DAVID Pipe hopes top-class chaser Dynaste can return to form today at Ascot following a wind operation.
The grey, who has not won since winning the 2014 Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival under Tom Scudamore, will also wear blinkers for the first time in the Betfair Ascot Chase.
A respectable second to Cue Card in Wetherby’s Charlie Hall Chase last October, Dynaste ran below par in Haydock’s Betfair Chase before finishing last in Ascot’s Long Walk Hurdle just before Christmas.
“It’s hard to know what to expect. He seems in his usual good form at home, as he has done for the last goodness knows how many years,” said Pipe.
“He’s had a nice break since his last run over hurdles at Ascot. He was disappointing that day, but we were just trying to nick some prize-money more than anything and he has had the wind operation since then, so hopefully that will help. Conditions will suit and I hope he’ll run well. I couldn’t be happier with him at home, anyway.”
Another horse wearing first-time blinkers, and on a recovery mission, is the Paul Nicholls-trained Silviniaco Conti who was pulled up in Kempton’s King George on Boxing Day.
Like the aforementioned Pipe, champion trainer Paul Nicholls is hoping for an improved run from a multiple Grade One winner who will miss Cheltenham in favour of Aintree’s Betfred Bowl or the Crabbies Grand National.
“He has had a bit of a stop-start season. He has had problems with sarcoids, especially the one under his near-side foreleg. It has been a nightmare – he split one open when racing at Haydock and for a week or two afterwards he was really, really sore,” said Nicholls.
“Hopefully, we will have a great spring with him. The Ascot race is a Grade One and while two miles and five furlongs is a bit short for him, with the ground as it is, you will need a stayer.”
Nicky Richards believes Baywing’s ability to handle heavy ground will give him an edge in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at Haydock.
The seven-year-old is unbeaten in four starts this campaign, all in handicaps, and Cumbria-based Richards is bullish.
“He’s had a fantastic season from where we have started to where he is now. I hope it doesn’t end,” he said. “He’ll love the ground, he seems very well in himself. It’s another step up the ladder.”
Lauren Lucas, Becky Smith, Gemma Hogg, Alyson Deniel, Samantha Dwan and Raye Wilkinson will all represent Yorkshire yards at Monday’s Godolphin Stud & Stable Staff Awards.
As finalists, all six of them are now guaranteed a share of the £120,000 prize money, with every penny they win being matched and shared amongst their respective yards by sponsors Godolphin.
North Yorkshire jockey Andrew Thornton, currently chasing his 1,000th career winner, has been made a trustee of the Injured Jockeys Fund. He replaces John Fairley who was instrumental in the selection of the site for Jack Berry House in Malton and its development.