Saturday Haydock and Ascot Preview and Tips -DS
Saturday Haydock and Ascot Preview and Tips
It was another very frustrating day last Sunday but we did at least nick one nice place with First Impression at 25/1. This weekend we have UK action on Saturday and then Exeter and Punchestown on Sunday. Let’s hope Dave Stevos can find a big winner, his Saturday Haydock and Ascot selections are below.
1.50 Haydock – Graduation Chase (Class 2)
On what is a recurring theme this afternoon, a small field for this Graduation Chase. Before he ran at Aintree, I said I expected big things from Hitman this season. He ran a huge race there, beat a head off 159 and the 3rd won the Paddy Power next time out. This horse is a Grade 1 winner in waiting and it’ll be hugely disappointing if he can’t take this glaring opportunity before going on to bigger and better things. Minella Drama has a fitness edge over the other two so maybe he can chase the fav home but with just four runners, this is a no bet race.
Saturday Haydock and Ascot Tip: No Bet
2.05 Ascot – Chanelle Pharma 1965 Chase (Grade 2)
Another small field with just five runners in this 21f Grade 2 chase and one of them is Hitman. His first preference is Haydock though so this will most likely be a three runner affair as Do Your Job ran at Ascot on Friday.
If Hitman does turn up here, it would be a fascinating showdown between him and L’Homme Presse. The Williams gelding was sensational last season and you could forgive him a poor last run of the campaign at Aintree. He is a brilliant jumper, a strong traveller and he goes on all sorts of ground. However, his trainer hasn’t had a winner for 210 days (38 runners) so that is a negative.
Coole Cody is a quality handicapper but he pulled up at Cheltenham a week ago and that’s two poor runs on the bounce now. I’d imagine a clear round and a completion is his main aim. Saint Calvados is a very good horse on his going days but those days are hard to predict. The 9yo does look the biggest threat to L’Homme Presse (if Hitman doesn’t run) and he goes well fresh but again, with no e/w terms available, this is another no bet race.
Saturday Haydock and Ascot Tip: No Bet
2.25 Haydock – Stayers’ Handicap Hurdle (Premier)
The first decent betting race of the day. 13 will go to post for this Premier Handicap and one of our horses to follow for 2022, Might I, is the joint favourite with the Cesarewitch winner Run For Oscar. They’ll be racing off level weights thanks to Daniel King’s 5lb claim but on the forecast slow ground, you’d have to fancy the Fry horse.
Run For Oscar’s maiden win came on heavy but the vast majority of his best form is on good to soft or quicker. Might I, on the other hand, is 2/3 on soft or worse and I am hoping he wins this before hopefully going on to become a Stayers’ Hurdle contender in March.
Each Way Claims
One that could go well for each way backers is Irish raider, Ailie Rose. Steven Crawford’s consistent daughter of Fame And Glory ran a blinder on her return to action and handicap debut at Carlisle (20f hvy). In off 126, she kept on very nicely for 3rd, beat just 5L for the win by the useful Good Risk At All and 0.5L behind Wholestone in 2nd. The handicapper left both their marks alone but with Ben Bromley’s claim, she is 7lbs better off with the Twiston-Davies veteran and 13lbs better off with the winner.
Her last start over this trip resulted in an easy Novice win at Ayr so the step back up in distance will suit. Ben Bromley has already ridden 14 winners and he has 32 top 4 finishes from just 86 rides. He has a win and a second from just 4 rides for Crawford too. This mare remains unexposed in handicaps and with improvement likely from her first run back, Ailie Rose can hopefully run into a place at odds of 20/1.
Saturday Haydock and Ascot Tip: Ailie Rose e/w @ 20/1 (4 places) NB
2.40 Ascot – Coral Hurdle (Grade 2)
There is no doubting who the headline act is on the Ascot card today. The 22L Champion Novice hurdler Constitution Hill is back and he is 2/9 to make a winning return. The form of his Cheltenham win was boosted by Jonbon this week and the rain has come in time for him to run. Hopefully Nicky Henderson lets him take his chance and we get to see if he is going to be as effective against more seasoned opposition.
Goshen is back over timber after a poor chasing debut here over 19f. He has won over 16f here but he has flopped on his last three visits. The son of Authorized would be a hugely popular winner but he is never one to rely 100% on. Brewin’upastorm has failed to complete the last twice, pulling up at Aintree in April then unseating at the first at the same track two weeks ago. Aidan Coleman is back on board now and once he doesn’t suffer any jumping mishaps, he should run well.
