thought we would give it one more shot. We are going up a furlong and a bit from Wolverhampton and we hope that will be no problem.
“The only question mark is that last time she won off a rating of 75 if you include Harry Burns’ claim whereas she runs here in a better race off a stone higher. That is a fair hike to contend with and will certainly be no pushover.”
Roger Charlton’s comments follows the announcement of a joint training partnership with son Harry.
Charlton snr, who won the Epsom Derby with Quest For Fame and the French Derby with Sanglamore in his first year with a licence in 1990, follows Mark Johnston (with son Charlie) and John Gosden (with son Thady) to take out a joint licence.
Roger Charlton said on his website (www.rogercharlton.com): “I am incredibly proud of what myself and the team have achieved in the last 30 years. I have had a wonderful bunch of owners throughout, many of whom are still supporting me, as well as a tremendous team at Beckhampton, a lot of whom joined when I did.
“I felt it was time to appreciate the hard work that Harry puts into the operation, having been working in the yard since 2014.
“He is an integral member of the team and at the age of 36, he deserves to be recognised in an industry that values youth. Beckhampton shall carry on as usual, it is a family business and Harry has been a great help to Clare and I.”
Harry Charlton added: “It’s a great honour to be joining my father on the licence at such a prestigious place as Beckhampton, where I have grown up. It is a big community with a lot of history.
“Having been a member of the team for so long, the day-to-day running of the yard will stay much the same but I understand the privilege that comes with the new title.”
Read ‘Horse Talk with Simon Jackson’ for top horse racing tips and the latest news.