Nearly all the National Hunt big guns have no had their first runs of the season. We’ve seen Champion Hurdle favourite Faugheen get turned over at seriously short odds, Coneygree and Don Cossack have won at seriously prohibitive odds, More Of That has gone favuorite for the RSA Chase after a very impressive win last Friday at Cheltenham, Sprinter Sacre came back and looked imperious. All that’s left is to see Gold cup favourite Vautour make his seasonal bow, and Saturday November 21st sees that in the 1965 Chase at Ascot. Now, last weekend wasn’t great, we ended up with a loss of exactly 6 units, which takes our profit down to +24.23 units, after nine weeks of free horse racing tips. So, to a £10 stake, the free horse racing tips are now just over£240 in profit. Still, you can’t get the 10/1 winners every week, can you?
Two Saturday meetings covered by Channel Four Racing and, as always, you’ll get free horse racing tips for all the televised races. To be fair, the fields are very small for the big races, so it’s going to be hard to land anything at seriously big prices. Still, I’ll do what I can to sniff out the value in these free horse racing tips, and if we can get some fancy price winners, all the better.
Now, I need to remind you that our great friends at Bet365 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. So, back a winner of the 1:50 at Haydock for up to £50 and get free bet of up to £50 on the 2:05 at Ascot!
Now, I did mention that we’ve not got fields bursting at the seams today, and the first race of the day from Haydock is proof of that. It’s a four-runner 2 mile hurdle, and it’s actually a decent field.
Irving sets the form this season, winning over 1m 7 furlongs at Wincanton last time out. He’s won a Group 1, and sets a fine enough standard. No concerns about the trip, he won’t mind the ground and deserves his place at the head of the market right now.
Melodic Rendezvous was 7 lengths behind Irving in that race at Wincanton. He had 3lbs in hand over him that day, off level weights today, so if anything he should be beaten further.
Top Notch (NAP), second in this year’s Triumph Hurdle is very lightly raced, with five wins before the second place at this year’s Cheltenham Festival. The Triumph Hurdle form look to be working out well, and Top Notch could be hard to beat if prepped for this. Should go off favourite if all goes well, so take any early price you can around the 6/4 mark, and if he’s ready for this, it could be a procession, as I like Top Notch a lot, and he should go on to bigger and better races after this.
Fou et Sage… well, 4th place picks up £4,580 and 3rd takes home £9,190, which is all connections can really hope for with two quality horses at the head of the market.
I’m not exactly sure if this warrants a write-up, but I’ll do what I can. We’ve got five runners going to post for the 1965 Chase over 2 miles 5 furlongs.
Ptit Zig is giving weight all round, but impressed on his seasonal reappearance at Down Royal. He was 18 lengths behind Vautour in the Novice Chase at Cheltenham this year and that was off level weights. While there’s no doubt Ptit Zig is classy, it’s a lot to ask to turn that around giving the Gold Cup favourite 5lbs, too. Runner-up spot beckons.
Third Intention can’t beat some quality handicappers, so I can’t see him troubling some of the classiest chasers in training. It’s the same for Seventh Sky.
The 2014 RSA Chase winner, O’Faolains Boy looks very interesting. He’s been off the racecourse for almost 600 days after being pulled up at Aintree, but the form of that RSA is holding up very well. Now, does he have enough to beat Vautour? Well, probably not, but he is getting a few pounds in hand, so you never know.
Vautour, what is there to say? Four races over fences, three wins and his only defeat came on soft ground on a trip that’s a little on the short side for him. So this should be a cakewalk for him, right? Well, yeah, probably. But there’s no value.
Instead, we’ll look for a bit of value and take O’Faolains Boy each-way to fill second place. A straight forecast with Vautour to beat O’Faolains Boy might also be worthwhile, but we’ll take the each-way bet just on the off chance that Vautour isn’t wound up for this.
Finally, we have a race with a decent field. 16 runners and 2 miles 6 furlongs to run in this fixed brush hurdle race, and it’s an extremely competitive race.
Yala Enki turned his first run of the year into a procession at Haydock, winning by an eased down 16 lengths. It wasn’t the greatest race in the world, sure, but he could end up being very well handicapped, and with Venetia Williams’ stable in flying form at the moment, it’s hard to look past Yala Enki.
Tea For Two sits at the head of the market right now, but I can’t find anything I really like. Is he well handicapped? Maybe. It’s a step down in class, sure, but he’s struggled in his last few races, disappointed at Cheltenham in the Festival and I just can’t justify the favouritism.
Closing Ceremony sets a decent standard, but sitting at top weight in this strong field makes it a big ask for him to take this down. He’s got some races in him, but this is just a bit too much to ask. He will have needed that first run for the season, so don’t read too much into that though, as he’s far better than the bare form. Either wait for him to go down the handicap a bit, or look for him off level weights.