Uhtred and For Pleasure are rank outsiders and they look to be out of their depth in this company. If it is ever going to be worth taking Constitution Hill on, it is probably first time out but the level of opposition today isn’t of a high enough calibre. This is another race where I’ll be keeping the powder dry, hopefully Constitution Hill puts on a show.
Saturday Haydock and Ascot Tip: No Bet
3.00 Haydock – Betfair Chase (Grade 1)
A Plus Tard is odds on for this Grade 1 Chase. The ultra-impressive Gold Cup winner makes his seasonal reappearance but surely the ground has to rate as a massive worry. There’s been plenty of rain around and Henry De Bromhead’s charge has won just one of his five starts on very soft or slower. His peak efforts have come on good to soft and it was that sort of ground when he won this last year. He was also beaten first time up in 2018, 2019 and 2020 so he may not be the certainty the bookies think he is.
Protektorat has 17L to find with the fav on their Gold Cup meeting. The Skelton horse will be more at home on this easier ground though and it wouldn’t surprise me if he managed to close that gap markedly. Dan Skelton has had eight winners in the last fortnight so his horses are on song and this fella ran a huge race on his return last season so a big run could be on the cards.
When he retires, they should name this race after Bristol De Mai. He won it 2017, 2018 and 2020, he was runner up in 2019 but last year he was pulled up on the good to soft ground. This 11yo absolutely relishes the muck and the more rain that falls, the better. He proved he was still a quality operator on bad ground with his runs at Lingfield and Haydock at the start of last year and he returns to action with his trainer in solid form.
The ground will be a worry for A Plus Tard and Frodon and Eldorado Allen would probably prefer a kinder surface too. Maybe Bristol De Mai is not the horse he was but he’s guaranteed to go on the ground, he loves Haydock and at odds of 10/1, hopefully he can roll back the years and put it up to the top two.
Saturday Haydock and Ascot Tip: Bristol De Mai e/w @ 10/1
3.15 Ascot – Hurst Park Handicap Chase (Class 2)
We backed Thyme White last time out at a nice price but he is only 5/1 here. It was an impressive display but will he back it up off a 7lb higher mark? Frero Bambou got to within 4.75L of Thyme White last time and he is back for another go. The handicapper left his mark alone and a 7lbs swing should enable him to close that gap. As we mentioned earlier, Venetia Williams hasn’t had a winner for a while and for that reason, I’m going to chance the 3rd from that race over C&D.
Before Midnight is trained by Sam Thomas and 6 of his last 8 runners have finished in the first four. He got dropped 1lb for that Ascot run last time so he is 8lbs better off with the winner here. He’s only 2lbs higher than when winning this contest last season and I’d imagine Thomas used that last race as a prep to have him 100% for a repeat bid.
Regular rider Sam Twiston Davies is at Haydock so Adam Wedge will take the reins. He is an able deputy and he has winning experience at Ascot. The drying conditions are ideal for this 9yo and I’m not sure he should be triple the price of Thyme White and double the odds of Frero Banbou. At 16/1, Before Midnight is the e/w selection.
Saturday Haydock and Ascot Tip: Before Midnight e/w @ 16/1 NAP
3.35 Haydock – Handicap Chase (Class 2)
A tricky end to the live action on ITV with this 25.5f handicap chase. On this ground it’ll take some getting and conditions look perfect for Lord Du Mesnil. He made a welcome return to form on his last start at Bangor (24f hvy), his first good run in almost a year. The worry is whether this comes too soon for him. It was only 10 days ago that he made that seasonal comeback and he had a hard race. I’m a big fan of his but he holds a Welsh National entry and I’d imagine that is his main target.
The one I’m going to chance here at big odds is If Not For Dylan. This horse is trained in Lanarkshire by Andrew Hamilton and he is having a fine season with his small string. Three of the four horses he trains have won in the past year, including this horse at Perth back in May. It was only the son of Doyen’s third start at 24f under rules. His three other tries at 24f+ resulted in an early unseat at Perth, a short head second at Wetherby (off 108) and a 4th over 26f at Carlisle off 111.
This horse has had three runs so far this season, all over 16/17f. It looks like Andrew Hamilton has been getting him fit for something and hopefully, this race is the target. He has won on soft, so the ground should be okay and both of Hamilton’s previous runners at Haydock have placed. If Not For Dylan’s sole previous run in class 2 company saw him finish 2nd and while this is harder, his 2L 3rd to the then 121 rated Gold De Bois (now rated 129) at Ayr in September looks like solid form now.
Every time this horse has run at 24f or further he has been short odds. Clearly, Hamilton believes he wants a trip and the formbook proves him right. There could be more to come from him now back at 3 miles plus and even though he is 2lbs wrong at the weights, If Not For Dylan can hopefully outrun his odds of 33/1.