2023 Haydock and Ascot Saturday Tips – DS

by | Nov 24, 2023

2023 Haydock and Ascot Saturday Tips

We managed to blank again at Cheltenham last Sunday but we did at least see a half decent effort from Dom Of Mary. Hey Johnny went from the front to detached out the back in less than half a furlong and there was clearly something amiss with him. This Saturday isn’t great as far as betting opportunities go. Small fields are mostly the order of the day but Dave Stevos does like a couple of horses e/w. His 2023 Haydock and Ascot tips are below.

1.15 Haydock – Betfair Exchange Handicap Hurdle (Class 2)

Ten runners here and they are 12s or shorter bar Jason The Militant. He is 40/1 and if it was heavy ground, there could be a case to be made for him off 136. However, he seems to have lost his form completely and he is best left alone until showing more (or getting bottomless ground).

Lunar Power has his first start for Donald McCain after leaving Noel Meade. Last sighted running respectably in the November handicap at Naas last month, he has done most of his winning on genuinely good ground.

He won his last hurdle start at Ballinrobe (22f gd) off 129 under a 7lb claimer, with Peter Kavanagh claiming 3lbs here he is effectively 14lbs higher. On this good to soft ground, he’s best watched.

Albert’s Back is a former C&D winner who is a pound lower than when well beat in this last year. He is a horse that likes very testing ground so again, he is probably another one that is best watched.

I really like Fingal’s Hill as he is a horse that just seems to do enough every time. He is only 4lbs higher than he was when winning at Carlisle last time and he handles all sorts of ground. Obviously, at 6/1 he is too short for the blog but I’d love to see him win for his small yard. A no bet race but I’ll be cheering for Fingal’s Hill.

2023 Haydock and Ascot tips: No Bet

1.30 Ascot – 1965 Chase (Grade 2)

Shishkin is odds on for this Grade 2 and on the figures, he looks a good thing. However, racing isn’t always that simple and if you are considering lumping on at 4/6, tread carefully. Last year, he was 6/5 for his seasonal bow and he trailed in 15L behind Edwardstone at Sandown. Now, he has won well when fresh before so he may well be fit enough to win but at the odds, I’d be a touch wary.

The biggest danger on paper is Pic D’Orhy. He too is returning from his holidays and he won 4/5 last season. His sole defeat came behind Shishkin over this C&D when there was 16L between them. However, he left that behind when beating Fakir D’oudairies at Aintree, his first G1 win. If he can repeat that and Shishkin is a bit below par, he could make a proper race of this.

Race Fit

Unlike those two horses, Minella Drama has a run under his belt and is race fit. Donald McCain’s charge is a horse I like and he ran a decent race behind Pic D’Orhy in that Aintree G1 back in April. His run at the same track last time in the Old Roan off 155 was a fine effort and he ought to improve for that outing.

He is 6lbs better off with Pic D’Orhy for a 7L margin at Aintree and he should get a lot closer to him today, especially after that sharpener a few weeks ago. 12/1 looks pretty generous but it would be a surprise if he beat both Shishkin and the Nicholls’ horse.  

Straw Fan Jack is very likeable horse but this level is probably beyond him. Connections will hope for a nice clear round and he’ll be one to watch out for in handicaps later this season.

I was tempted to put Minella Drama up but with just four runners and no e/w betting, I am going to leave him alone. There is always a chance that one of the market leaders might have an off day, but both of them throwing in stinkers would be unlikely. No bet.

2023 Haydock and Ascot tips: No Bet

1.50 Haydock – Graduation Chase (Class 2)

Another small field. Just five runners and it looks to be between three of them. Gaillard Du Mesnil is the narrow fav. He was last sighted finishing third in the Grand National off 155. He won over 30f at Cheltenham and while he won over this 21f trip before, that was in 2021. Both his starts at 20f/21f last year ended in defeat and I doubt this race is the be-all and end-all for him this year.

Apple Away is next best in the market for Russell and Fox. She too was last sighted at the Grand National meeting, winning a G1 hurdle over 24f. The daughter of Arctic Cosmos is on a four timer but this is her first ever run in a chase. She did win a P2P, which will stand to her, and she gets weight from the boys so if she can jump well, she should run a nice race.

Grey Dawning has the benefit of a previous run this season. That came in an Exeter Novice Chase (24f gd/sft) where he was beat just under 3L by Albert Bartlett winner Stay Away Fay. He jumped really well and with that under his belt, he could play a big part in this now dropped back to 21f.

Both Hardy Bloke and Scipion look out of their depth so this is another race where the market leaders should dominate. No bet.

2023 Haydock and Ascot tips: No Bet

2.05 Ascot – Coral Hurdle (Grade 2)

Another Grade 2 and yes, you’ve guessed it, another pitifully small field. Five run and not one of them is bigger than 6/1. It’ll be worth watching to see which version of Goshen turns up but his presence makes this race appeal even less from a betting perspective. When he runs, anything can happen. Another no bet race.

2023 Haydock and Ascot tips: No bet

2.20 Haydock – Stayers’ Handicap Hurdle (Premier)

Finally a decent sized field. Sixteen horses will go to post for this valuable Stayers’ Handicap and the trip is 24f. I fancied Schalke to run big in the Pertemps at Cheltenham last season but he wasn’t declared. He caught my eye running on late for fourth off 124 in a similar race to this at Sandown (23.5f gd/sft) in February, eventually finishing 5L behind the winner Green Book.

