by David Massey

December 18, 2020

Good morning all,

Heavier than me after a three-course meal at Haydock and quite probably Ascot today, and as Kirkland Tellwright said earlier in the week, Haydock will “not be for the faint-hearted”.

Goes without saying, this won’t be a day for non-stayers, and with that I’ve looked at the best of the ITV races to try and dig a bet out.

1.50 Ascot – 2m3f “For The Love Of Racing Handicap Chase”

Looks open. Tom Symonds can do little wrong at present and Saint De Vassy, will be top of most people's lists after a ready win at Exeter. A 10lb rise looks just about enough to make me look elsewhere, but it would hardly be a surprise if he was up to the job.

Saint Sonnet is one that my good friend Mr Delargy is keen on, and he still has the potential to get involved, but at a bigger price Enrichssant makes appeal for me.

I’ve been a fan of Enrichssant for a while and he looked the winner for 80% of his race at Doncaster last time, but in retrospect, maybe he was asked for his effort a bit too soon and if he’d been held onto for slightly longer, he might have won. Regardless, he jumped them into the ground, a trait that will hold him in good stead here, and I can see him going well. Going right-handed isn't a bother, and he can’t have the ground deep enough. In the hope he gets loose on the lead, he’s my sporting bet.

2.25 – 3m½f Long Walk Hurdle

Paisley Park was taken out of this on very testing ground last year, which has to be a concern again this time around as well. It’s a shame, as soft ground would be fine, and I could have seen him coming on from Newbury (where he was noticeably weak in the market beforehand) and reversing the form with Thyme Hill.

I’m also a big Roksana fan but whether she wants it this deep – or indeed, if she’s better left handed – is a question, and as long as we get 8 runners or more, I’ll be having a swing at Third Wind each-way to upset the applecart.

He travelled like the best horse in a competitive race at Haydock last time but like so many before him (and will do after), found the long run for home after the last just too much, and Main Fact wore him down. As Fergus Gillard can’t claim off Main Fact this time around, it does mean he is better off at the weights, so how you make one 5-1 and the other 25s is a bit of a mystery. I’d have him half that price and looks the best of the outsiders here, by quite some way too.

3.00 Ascot – 3m Good Luck Hollie In Spoty Silver Cup Hcp Chase

It didn’t take me long to whittle this down to a handful. Namely The Conditional, Regal Encore, Enfant Roi and Beware The Bear.

Regal Encore needs to bounce back from a poor one in the Ladbrokes Trophy but that was on much quicker ground, and this will be more his bag. It’s whether he can defy a mark of 150 at the age of 12 (13 in a fortnight, lest we forget) which he has done in the past, but that was a couple of years ago. It’s a big ask.

The Conditional’s case is plain to see, Enfant Roi is interesting on some of his French form (the Leech’s claimed it after it beat their Henryville at Auteuil in October, rather suggesting they thought the form was okay) but I’ve just about settled on Beware The Bear as the pick.

He’ll hit fences, he’ll come off the bridle, he’ll get pushed and shoved but ultimately he might have too much stamina for this lot. I thought that was a very good effort in the Ladbrokes Trophy considering the ground would have been plenty quick enough, and this looks much more his thing. He doesn’t race this way around all that much, but he is a C&D winner, and if he comes on from that Newbury run, he’s got a solid each-way chance here.

2.40 Haydock -3m1½f Tommy Whittle Chase

Remember Perfect Candidate winning here at the last Saturday meeting by about half an hour in heavy ground? This will make that look like a six furlong sprint at Thirsk. I’m selling the number of finishers at four.

Sojourn is an obvious start point – in form, loves heavy ground, stays well,but I do wonder whether he needs a long break – very long – in between his races. The Honeyball yard isn’t banging the winners in like they were last month either, and from an 11lb higher mark than his Carlisle win, I can pass.

Hill Sixteen is 2-2 since joining Nigel Twiston-Davies and anything that can wear down Lil Rockerfeller when he’s got loose isn’t going to fail for stamina, you feel. Again, the handicapper asks for plenty more though, and his price looks right rather than overpriced.

Sam’s Adventure is on a tempting mark and ought to be fitter after a couple of outings this autumn, and Enqarde has to be taken seriously on his chase debut for Dr Newland, but at a daft price my fiver goes on Salty Boy, who has some very good Irish form to his name (a defeat of Notebook at Clonmel back in 2018 a notable highlight) and has shaped encouragingly on two starts for David Bridgwater this autumn. He’s looking very much like a stamina test is what he wants these days, and with the handicapper already offering him some relief after just a couple of starts, is starting to look handicapped a bit better now. Cheekpieces are given a try as well, and there’s enough there to tempt me in.

Today's selection – Beware The Bear (e/w) 3.00 Ascot

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Good luck with all your bets today,


Disclaimer: All views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of TGH Trading Ltd or it's employees.

About the author 

David Massey

David Massey is an on course bookmakers clerk, a Sporting Life race card author, a horse racing punter and of course a regular contributor here at the Daily Punt

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  1. Hey Dave.
    Been looking at the King George for an ew shot.
    Trying to work out why Vinndication isn't third fav, rather than 50's.
    The horse has got alot going for it on form and right handed as well (unbeaten).
    2/1 fav to beat Cyrname at Wetherby getting only 2lb's
    The third horse finished 2nd in the Hennessey giving the winner a stone and Vinndication was travelling well when it came down that day. Too big at 50's, isn't it?!
    Best wishes and Merry Christmas to you and yours.

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