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Saturdays Bets - 30/12/2017

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Saturdays Bets - 30/12/2017 Empty Saturdays Bets - 30/12/2017

Post by beakers2 on Sat 30 Dec 2017, 11:47 am

1.35 Haydock – Racing UK On The Go Handicap Hurdle.

It is likely to be hard work for the runners at Haydock on Saturday and so I think it is best to focus our attention on horses with form in similar conditions.

Both of Nicky Richards’ two runners have run here in soft ground and despite carrying top weight, the pick of the pair looks to be Isaacstown Lad, who was travelling well when falling here last time. The ten-year-old was well-backed on that occasion and as long as he is none the worse for his fall, he looks one of the more likely contenders. He should relish the ground having won on heavy ground on three occasions but you have to wonder how hard he will find carrying a big weight.

Neil Mulholland’s Fingerontheswitch has shown most of his best form on a sounder surface in the past but he ran well enough here last time to suggest he can have a say in this contest. He was sixth in the valuable handicap hurdle won by Sam Spinner in November and having been dropped 3lb for that run, I think he can run well here. He was beaten 28 lengths here last time but this doesn’t look as competitive a race and he shouldn’t be too far away if he reproducing that form.

Tom George’s Dandy Duke has been in fine form of late, completing a hat-trick of victories at Southwell in December. The six-year-old got a 9lb rise in the weights for his latest success but he still looked to have a bit in hand that day so further improvement isn’t out of the question.

However, the one who looks to have most going for him is THOMAS PATRICK who was touched off over course and distance earlier this month. Tom Lacey’s five-year-old has improved since being stepped up to 3m, winning at Exeter before his narrow reverse last time. His narrow defeat did earn him a 4lb rise in the weights but considering the winner has gone on to win again, the form looks to have a strong look to it. He has only had the five runs over hurdles so should still be open to some improvement and he looks the one they have to beat.


THOMAS PATRICK – 1pt win @ 100/30 (bet365)

1.50 Newbury – Betfred Wishing You A Very Happy New Year Handicap Hurdle.

Some very heavy ground is in the offing for this small-ish, yet pretty competitive field of 8, so we’ll certainly be looking for a horse with heavy ground form and one that is certain to stay this two-and-a-half-mile trip, if not further.

The favourite at the time of writing, the Alex Hales-trained Huntsman Son, is the only one in the field that hasn’t really encountered soft ground under rules, so this heavy ground is a major question mark, especially given he’s up dramatically in class and up 11lb in the weights for his last win at Doncaster. He’s clearly a progressive horse that was obviously ahead of the handicapper, but this latest rise in the weights and in quality of race could well be enough to find him out on ground this soft.

Last year’s winner, Theligny, races off just a 6lb higher mark here, but the ground is a massive question mark having not raced on anything worse than good to soft in his career so far, so he’s passed over, while Shelford has been running in staying chases off a much lower mark without much success recently, so he’s a long shot as well.

Alan King has a pair of contenders in the race, starting with top-weight, Sir Antony Browne, who makes a belated seasonal reappearance after being last seen in a novice hurdle at Ayr in the spring where he finished well beaten behind Give Me A Copper and Burbank. A mark of 141 looks hugely over the top from the handicapper and even if he was race-fit, I’d have a major worry as to whether he could defy that kind of mark. The positives would be that he’s won on heavy ground and should stay this trip fine, but it’s a huge ask off this kind of mark and after a 253-day break.

Wilde Blue Yonder, King’s second entry, has been off even longer – 616 days in fact – so similar comments apply, even though his mark of 133 could be workable on the best of his old form (5th in a Supreme and 4th in a Mersey Novices’ Hurdle). He was in the process of running well in heavy ground at this track when falling back in December 2013, so that shouldn’t be an issue and if it wasn’t for the fact he’s been seen on the track just once in three and a half years, he’d be a very interesting runner. Again, it would be a massive ask for the horse after such a long time off and after so many issues.

Nicky Henderson won this race with Whisper back in 2013 and he’s got Brave Eagle as his representative this time around – rarely for a horse from Seven Barrows, he looks as if he relishes soft ground, so conditions shouldn’t be a problem and neither should the trip be as he’s shaped as if tests such as this or even stiffer tests would be suitable. He was last seen over two miles, finishing 15 lengths behind the well-handicapped Spederek at Exeter to whom he was giving 6lb. That horse is now rated 138 over hurdles, so Brave Eagle’s mark of 131 could well be lenient, especially now he’s stepped up to a more suitable trip. This is a better race though and he was a rather average pointer, so it is a question whether he’s not got that much more improvement to come, but he’s only had three races over timber so far in his career, so it certainly can’t be ruled out.

However, the two horses with possibly the best form in the race are four-year-olds Diable De Sivola and Dynamite Dollars. The former, trained by Nick Williams, is yet to encounter officially heavy ground, but ran well at Cheltenham on what can only be described as very soft ground over a slightly further trip. He did run out of gas late on that day, but he’d been pressing the leaders on the more churned up inner line throughout and if he can keep a little more in reserve this time, this less testing track and slightly shorter trip should suit nicely. He’s been running well of this mark of 132 in his past three races, including a fifth in the Martin Pipe at the Festival, so there’s no reason why he wouldn’t go well again here after plenty of time to recover for his previous exertions (42 days). You could argue that the handicapper seems to have his measure, but he is only four, so there’s surely some more improvement to come from this consistent sort.

