Topical, if slightly ungrammatical, musical headline today, reprising the worldwide hit of 1975 by the aptly named Vaccine Nightingale.*
Top class racing on the box today from the meetings at Haydock and Ascot and we start at Haddock, where the feature race is the Betfair Chase at 3.00.
A quality field of five contest this race, including previous dual winner Bristol De Mai, which was thwarted in its attempt at a three-peat by Lostintranslation, which pitches up again, both making their seasonal debuts.
Also appearing for the first time since March is the Paul Nicholls trained Clan Des Obeaux, last seen failing to get up the hill in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, a fair few lengths behind the aforesaid Lostintranslation.
However, there are good grounds for thinking that the PN runner is the one to be with today – previous seasons have started with an undercooked pipe opener before attacking the King George on Boxing Day, but esteemed trainer is on record as saying that CDO is ‘hard fit’ for this afternoon’s fisticuffs and, if this is so, the 8-y-o will be very hard to beat.
We suggest a win bet at 9-4.
First race on telly is the Betfair Handicap Hurdle at 1.50, currently with a field of 14 and in this we are sweet on the chances of Umbrigado from David Pipe‘s very in-form yard.
This 6-y-o was restricted to just three races last season, running well, without winning, in fiercely competitive events which at least resulted in a drop of 3lbs in its rating. With ‘big improver’ Fergus Gillard taking off another seven, now could be the time to get stuck in at the available 11-2.
There’s another handicap hurdle at 2.25, this time for stayers and also sponsored by Betfair.
17 are due to line up for this and our trusty pin has landed on Relegate and Third Wind as the two to be with. These two were 4th and 5th in the Pertemps final at the Cheltenham Festival in March and both have had promising warm up races, so it looks the right form line. 5-1 and 13-2 are the odds of reward for our ‘Dutch’.
The Betfair Stayers Handicap Chase at 3.35 has the 11-y-o Don Poli installed as favourite, but we feel this horse is a light of previous years and we pin our colours to the mast of Alminar, trained by Nigel Hawke.
This 7-y-o has won two of its eight tries over fences and ran a stormer first time out this season when staying on into third at Cheltenham 4 weeks ago. We get the distinct impression that this horse stays longer than the proverbial mother-in-law, so the step up in trip should be right up its strasse.
Take the 9-1, each way.
Over at Ascot, action starts with the Chanelle Pharma Chase at 2.05 and we just don’t understand why Black Corton is available at 4-1 for this 4-runner affair.
With a run under its belt, getting weight from all the others and with the services of the fragrant Bryony, this surely is worth a bash.
The 2.40 and 3.50 (Bumper) races are very much NOT betting opportunities, which leaves us with the Coral Hurst Park Handicap Chase at 3.17, a ‘dead eight’ race.
We are keen on the Oirish raider in this, name of Abbey Magic.
Henry De Bromhead‘s 9-y-o was unbeaten in her first three chases before injury struck and she was off the track for two years. Since her return she has shown all the old zest and ability remain and made it 4 from 5 over fences when winning at Cork last time out.
Not over here for a day out and, with Bryony deputising for Rachael, we recommend an each way bet at 9-2.
That’s it – we’re off to buy some shares in Pfizer.
Clan Des Obeaux 3.00 Haydock 4pts win @ 9-4
Umbrigado 1.50 Haydock 1.5pts e/w @ 11-2 (4 places)
Relegate 2.25 Haydock 1.5pts e/w @ 5-1 (6 places SkyBet/Betfair/PaddyPower)
Third Wind 2.25 Haydock 1.5pts e/w @ 13-2 (6 SkyBet/Betfair/PaddyPowerplaces)
Alminar 3.35 Haydock 1pt e/w @ 9-1 (4 places)
Black Corton 2.05 Ascot 3pts win @ 4-1
Abbey Magic 3.17 Ascot 2pts e/w @ 9-2
* “Right Back Where We Started From” by Maxine Nightingale (1975)