Definitly Red has the course form, and coming down the handicap a bit is definitely going to help here. I like Definitly Red a lot, and he should be there come the finish. However, I think there’s one that looks an improver and could be very well handicapped, and that’s Yala Enki (NB), who is ticking all the boxes as an improving handicapper.
Back to the small fields for the Coral Hurdle, and we’ve got six runners going to post for this 2 mile 6 furlong race.
Heading the way is Rock On Ruby, who disappointed last time out trying the longer distance of 3 miles. The veteran didn’t get the trip, hated the ground looked a shade of his former self. He’s heading the market at the moment, and it’s a bit puzzling as to why, as he’s giving weight away all round, and the field are no slouches.
On official ratings, Court Minstrel is only 3lbs behind Rock On Ruby, and is getting 4lbs in allowances. However, he’s been running throughout the summer, and although he’s won some handicaps impressively, especially last time out off top weight, winning well giving the second well over a stone, it’s a step up in class and I don’t think he’s quite good enough.
Like Court Minstrel, this is a step up in class for Brother Tedd, however, he’s got good form in the bag and beat Silviniaco Conte in his first run this year. Sure, Silvinicao Conte won’t have been looking to win, more like a prep, but it was a big scalp to take, even if he was getting 13lbs. He’s getting 8 lbs from Rock On Ruby and is only 5lbs back on official ratings. A big, big chance here, and we have to be taking Rock on Ruby with Brother Tedd, as he has nothing to prove, while Rock On Ruby has it all to prove. With age and weight on his side, Brother Tedd it is.
Grumeti was around 17 lengths behind Rock On Ruby last time out, he won’t be closing that gap this time.
River Maguire returns to hurdles after winning over fences in the summer. A huge step up in class, one just making up the numbers. And it’s about the same for Sea Lord.
Three miles, five runners, it’s the feature race of the day, the Betfair Chase. And although we’ve got a small field, it’s a hot, hot race.
No allowances given in this, so we’re all off level weights, unlike the Charlie Hall Chase, which Cue Card ran away with. However, he’s facing Ballynagour and Dynaste, both of whom were racing off the same weight. So, all in all, Cue Card should, in theory, have the beating of both of them. Holywell was giving up 6lbs, but was beaten a distance. So purely on Charlie Hall form, Cue Card is the one to beat out of that quartet.
However, Silviniaco Conte will have something to say about that. Last year’s winner, he beat Dynaste in this race last year by 8 lengths and Cue Card by 10 lengths. He’s a flat track bully, we know that, and he’s going to be tough to beat.
But I don’t like the odds-on of Silvinicao Conte – such an unpredictable sort. Instead, we’re going to have a speculative wager on Ballynagour. Why? Well, when he faced Silvinicao Conte on a flat track, Aintree, he got within a neck of him. This time out, after a prep run, which we can forgive him, he should be there or there abouts. Don’t read too much into the Charlie Hall, as he was kept out of the mix until late – if he’s ridden a bit more prominently, we should be seeing much more from him.
A two mile handicap chase up next, and it’s an open contest in this 10-runner field.
Cold March won well round course and distance last time out at the end of October. He’s went up 10lbs for that win, but that might not be enough to stop him – horses for courses and all that.
Fago looks like he might need a bit further, and might find this two miles just a bit on the hot side, even though the ground is going to have some give in it. It’s not a testing track compared to some, so look for something wit a bit more speed to show him up.
Crown Theatre has run well in Ireland, and could be well in here near the bottom of the handicap, but the wins form in Ireland hasn’t amounted to much, so the short enough price can’t really be justified here.
The one that looks quite interesting right at the bottom of the handicap is Bullet Street who is handicapped to go quite close with Cold March based on their previous meeting at Ascot. Sure, Bullet Street was beaten well, but he only needs to find a few pounds on that previous performance to get in front of Cold March, and he’s got the ability to do that at a fancy enough price.
Last race of the day, and it’s a 10-runner handicap chase over 3 miles.
Royal Palladium looks very interesting at the bottom of the handicap. Will get this trip, will relish the ground and after a nice run at Wincanton a fortnight ago, he’s got to go well.
There’s questions over Vieux Lion Rouge getting the trip, although he’s on a hat-trick.
Toby Lerone, well, the stable is in good form, there’s a lot to like, but seeing out this trip is a concern. He’s tried 3 miles at Haydock in the past and come up short, so I can’t see why he’ll find it different this time, when there’s at least one horse in the shape of Royal Palladium that we know will stay and who he’s only getting 1lb from.