Paul Nicholls’ Dynamite Dollars couldn’t live with Grade 2 company on his last start at Cheltenham, but his two-mile Listed third in heavy ground at Haydock was a good effort. A mark of 133 for his first foray into handicap company looks fair and complete with the 5lb claim of Bryony Frost, he could be handicapped to win on a surface he clearly handles pretty well. The big concern would be the trip – he hasn’t proved that he wants this far just yet in his career despite being a relative of master stayer Big Buck’s and for that reason, I’ll sway towards the claims of DIABLE DE SIVOLA, who has shown that this trip is right up his alley and could be ready to grab a deserved victory.


DIABLE DE SIVOLA – 1pt win @ 9/2 (BetVictor)

2.25 Newbury – Betfred Mandarin Handicap Chase.

This is sure to be an attritional contest given the ground so it’s best to focus on those proven over marathon trips and on heavy going.

2014 winner KNOCKANRAWLEY fits the bill in both of those categories and should be fully tuned up for this having had a decent pipe opener at Ayr last month. He has gone up only 1lb for being narrowly outbattled by Catamaran du Seuil, who ran a mighty race to finish second in the Tommy Whittle a week ago, and looks fairly treated on the back of that effort. He lines up here off the same mark as when runner-up in last season’s Eider Chase and although he isn’t the most eye-catching traveller, he stays all day long, which should come in very handy here.

The biggest threat to the selection could well be Shotgun Paddy who finished a couple of places ahead of him in the Classic Chase at Warwick but was a length and a half away in third in the Eider next time out. He hasn’t set the world alight in a pair of runs this season but his Chepstow effort earlier this month was a slight improvement and he was still eased 3lb by the assessor to a career-low chase mark of 132. The veteran has spent the last few years threatening to land another big staying chase pot but he has gone winless since winning the Classic Chase nearly four years ago and may have to settle for a place again here.

At the other end of the age scale, five-year-old Daklondike is the most interesting runner in the field, seemingly progressing nicely in the staying handicap chase ranks this winter. Having opened up off a lowly mark of 114 in a soft-ground handicap at Wetherby in early November, he made a mockery of that mark in some style with an easy 18-length win. He was turned out quickly under a penalty at Chepstow four days later but that proved to be a poor decision by connections as he never looked right when finishing a well beaten fourth. Given a well-earned break, he returned from a month off at the top of his game to score from a 12lb higher mark at Wincanton and now finds himself a further 7lb higher on a career-high mark of 133. This test against some more battle-hardened rivals will demand another step up but he will be suited by the test in front of him and is clearly heading firmly in the right direction at present.

Of the remainder, Vieux Lille enters the reckoning although his stamina may be stretched by the 3m2f trip in particularly testing conditions, the same could apply to Tom George’s Wuff, while Grand Vision shaped well on his recent comeback at Lingfield but may just struggle against this quality opposition at this stage of his career. Potters Legend races off his lowest ever chase mark but it will be no easy task conceding weight all round here.
Federici is one that could have a part to play if lining up (first preference at Haydock) for the in-form Donald McCain. He has been eased 4lb for finishing a well beaten fourth in the Becher Chase last time in similar conditions but this is a more realistic task.


KNOCKANRAWLEY – 1pt win @ 6/1 (Paddy Power & William Hill)

3.00 Newbury – Betfred Challow Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1)

It looks to be a competitive renewal of the Challow Hurdle this year as five of the six runners arrive at Newbury having won last time out.

Current favourite for the race is KILBRICKEN STORM who made it two wins out of three over hurdles for Colin Tizzard when landing the Grade 2 Bristol Novice at Cheltenham two weeks ago. Stepped up to three miles having previously won over one mile, seven and a half furlongs at Wincanton, the six-year-old saw out the trip strongly to get the better of Nigel Twiston-Davies’ Count Meribel, who went into the race aiming for a four-timer. The extra distance definitely suited as he picked up after the last to win by two and three quarter lengths, despite hanging left on the run-in. That performance came on soft and the stamina test on Saturday will suit, so KILBRICKEN STORM could be able to gain Grade 1 success in the Challow.

Dame Rose, trained by Richard Hobson, also has a record of two from three over hurdles, but is the only filly in the line-up so gets a useful 7lb allowance in the race. Last time out she put up a good performance to win a Listed Mares’ Novice at the course by nine lengths. The runner-up was the Fergal O’Brien-trained Cap Soleil, who was odds-on favourite for the race having won her previous four starts. She has gone to win a Listed race at Haydock so the form has been boosted since. Dame Rose enjoyed a well-judged front-running ride by Richard Johnson that day, but he will not be in the saddle this time around. In her favour is that she won on heavy ground on her hurdles debut at Hexham so the conditions on Saturday should not be a problem. However, she may find it difficult to see off her rivals upped in grade over this extra distance.

Poetic Rhythm for Fergal O’Brien is the only horse in the field who did not win on his latest appearance, but his third in the Grade 2 Hyde Novices’ Hurdle has been boosted since. He finished two and a half lengths behind Nicky Henderson’s On The Blind Side, who has gone on to win the Grade 2 Winter Novices’ Hurdle at Sandown impressively by nine lengths. Also, runner-up that day was the Dan Skelton-trained Momella who won a class 2 mares’ handicap at Cheltenham two weeks ago. That run came over Saturday’s distance on soft ground, but he will need to find more to win the Challow Hurdle.
Way Back Then has had the fewest runs of the line-up having only had the three starts to date. After winning a bumper at Ludlow on his second run in November last year, he was not seen again for a year when he made a successful debut over hurdles. That was a decent performance on his first attempt over timber to win the class 4 novice at Kempton. He got the the better of Paul Nicholls’ Secret Investor, who was sent off as favourite that day, and he looks to be a nice prospect for Ben Pauling. It is interesting that he is stepped up in grade straight away but could find it difficult on just his second run over hurdles.


KILBRICKEN STORM – 2pts win @ 11/4 (William Hill)


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