Weekend Preview 23rd and 24th November
Weekend Racing –
• Haydock 3.00 – Betfair Chase 3m 1/2f
The first leg of the million-pound bonus takes place at Haydock on Saturday with Bristol De Mai bidding for a hattrick in the race. Nigel Twiston-Davies’s popular grey has won this for the past two seasons and has a faultless 4/4 record at Haydock. It’s easy to believe that Bristol De Mai is just a mud lark who needs soft ground and Haydock to win, but he won this last season on good ground and was a gallant third in the Cheltenham Gold Cup last season on good to soft. It is also hard to believe that he is only 8 years old and it could be argued that this season could see him improve again. On paper, this looks a worse renewal than the previous two seasons and with his stable bang in form he is a confident selection.
The obvious danger is Colin Tizzard’s Lostintranslation. A middle-distance novice last season he competed in all of the top races and finished second to Defi Du Seuil in the JLT at Cheltenham. A step up to 3 miles at Aintree saw him prove much too good for the RSA winner Topofthegame, and after an encouraging seasonal debut at Carlisle he’s primed to put it up to Bristol De Mai. My biggest factor in selecting Bristol De Mai is that he is a seasoned grade 1 stayer with a great record around Haydock while Lostintranslation is coming straight out of novice company and has to carry the same amount of weight as him while being rated 9lbs inferior.
• Ascot 2.05 – Christy 1965 Chase – 2m 5f
Undoubtedly the highlight of the season so far is the clash of Altior and Cyrname.
Altior finally steps up in trip having won the last two Queen Mother Champion Chases at the minimum trip. I expect him to handle the 2m 5f around Ascot easily with a tilt at the King George then the likely target. He has won 19 in a row and is still somehow rated one pound below Cyrname. The only chink in his armour is that he has on occasion jumped out to him left. His trainer Nicky Henderson says that he has ironed out that problem now however and gave a glowing report about a piece of work he did last weekend.
Cyrname was mightily impressive at Ascot last season and a reproduction of those performances would see him at least put it up to Altior. He has to go right-handed so the track will be to his benefit but he does not have a good record first time out and this, along with his exuberant racing style may see the advantage handed to Altior.
• Haydock 2.25 – Betfair Hurdle 3m 1/2f
A tentative selection in a competitive race is the French import Echiquier. Trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies he bolted up on UK debut at Hexham before running creditably over an inadequate trip of 2m3f at Cheltenham in a Grade 2 behind Thyme Hill. He was found lacking a turn of foot that day but he is returned to 3 miles and is unexposed in handicaps. A mark of 133 may underestimate him on some of his form in France and he is a good each way bet at 20/1.
• Navan 2.30 (Sunday) – Troytown Chase 3m
Portmore Lough could still be well handicapped despite going up 10lbs for his latest victory. The John Kiely trained runner was beaten last season in good novices behind Winter Escape, Getabird and Chacun Pour Soi. He’s won very well the last twice and will most likely go off at a short price for this.
The selection is Burgas. Trained by the inform Noel Meade he has a poor win record of 1/23 but has 14 places to his name. He was only beaten a length by Discorama first time out last season and there is now 17lbs between them. Burgas has put in good performances in defeat when fresh before and if you can get 6 places with a bookmaker on the day he should fill one of them.
Weekend Nap and Next Best.
Nap: 1:50 Haydock – Midnight Shadow
An improving hurdler last season Midnight Shadow was then third to Brewinupastorm first time out this year, over an inadequate 2 miles. His next run saw him getting the better of a good horse of John Queally’s called Djingle when he fell at the last. As long as he’s over that fall he’ll go very close here as he’s up in trip and gets five or nine pounds from most of the field.
Cappadocia at Dundalk on Friday. He returned to form when well backed last time out when a fast-finishing fourth. He had to be switched twice in the straight and would most likely have won with a clear run. He’s well down the ballot for Friday but if he runs he’ll go very close.
This weeks eyecatcher is the Roger Varian trained Rideson. The 2-year-old daughter of Golden Horn was third in a 1 mile fillies novice race at Chelmsford on Tuesday. After breaking well and looking to take a lead she was bumped going into the first bend and got shuffled back to the back half of the field. Kieran Shoemark had to sit and suffer and when attempting to make his move did not get a clear run until inside the final furlong and a half. She flew home to finish 3rd beaten 4 and a half lengths. Her dam was rated 98 and there is plenty of improvement to come from this Godolphin bred filly.
Without watching the race some may think she’s regressed after finishing second on debut, however, this is not the case and she should be winning a similar event in the near future.
Ante Post for Cheltenham
Klassical Dream was disappointing at Punchestown at the weekend but that form looks terrible and with Willie Mullins horses so in and out it may be best to draw a line though it. On his first two starts last season he barely scraped home to beat two much inferior rivals, but come the spring he was a different horse, destroying the field in the Supreme and then again at Punchestown. It is no secret that some of Willie’s have been very hit and miss so far this season so I am willing to forgive Klassical Dream this run.
Saldier is the new 4/1 favourite for the Champion Hurdle but he only beat Petit Mouchoir by a length and a half. That is not Champion Hurdle form either and it perhaps shows just how weak the division is.
Buveur D’Air got back on track at Punchestown but hadn’t looked convincing last season and is vulnerable to an improving horse.
Pentland Hills will need to up his game and Fusil Raffles was far from convincing on his seasonal reappearance.
Coeur Sublime could be the one to surprise a few. He was very good at Down Royal and has good form at Cheltenham. All the talk is that he’s improved throughput the summer and 25/1 is worth a small each way bet too.
Ante post bets:
Klassical Dream each way 6/1
Coeur Sublime each way 25/1
Word Count: 1213
To see more tips like this visit our exclusive page of: betting tips