Ascot and Haydock provide the ITV racing coverage on Saturday, and we have some small select fields at the Merseyside course, plus some tough handicaps to solve down in Berkshire.
Warren Greatrex has his team in great form at the moment and he will be hoping Le Bague au Roi can add to that. She beat Gers Girl at Kempton last time and slower ground here should not be a problem. I really like Graceful Legend as an each-way in here as she has already shown a liking for this track and the step up in trip will suit after her very good run last time.
Air Horse One is the horse in this field that likes the track most, having run some good races there. He’s too big a price with his experience in big field handicaps – he’s a better option as an each-way selection but it will be tough for him to give so much weight to Crossed My Mind, who looks the most likely winner. There is a really good batch of young jockeys coming through at the moment and this horses rider is young Jonjo O’Neill.
He has a way to go to be as good as his father was in the saddle but he is very talented and I have been really impressed with him so far.
Acting Lass is your favourite here and I have been quite taken with how well this horse has jumped so far, as he is still a novice. He has been campaigned to protect his handicap mark and because of that we may not have seen the best of him. He is a really sound jumper, and will need to be: this track takes no prisoners in that department.
If the fav is not to your liking then a 12/1 shot should be as an each-way: Tenor Nivernais is a horse who likes Ascot and has a good record when fresh. He has won twice in handicaps at the track and that I think makes him attractive.
The Clarence House Chase is a race steeped in history – but please make it a handicap again!
It has had some amazing finishes over the years and if it was a handicap this year you could have strong reasons to make cases for the opposition to Un De Sceaux. But as the conditions are now he needs to under-perform in order for the others to possibly win.
Brain Power will be ridden with more restraint this time and I was impressed watching him schooling the other day under Nico. He will be ridden to pick up the pieces and, well, you never know…
The Rossington Main has a decent list of past winners with Waiting Patiently & Bristol De Mai winning the last two editions and Taquin de Seuil also emerging victorious in the past.
This time, Kim Bailey has a nice prospect here in Even Flow. I was at Newbury when this lad won – he is a massive horse who will gallop through this mud. It will be slow-motion stuff all day at Haydock and previous course winners with experience in this sort of ground could pull off a few surprises throughout the day. Waterlord is the danger for that reason.
The Champion Hurdle Trial would not be the same without The New One in it. He is a dual winner of the race and can handle this ground. There are only four runners here but Clyne has strong form in this ground. I still think The New One can win.
The Peter Marsh will be a bit of a slog and that would worry me a bit for Rock The Kasbah. He does stay well but when the ground gets this bad at Haydock it’s not for every horse. If he handles the conditions he should prove to be the best horse in the race and win. It’s a big if though!!
I think the likes of Hainan & Captain Redbeard have an edge here because you know they are not as good as Rock The Kasbah but they will handle ground conditions and the track.