Two cracking meetings at Haydock and Ascot to look forward to on ITV and after last weekend’s three-day smash up at Cheltenham – the big races are coming thick and fast.
I really like the look of ADMIRAL BARRATRY in the 13.50 at Haydock over 2m 3f. He was beaten in a small field last time but just might be a very well handicapped horse. When he was second in a maiden hurdle last season at Newbury top class Black Op was back in fourth and the winner is rated in the region of 144. So this horse could be thrown in on 133.
It’s hard to oppose FIRST ASSIGNMENT after his Cheltenham romp last weekend. The Ian Williams-trained runner is in great form and clearly he will be a short price to follow up in Saturday’s Grade 3 handicap hurdle at 14.25 before the handicapper goes crazy with his rating.
The big race of the day is the Betfair Chase over an extended 3m1f at 15.00. I’m surprising myself here, as the ground clearly won’t be as soft as he likes, but I’ll support BRISTOL DE MAI, who won this by 57 lengths last season. We all know that was a ridiculous race, but Nigel Twiston-Davies’ stable star has had a wind operation recently (before his last run) and it just might be he’s better than we give him credit for.
Also, this might be his Gold Cup for the season, so he might be the fittest in the field. An awesome race where Paddy is money back as a free bet (up to a tenner) on all losers if the favourite Might Bite wins.
We finish up at Haydock with a handicap chase over an extended 3m 1f at 3.35pm. BRAQUEUR D’OR is still handicapped to win, and he loves decent ground so has every chance to a score for the former champion Paul Nicholls.
He’s had some recent runs as well so fitness should not be an issue.
There’s very decent racing further south at Ascot with the 2m 5f Grade 2 chase at 14.05. In most of his chase runs POLITOLOGUE has been kept to shorter trips, but he went over this sort of distance as a hurdler with no problems and he really should take all the beating for Paul Nicholls.
It’s a big ride for Sam Twiston-Davies who of course is no longer stable jockey.
Another top-class contest at 14.40 in the shape of the Grade 2 Ascot Hurdle over an extended 2m 3f. I was really impressed with the way IF THE CAP FITS kept on when beaten at Wincanton by Verdana Blue, who was then far from disgraced at Cheltenham. He’s got every chance of scoring for trainer Harry Fry and postponing his chasing career.
And finally, Ascot have a handicap chase over 2m 1f at 15.15. SAN BENEDETO is a classy type who finished second in the Celebration Chase to Altior and third in the Haldon Gold Cup. This might be a good spot for him as he’s fit and Bryony Frost takes the ride.
So enjoy your Saturday and hope for Yeeehaaas. You hear me Paddy?
*Prices correct at time of publishing