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We’re cutting it close today, I know, so we’ll get right into it and refrain from a recap on last weekend’s racing. Although, it’s safe to say Thistlecrack didn’t impress round Cheltenham like his many ante-post backers would have liked.
So, we have racing from Haydock and Ascot, with the Betfair Chase the highlight of the day. Over at Bet365, they will give you the best price on every horse race shown live on Channel Four if you back it from 10am on the day of the race. That means you should wait until 10am Saturday and get the best price, as they will match their competitors. What could be better than best prices? Well, if you back a winner at 4/1 or more at Bet365 on any of the Channel Four races, you get a free bet that matches your stake on the winner for the next Channel Four race.
This is a good chance for My Tent or Yours to get off this season, but he’s getting on a bit and will be 10 years old in a couple of months. This is his first run since the end of April, too, and he might just need the run. Instead, preference is for Old Guard, who won last time out at Exeter. He’s a progressive sort and at five years old has more scope than his main rival.
The Stella Artois 1965 Chase next and it’s a cracking field, to be fair. God’s Own sets a very high standard, but we have former Champion Chase winner Dodging Bullets in the field, but I’m liking Kylemore Lough here. He has won five on the bounce over fences, his only defeat coming on his first outing over the obstacles this time last year. As long as he’s match fit, he should be in with a shout, especially with God’s Own carrying a penalty.
Yala Enki impressed last year, and looks to be well weighted here. It’s not the hardest race in the world, although there are a few in with a shout. Two Taffs won last time out, as did Caid Du Berlias and will be threats, but if Yala Enki can show the same performances as last season off a great handicap rating of 139, there could be real value.
The Ascot Hurdle is next, and it’s another great field considering there are only five runners. Lil Rockerfeller impressed last year, but disappointed last time out. Court Minstrel’s seasonal reappearance wasn’t too bad, either, and Zarkandar was unlucky yo have unseated. However, there’s no denying Yanworth is the real star of the show and although the odds will be prohibitive, it would be some shock if he was turned over on his way to a much bigger prize at the 2017 Cheltenham Festival.
The feature race of the day, the Betfair Chase, and Cue Card is the one that everyone is going to fancy. However, I just think Cue Card’s time was last season, and this season it’s all about the next breed. Coneygree might just need the run, although I would love a win for the Mark Bradstock trained horse. However, we’ll take a chance that Seeyouatmidnight is ready to take the next step up and that Cue Card and Coneygree are under-cooked. Still, Coneygree would be a really popular winner and would blow the Gold Cup market wide open already, and Thistlecrack backers would be incredibly upset.
A tough little handicap is up next, and although there’s only nine runners, it’s a tough one to work out and it’s a very open field. Sire De Grugy, the old stalwart, is leading the weights, and it would be a shock if Gary Moore’s stalwart could lug top weight around here. Vaniteux looks good, but Nicky Henderson’s charge might just need the run. Instead, we’ll take a chance on the aptly named Quite by Chance for the simple fact he won three weeks ago, will have come on for the run and looks well-handicapped.
Last race of the day, and it’s over 3 miles and it’s only six-runners, so we have a chance of getting a nice winner to end the day. Firebird Flyer had a decent year last year, but doesn’t seem well handicapped. Saroque could be well in at the weights, but preference is for De Vous A Moi who had a great year last year and with Sue Smith in good form should go well at a decent price.