Aaron Anderson took 5lbs off that day and he was a whisker away from getting up for third. The winner, Green Book, subsequently ran a cracker in the Pertemps off 5lbs higher so it was a pretty decent race. It was the first time Schalke raced in that sort of company and while he didn’t look like winning, he would have got much closer over an extra furlong, which he gets today.

Welcome Winner

His trainer, Rebecca Menzies, hadn’t had a winner for a while but she fired one in at Catterick on Thursday. Ross Chapman has been booked for the ride and he is 6/45 with 18 Top 4 finishes for Menzies.

Schalke needs to bounce back from an underwhelming seasonal reappearance, but that is exactly what he did last season. Soft ground suits, as should this trip. He’s won twice going left handed so this track should be ok too and if he can reproduce the level of form he showed when 4th at Sandown, Schalke can hopefully sneak into the frame at odds of 33/1.

2023 Haydock and Ascot tips: Schalke e/w @ 33/1 (5 places) NAP

2.35 Punchestown – Morgiana Hurdle (Grade 1)

If you thought the UK was the only place with an issue around small fields, think again. We have four runners in this Grade 1 hurdle and just two trainers are represented. It is Gordon Elliott vs Willie Mullins and this is a theme that will be repeated plenty this season.

State Man is 1/3 with Echoes in Rain next best at 11/2. The best of the Elliott runners looks to be Pied Piper, runner up behind Faivoir in the County Hurdle last year off 154. He’s fit from a superb run in the Cesarewitch but he was well beat on all three occasions he faced State Man last year.

This looks a race for favourite backers. No bet.

2023 Haydock and Ascot tips: No Bet

3.00 Haydock – Betfair Chase (Grade 1)

Yet another four runner affair. Bravemansgame is the fav after his excellent return effort behind Gentlemansgame at Wetherby (24f sft). A bad jump at the last probably cost him the win that day but he looked like he was running on empty between the last two fences. He’ll be fitter today but he faces a top class rival in the form off Protektorat.

I put the Skelton horse up for the Gold Cup on the back of his performance in this race last season. He absolutely destroyed his four rivals, with Eldorado Allen finishing 11 lengths back in second. His trainer said he was trained to the minute for that race and I’d imagine it’ll be a similar story this year.


He has had a wind-op in the off season, which is slightly off putting, but if he turns up in the same form as he did in 2022, it’ll take a good one to beat him. Odds of 9/4 look a tad generous to me.

Royal Pagaille likes testing ground but he just comes up short when he runs in Grade 1s. He ran an excellent race in the King George last Xmas but he was still 14L behind Bravemansgame. On the upside, he is 2/3 at Haydock and he chased A Plus Tard home in this in 2021 (22L behind). However, he looks up against it in this company.

Corach Rambler won the Grand National last year and he is now off a tricky mark as far as handicaps go. On his return at Kelso he was beat 23L off his revised rating of 159, 13lbs higher than he was at Aintree. Liverpool will likely be his target again and this race will probably be used as a stepping stone.

I think Protektorat has huge claims here but he’s too short for the blog at 9/4. No bet.

2023 Haydock and Ascot tips: No Bet

3.15 Ascot – Hurst Park Handicap Chase (Class 2)

Boothill hacked up off 149 last time over this C&D. His course form figures now read 311, with the other win coming in this race off 140 last November. He is now rated 155 and he’s going to need to produce a career best to win off that mark. He’s still only an 8yo so more improvement is not an impossibility and he ought to be thereabouts again.

Back in January, Malystic beat Saint Segal at Doncaster (16.5f gd). He was conceding 13lbs to the runner up and they meet on identical terms today. Saint Segal is 11/2, Peter Niven’s stable star is 25/1.

Bombed Out

Now, Saint Segal did run a promising race here behind Boothill on his return, while Malystic bombed out behind Tommy’s Oscar at Kelso. However, he has never won on his seasonal return before and he has bounced back after similar poor performances before. For example, last season he was beat 39L at Cheltenham and a month later he pitched up at Ayr and beat Elixir De Nutz off a mark of 147.

This will be Malystic’s first run at Ascot. He has won and placed at Musselburgh going right handed and he was won on galloping tracks like Ayr, so the course should be fine. Niven has booked Brian Hughes for the ride and he has form figures of 21132242P6 on board the son of Malinas.

With a round trip of over 500 miles to Ascot from Niven’s yard in North Yorkshire, you’d imagine Malystic is here to do his best and he is only 2lbs higher than when winning at Ayr on his penultimate start.

Stakes should be kept small after his dire run last time but at 25/1, he’s worth chancing e/w for a couple of quid in the hope that he bounces back to form.

2023 Haydock and Ascot tips: Malystic e/w @ 25/1

3.35 Haydock – Handicap Chase (Class 2)

Will today be the day that Coconut Splash delivers? Evan Williams’ 8yo son of Stowaway has been extremely frustrating (and expensive) to follow. Since his maiden hurdle win at Wetherby he is 0/13, a travesty for a horse that has his ability.

At Aintree back in April it looked like it might finally be the day he got his first chase win. He was still travelling pretty well when he was unluckily brought down by a faller at the fifteenth fence. Yes, it was too early to say whether he would have got involved at the finish but it seemed like Adam Wedge still had a bit of horse under him. That was off a mark of 132, the handicapper has now dropped him to 122.

At Wincanton last time (26f sft) he was beat 10L but he finished off his race very encouragingly. That hasn’t always been the case with him and it should have done his confidence the world of good. On his best form he looks extremely well handicapped off 122 and if he can put it all together, he has the ability to run a big race here at odds of 12/1.

2023 Haydock and Ascot tips: Coconut Splash e/w @ 12/1 (4 places) NB



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