Top class action from two Grade 1 tracks this afternoon, with Haydock and Ascot providing some competitive fare.
With the snow failing to materialise at Haddock, we turn our attention there first, with the The New One Unibet Hurdle at 2.40 the port of call.
Just 5 runners, but four of them in with a definite chance of landing the £42grand first prize and the epitome of a ‘who’s turn is it today?’ race.
Intermingled form and form-lines litter this event and we are going to hope that Western Ryder has its turn at the top and fulfil Sir Greatrex‘s faith.
7-2 is the price of your win bet.
The Peter Marsh Handicap Chase at 3.15 is an impossible looking affair, with none of the 11 runners apparently handicapped to win.
In these circumstances, it’s usually best to rely on course form and the winner of that competition is undoubtedly Captain Redbeard, which runs miles better here than anywhere else. It’ll have to, but at 13-2, well worth an each way punt.
Over at Ascot, the applause should ring out at 3.40 for Altior, but at 1-9 we can’t really recommend a bet(!)
We can, however, do just that in the three preceding televised races, starting with the OLBG.com Mares’ Hurdle at 1.50, which has a field of six.
Favourite is the Irish raider Magic Of Light, which has a chase rating of 150, but a hurdle rating of just 113. With the doubt about the change of code, this is not a bet at 5-2 and we prefer the chances of Paul Nicholls’ If You Say Run.
This 7-y-o should be unbeaten this season, having started with a handicap win and then chucking away a Listed event at Kempton by careering almost off the track on the run in.
Today, connections have devised a cunning plan, whereby Harry Cobden will head for the rail in the straight, so provided she doesn’t jump over it, we should be OK. Take the 100-30 and hide behind the sofa when they are turning in.
The Matchbook Holloway’s Handicap Hurdle at 2.25 will be fiercely contested and we will dutch this one with each way bets on the prolific Ballymoy at 9-2 and the improving Colonial Dreams at 8-1.
The bet365 Handicap Chase at 3.00 sees the return to action of the talented, but fragile, Belami Des Pictons, which was last seen chasing home Waiting Patiently at Carlisle 440 days ago. There is no doubt that this horse is the best handicapped in this race and, with the stable in blinding form, we are prepared to trust that the fragrant Venetia has it fit to run for its life.
Take the 5-1 each way, watch and marvel.
Western Ryder 2.40 Haydock 2pts win @ 7-2
Captain Redbeard 3.15 Haydock 1pt e/w @ 13-2
If You Say Run 1.50 Ascot 2pts win @ 100-30
Ballymoy 2.25 Ascot 1pt e/w @ 9-2
Colonial Dreams 2.25 Ascot 2pts e/w @ 8-1
Belami Des Pictons 3.00 Ascot 2pts e/w @ 5-1 (4 places)