With Ascot predictably abandoned early this morning, Taunton has since followed suit – so all eyes now turn to Haydock’s valuable card.
Cheltenham Preview Evening Novices’ Chase
With Cheltenham less than 2 months away there are likely to be plenty of clues on offer for the big meeting, so the most fitting place to start is with the Cheltenham Preview Evening Novices Chase at 1.30.
This looks a real cracker on paper, with all six in with some sort of a chance. Plenty of them have good form around here on soft ground, so the favourites look worth opposing.
Tom George’s yard continues in fine form and BUN DORAN has looked a star in the making on a number of his starts. He has also thrown in a couple of disappointing efforts, but his trainer thinks he is really maturing now and he should run well here with conditions to suit.
Outsider MAXIMISER can’t be ruled out either despite his price. He has loads of natural talent too and is lightly raced enough to still have plenty of improvement in him. His trainer thinks the world of him and he believes a good effort here will put him firmly on course for the big spring festivals.
|Bun Doran (ew)||1.30 Haydock||9/1||Bet365|
|Maximiser (ew)||1.30 Haydock||16/1||Bet365|
Champion Hurdle Trial Hurdle
There’s a Champion Hurdle Trial at 2.40, where The New One is fancied to win the race for the third time, but he hasn’t always impressed in those victories and this looks a better race than some recent renewals.
On that basis, we would suggest backing L’AMI SERGE, despite his cramped odds. He looked all over the winner in the Relkeel last time out before being outstayed close home and the drop in trip should really play to his strengths.
|L’Ami Serge (win)||2.40 Haydock||7/4||Sky Bet|
Peter Marsh Handicap Chase
There is much more value on offer to punters in the Peter Marsh Chase, where a number of market leaders look vulnerable.
Alary has been all the rage in the market recently following some glowing reports from man of the moment Colin Tizzard, but for a horse being talked about as a possible Gold Cup contender it is a surprise to look back at his form and see him winning so infrequently.
Bristol De Mai has to prove he truly stays this trip, whilst Definitely Red has faced a hike in the weights following his Wetherby win over Christmas.
So – with a shock eminently possible – we would recommend backing Bishops Road, O Maonlai and Katenko.
We have tipped BISHOPS ROAD a few times in the past and today could be the day he resumes winning ways. He was slightly disappointing in the Welsh National last time out, but Chepstow is quite a specialist track and it is easy to forgive any horse a poor run there. He has course winning form to his name and Kerry Lee’s yard is going well.
O MAONLAI tends to win or be pulled up. The keys to him seem to be a flat track, soft ground and a good break between races. He has all three today and his yard has always thought him capable of winning some big prizes over fences. He was impressive at Newbury last time out and the manner of victory suggested he could cope with his rise in the weights.
KATENKO is a much more speculative selection, but it amazing to see the mark he is running off here considering he was thought of as a possible Gold Cup contender a few seasons ago. If he can bounce back to anything like his best he can make a mockery of his price.
|Bishops Road (ew)||3.15 Haydock||10/1||Betfair|
|O Maonlai (ew)||3.15 Haydock||22/1||Bet365|
|Katenko (ew)||3.15 Haydock||28/1||Bet365|