Horse Racing 28th October, 2016: Wetherby & Ascot

It’s been over six months since we got down to business on the free horse racing tips in the Sports Betting Tips office, and there really is only one reason for that – summer jumps racing. Anyone who followed my free tips last season will know that I love the jumps and the flat is a mere sideshow to get us through the summer. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a trip to Royal Ascot and a trip to HQ for the Guineas, but is there anything better than a cold winter’s afternoon watching some of the most majestic horses jumping obstacles? I don’t think so.

So, now that we’re back with the free horse racing tips, it’s worthwhile just catching up on any news coming into the new jumps season. Well, Thistlecrack has gone chasing. He hacked up in his novice chase as he starts his bid for Gold Cup glory. He’s currently around 9/2 to win the Gold Cup come March, and he’s at the head of the field. Regardless of the outcome on the day, it’s far too short for a novice chaser with so many variables to consider, including horses coming back from injury or stepping up in trip, between now and the big day. But now we’ve reached Charlie Hall Chase time, and that means we’re going to be seeing all of the big guns coming out over the coming weeks and months, and I can’t wait.
So, what do we have for our return to our free horse racing tips? Well, we have four races from Wetherby, with the aforementioned Charlie Hall chase at 3:20 the highlight of the day in Yorkshire. We also have four races from Ascot, and the Sodexo Gold Cup is the feature race of the day there, but we also have some other cracking races to come from both meetings, starting at 1:35. Remember to get over to our friends at Bet365, as they have some amazing offers for horse racing. You will get best price on all Channel Four races, if you back a winner at 4/1 or better, you get a risk free bet for the same stake. But what’s even better is that Bet365 do Best Odds Guaranteed Plus, so not only do you get the best odds, but they will boost that even further. Take a price of 3/1 and the horse wins at 4/1? Bet365 will pay you 9/2!

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1:35 Wetherby

The first race of the day is a five-runner novice handicap chase, and it’s quite a nice field, actually. However, this is all about how Solstice Star takes to chasing. Sure, he’s top weight, but he has a lot in hand over this lot on hurdling form. All of them, that is, except Fou Et Sage, who is coming back to the UK after summering in France and taking to Fences there. With 5lbs in hand over Solstice Star, a chance is taken on Fou Et Sage, although it would be no surprise to see Solstice Star hack up.

1:55 Ascot

Another novice handicap chase, and we have six runners for our first televised race from Ascot. It’s been a long summer for Master Dee, with little time off between races. He’s got the form in the book, but he might have been raced a bit too hard and the trip might not be perfect for him here, so a chance is taken on one of the more lightly-raced runners in the field. San Benedeto struggled on his chase debut, but he clattered two fences and he never really got going. However, he’ll have come on from that race, and should give a good account here. It’s a really trappy race and wide open, though.

2:10 Wetherby

A nice listed mares’ hurdle next from Wetherby, and there seem to be quite a few potential winners out of the seven runners. However, one that stands out is Stephanie Frances. I liked her last season, and she ran OK at Cheltenham, finishing 8th behind Vroum Vroum Mag. She had been sent chasing, and after a couple of wins and a second, she has been returned to the smaller obstacles. Miss Crick looks a threat, but I’m concerned about how much she has been run over the summer. Midnight Jazz will appreciate the trip, and should go well,l but she’s held by Stephanie Frances on 2015 form, and nothing has shown me that she’ll be able to reverse that.

2:25 Ascot

A listed handicap chase next, and it’s a nice puzzle to try and work out here. Croco Bay sets the standard at a rating of 146. Pearls Legend had a good season last year, but lost his way later on, and it’s hard to see that coming back. But I like Noche De Reyes, who has the weights reversed with Miss Tenacious, so should be able to get in front of here. He’s had a couple of runs, but nothing too strenuous, so should be race fit, which is always a bonus at this time of the year. The Skelton pairing for Yorkist appeals and should give a good account, but we’ll stick with Tom George’s runner.

2:45 Wetherby

The West Yorkshire Hurdle is next to whet our appetite for the Charlie Hall Chase, and it’s a good field assembled for it. Lil Rockerfeller sets a high standard, but wasn’t able to step up to the next level in the Champion Hurdle. Silsol leads the way on ratings, and having no penalty to carry is a huge plus for Paul Nicholls’ runner. But the one that stands out for me is Ballyoptic, who won the Sefton Novice Hurdle from Bellshill last season, and warmed up for this with a win at Chepstow over a shorter distance. He has a little to find on ratings, but I think that’s easily done.

3:00 Ascot

A handicap hurdle over 2 miles from Ascot for us next, and a lot of last season’s handicap campaigners are out in force. Sternrubin did us a huge favour last season, and seems to hold the lightly-raced Ch’Tibello on last season’s form. Cloonacool is the one that appeals in the middle of the field. He’s had a run to freshen him up, and although he fell, he was going well, and Stuart Edmunds will have him ready for this and Josh Moore will do a solid job on-board. Instant Karma at the bottom of the handicap will be looking to continue the great run of form, but this is a harder prospect for Michael Bell’s runner.

3:20 Wetherby

And now the main event. All eyes are on Cue Card after last year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup, and quite right. On figures alone, he should win this pulling away, but ratings only tell half the picture. Cue Card’s return to form was a shock this time last year, and there’s no denying he’s a classy horse. However, time isn’t on his side, and I think he had his chance last year, and now’s the time for the young guard to come through. That’s why I’ll be plumping for Blaklion, who really impressed me last season and then went on to win the RSA Chase. He couldn’t back it up at Aintree, but then few do. If he’s trained on, he will definitely pick up a big prize or two this season, and I think the Charlie Hall could be the start of something. Virak was a good handicapper last season, and might have been worth an each-way dabble had the field been bigger, but at seven-runners, we’ll just be sticking to Blaklion.

3:35 Ascot

Last race of the day, the Sodexo Gold Cup, and it’s all about Saphir Du Rheu, who disappointed last year for Paul Nicholls. If SDR is back to form, he should win this handilly, but it’s hard to see after being winless for a year. Tea For Two had a great season, but it looks like the handicapper is now ahead of him. Instead, a chance is taken on Voix D’Eau who has had a prep run for this and should have come on nicely for it. He knows how to win, and the Harry Fry and Noel Fehily combination also know how to win, so as long as Saphir Du Rheu isn’t back to his best, I like the chances of Voix D’Eau.

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