The good ‘Doctor’ is all set to operate successfully!

Doctor Ken will be a major attraction this afternoon for the opening Maiden Hurdle over two and half miles of perfect ‘good to soft’ Ascot and given Kincardine is one of six rivals to Olly Murphy’s charge we might be able to back Aidan Coleman’s mount at odds-against!

Kincardine is owned by Her Majesty, The Queen, trained by ex-champion Nicky Henderson and mount of stable jockey Nico de Boinville; the Kayf Tara gelding scored on his only start, in a class five ‘bumper’ 178 days ago at Southwell where he justified favouritism comfortably and has recently been described as ‘above average’ by the Lambourn maestro; this will need to be case!

That really was low grade whereas Doctor Ken, well-backed last month, finished third (of 12!) to heavily-backed Paul Nicholls’ Gelino Bello, beaten six lengths and a neck; the time-handicap mark was indeed useful, fourth was seventeen lengths behind in a fiercely-competitive Aintree class 4 event over a similar distance. You don’t need me to explain the  considerable classification difference!

Aidan Coleman was aboard and rode Doctor Ken in three preparatory bumpers.

This promises to be an absolute cracker and I’m sincerely hoping ‘Ken’ will prevail to land the money; incidentally Her Majesty also owns the Berkshire racecourse!

Seventy minutes later Henderson and de Boinville team up with Tweed Skirt, a four-year-old Martiline mare which will not be a surprise if causing one in the four-runner Introductory Hurdle.

With sex and weight-for-age allowances, from a stable now in top form, Tweed Skirt is a serious rival to the forecast unbeaten favourite Go Dante at a difference of fourteen pounds.

On a similar surface two divisions of a Maiden Hurdle over two and a half at Chepstow have caught my eye, especially the first leg which looks well within capabilities of Jetoile, the main reason why Daryl Jacob is journeying to the sprawling, undulating Welsh venue, scene of so many dramatic NH meetings; a ‘favourite without doubt.

It’s been a frustrating week, two ‘bankers’, which capitulated when looking certain to win approaching the last hurdle and a couple ‘non-triers’ haven’t helped my mood but it usually comes right in the end, as regular readers know only too well. Keep the faith!

Selections, Ascot, 12.20 Doctor Ken; 1.30 Tweed Skirt; Chepstow, 2.20 Jetoile.

 Jeffrey Ross, horse-racing correspondent for WMN since 1983 when winning the most prestigious racing journalist award, Sporting Life Naps Table, before winning it a record number of six times collectively in the Racing Post, the current ‘trade’ paper, including 2019