There’s quality racing everywhere you look today with top class action at Ascot, Haydock and Wincanton, plus a couple of graded races at Gowran Park.
Betfair Ascot Chase
The star turn is undoubtedly Cue Card and connections will be disappointed if he doesn’t enhance his Gold Cup claims in the Betfair Ascot Chase. He’s not a backable price though and the main dangers look to be TAQUIN DU SEUIL & TRAFFIC FLUIDE.
Both can be backed against the favourite in case there is an upset. Taquin Du Seuil won the BetVictor Gold Cup at Cheltenham earlier in the season and ran respectably in the Lexus Chase next time out. He is at his best with some give in the ground.
Traffic Fluide is still very lightly raced and has run well here before. He is totally unexposed at the trip, which has looked as if it will suit him in the past.
|Taquin Du Seuil (ew)||3.35 Ascot||7/1||Bet365|
|Traffic Fluide (ew)||3.35 Ascot||22/1||Stan James|
Sodexo Reynoldstown Novices’ Chase
The first big race at the Berkshire circuit is the Reynoldstown Chase, where Coneygree’s half brother, FLINTHAM, appears overpriced. He ran well for a long way on his return at Chepstow recently and he may prove hard to peg back here with that run under his belt.
|Flintham (ew)||1.50 Ascot||5/1||Bet365|
Keltbray Swinley Chase
The Swinley Chase at 2.25pm sees the return of O’Faolains Boy. He looks very well treated, but has some big spring targets and may not be fully wound up for this.
A safer bet, therefore, may be the ultra consistent TENOR NIVERNAIS who has won here before and looked in need of this longer trip last time out.
|Tenor Nivernais (win)||2.25 Ascot||10/1||Bet365|
Les Ambassadeurs Casino Handicap Hurdle
Finally at Ascot there is a very competitive handicap hurdle at 3.00pm, where two to back at big prices are CYRNAME and WOLFCATCHER.
Cyrname ran far too freely on his first start for Paul Nicholls. He has been off the track for a while since and Nicholls has probably been doing plenty with him behind the scenes to get him ready for this. He had some good form in France.
Wolfcatcher has his first start for Ian Williams. He was a decent juvenile hurdler for John Ferguson and looks a potential improver. Richard Johnson is also an eye-catching jockey booking.
|Cyrname (ew)||3.00 Ascot||18/1||Bet365|
|Wolfcatcher (ew)||3.00 Ascot||20/1||Bet365|
Betfred Grand National Trial Handicap Chase
Haydock’s big race is the Betfred Grand National Trial where Blaklion looks a worthy favourite. However, there are plenty of proven stayers in the field looking to lower his colours including KRUZHLININ, who has looked better than ever this season and has good course form.
So does VINTAGE CLOUDS, who was running a massive race in the Peter Marsh when coming down three out. He has been dropped 6lbs and was running out of the handicap that day, so he could be ahead of the handicapper here.
For those looking to smash one out of the park it might also be worth chucking a few quid at AQALIM. He is not straightforward, but might be suited by this marathon trip. He is incredibly well treated based on his best hurdles form.
|Kruzhlinin (ew)||3.15 Haydock||10/1||Bet365|
|Vintage Clouds (ew)||3.15 Haydock||15/2||Betfair|
|Aqalim (ew)||3.15 Haydock||66/1||Bet365|
Albert Bartlett Prestige Novices’ Hurdle
The Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle at 3.50pm is a trial for the race of the same name at the Festival.
No Hassle Hoff is the one to beat based on his effort at Doncaster last time out, but THE WORLDS END could improve past him now stepped up in trip.
|The Worlds End (win)||3.50 Haydock||7/2||Betfred|
Betfred Rendlesham Hurdle
The Rendlesham is a possible Stayers Hurdle trial, although it is hard to see any of these taking the big prize at Cheltenham. If bouncing back to his best ZARKANDAR could be the one to beat. He looked as good as ever at Aintree first time out, but has disappointed twice since.
|Zarkandar (win)||2.05 Haydock||10/3||Bet365|
Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle
The Pertemps Qualifier could well go the way of Call To Order as he looks like a horse Jonjo O’Neill has laid out for the Festival, but at the prices it is hard to ignore KNOCK HOUSE.
He was well fancied on his first start for Donald McCain over fences recently but ran as if something was amiss. He has been off for a while since and returns over hurdles sporting a first time tongue tie.
It is also interesting to see Alan Fleming bring CHAIN GANG across the Irish Sea and he looks overpriced too.
Theo’s Charm is a danger based on his excellent effort here in the Fixed Brush Final.
|Knock House (ew)||2.40 Haydock||20/1||BetVictor, Coral|
|Chain Gang (ew)||2.40 Haydock||25/1||Sky Bet, Betfair|
Betfred TV Victor Ludorum Juvenile Hurdle
The other horse to back at Haydock is ADMIRAL BARRATRY in the Victor Ludorum. He looks just the type Nick Williams excels with and this is a race the yard has won twice since 2010.
|Admiral Barratry (ew)||1.30 Haydock||5/1||Bet365|
Red Mills Trial Hurdle
The day’s big race in Ireland is the Red Mills Trial Hurdle.
Jezki and TOMBSTONE clash again after the former returned from a long layoff to beat the latter at Navan recently.
However, there is a chance that the former Champion Hurdler could bounce and Tombstone has a nice swing in the weights. All in all, he looks good value to beat the hot favourite.
|Tombstone (win)||3.05 Gowran Park||10/3||Betfair, Paddy Power|