When the going gets soft, Venetia Williams’ horses usually get going and she has a number of strong contenders on a competitive card at Haydock this afternoon.
888sport Handicap Chase
One of them is ASTIGOS in the 888sport.com Handicap Chase at 3.10. This horse doesn’t get his head in front very often, but conditions – trip and going – look perfect for him today and he is lightly raced over fences. His run at Cheltenham two starts back suggests he is a well handicapped horse.
He is bottom weight here, but another horse who could be a blot on the handicap is the runner at the other end of the weights – VIRAK. This is his first outing in a handicap over fences, but his last two successes in novice chases pointed to a horse capable of rating much higher than his current mark.
Interestingly, his pilot, Sean Bowen, needs one more winner over fences to be able to ride in the National and Paul Nicholls has been desperate to get Bowen that winner. The fact that he gets the leg up here is surely a tip in itself.
|Astigos (ew)||3.10 Haydock||13/2||Bet365, Titanbet|
|Virak (ew)||3.10 Haydock||4/1||Bet365, Titanbet|
888sport Handicap Chase
Williams may win the other valuable handicap chase at 3.45, courtesy of TENOR NIVERNAIS. The drop in trip and class should suit after he contested two top class handicaps on his last two starts. He loves the mud and is more than capable of defying his current mark.
His biggest danger could be DARE TO ENDEAVOUR, who bounced back to form last time at Sandown. The softer ground here will be in his favour and the first time blinkers could eke out that final bit of improvement needed to see Tom George’s horse back in the winner’s enclosure.
|Tenor Nivernais (ew)||3.45 Haydock||9/1||Bet365, BetVictor, Betfred|
|Dare To Endeavour (ew)||3.45 Haydock||14/1||BetVictor, Betfred|
Connollys Red Mills Precision Nutrition Series Handicap Hurdle Final
In the big handicap hurdle at 2.35, we like NET WORK ROUGE for the in-form Kim Bailey. Offspring of this horse’s sire, Network, usually relish the mud and this lightly raced six year old, who has a point to point success to his name, should improve for the step up in trip today.
|Net Work Rouge (ew)||2.35 Haydock||9/1||Bet365, Titanbet|
888sport Novices Limited Handicap Chase
The opening race on the card is a novice handicap chase and VILLAGE VIC should be hard to beat. He probably ran into a very well handicapped horse at Newbury last time, but was well clear of the second and so can almost be viewed as a winner without a penalty. He has won on soft ground before.
|Village Vic (win)||1.25 Haydock||11/4||Sky Bet, Ladbrokes|
888sport Tim Molony Handicap Chase
Finally, ZIGA BOY looks the one to be on in the Tim Molony Handicap for stayers. You can forget his effort two starts back as only one horse could cope with atrocious conditions at Ffos Las that day and this lightly raced six year old surely has more to offer. He got his season back on track at Sandown last time out and is worth another go at this marathon trip.
|Ziga Boy (ew)||2.00 Haydock||13/2||Sky Bet|