Good morning all,
A tremendous Saturday ahead which is headlined by the first British Grade 1 of the season; the Betfair Chase (3.00) at Haydock. Lostintranslation, trained by Colin Tizzard, who beat dual race winner Bristol De Mai last year, is the early favourite, and the pair will do battle again. Add in double King George winner Clan Des Obeaux and you have the makings of a good race.
In addition to the Betfair Chase, Haydock has a nicely balanced seven race card which should offer plenty of betting opportunities. The Betfair Exchange Stayers’ Handicap Hurdle (2.25) is likely to attract a good field.
The ITV cameras will be covering eight races on Saturday. Four from Haydock and four from an interesting looking Ascot card.
Inside today’s main piece. I have had look at the Haydock card to see if there is any value to be had in the ante post markets. Plus, I have a selection from Kempton's evening meeting.
Something for the weekend
In addition to trying to second guess trainer running plans, you must factor the weather into your ante-post punting at this time of year.
The going at Haydock is being described as soft, good to soft in places. Meanwhile at Ascot it’s soft. There’s plenty of rain forecast for Haydock on Friday and don’t expect the ground to be good to soft like last year. Less rain seems likely at Ascot so I will be assuming the going stays as it is.
There’s a fair few that have already caught my eye and over the next two days I will look at some of them.
First, a quick look at the Betfair Chase. In these sorts of races there usually isn’t much of an edge for punters and this is no exception.
3:00 – Betfair Chase (Grade 1) (Registered as The Lancashire Chase) – 3m 1 ½ f
Just five are set to go to post for this year’s race. If we assume that Bellshill and Keeper Hill are competing for the minor money and 4th place, that leaves last years first and second Lostintranslation and Bristol De Mail and Clan Des Obeaux as genuine contenders for the £90,032 on offer to the winner.
Lostintranslation had the benefit of run when winning last year. He will be making his seasonal debut here. The Tizzard runners have been needing their first runs but I think he will pretty much spot on for this. The 8-year-old’s form figures are 211 when returning from a 121+day absence. His sole poor run last season came when pulling up in the King George VI. The wind-op he had after Kempton seemed to have worked the trick as he was an excellent third in the Gold Cup.
It’s no exaggeration to say this is Bristol De Mai’s Gold Cup. A dual winner of the race in 2018 and 2019, he’s 4-5 at Haydock and last year was the first time he had been beaten at the course. No issues first time up and if the ground did become really testing, would have a good chance of reversing places with Lostintranslation.
Clan Des Obeaux looks a shade overpriced at around 3/1, as he’s joint top on Official Ratings (OR). However, he’s 0-4 on his first run of the season compared with 4-4 on his second start and was only 4th in the race in 2018. That said he’s a better horse now than he was two years ago and I think trainer Paul Nicholls will have the 8-year-old pretty straight for this. Flat track suits as does soft ground. But is he a better horse at 3m?
3:35 – My Odds Boost On Betfair Stayers' Handicap Chase (Class 3) – 3m 4 ½ f
Cloudy Glen looked a staying handicap chaser going places when winning the Southern National on Sunday. He heads the market here at around 11/4 and 7lb penalty would be unlikely to stop him but the quick turnaround might.
I mentioned the Kerry Lee micro angle yesterday and Kings Monarch would be a qualifier. The 7-year-old returned for the first time since pulling up last December when winning 3m handicap chase at Ffos Las (Heavy) last month. He finished third in this race 12 months ago and remains unexposed over marathon distances.
Perfect Candidate is now a 13-year-old but he showed he could still be capable of winning in this company when successful in this race 12 months ago. Seasonal return at Aintree will have blown the cobwebs away and he can’t be discounted, even off 5lb higher.
Sheneededtherun improved to win four handicap chases last season and showed good reserves of stamina to win over 3m 5 ½ f at Bangor in February. Below her best but not disgraced when 4th of 14 in the Midlands Grand National on her final start. Now 8lb higher than for her last win but she goes well on soft/heavy ground. Coral and Ladbrokes have the mare at 12/1, while Paddy Power are going just 7/1 about her chance.
Alminar is 2-8 over fences and made a promising return to action when 3rd of 13 at Cheltenham last month. The 7-year-old goes very well on soft/heavy ground and looked the sort who could improve for a marathon trip. He’s a generous 16/1 with Bet365 for the race but he's only 8/1 with Coral and Ladbrokes.
A welcome winning nap yesterday. Onto today and the highlights are a Veteran’s Chase at Warwick and some decent action at Kempton this evening. It's the latter track that provides today's best bet.
7:25 – Rock Eagle makes his all-weather debut, half-brother won here, for a trainer in red hot form. The 5-year-old has run well on all three starts since returning from over 12 months off the track. Up significantly in distance when 5th of 34 in the 2m 2f Cesarewitch last month. He looks worth persevering at staying trips and 2m could prove his optimum distance.
Selection: Rock Eagle – 9/4 @ Bet365
Good luck with your Wednesday bets.
John Burke is the tipster behind the long standing Victor Value service you can join him here – https://victorvalue.uk