If I was offered a ride in the Betfair Chase at Haydock on Saturday, I’d be all over Might Bite.
Nicky Henderson’s runner will have the ground and trip in his favour and should prove too sharp for Colin Tizzard’s Gold Cup winner Native River.
Don’t get me wrong, Native River is a smashing horse but 3m 2f at Cheltenham in March is a different ball game to the one he’ll face at Haydock, where it will be more of a speed test.
Bristol De Mai was a run-away winner last season – but connections must be thinking twice about risking him on this quicker surface against two of the best staying chasers around at the moment.
Native River’s stablemate Thistlecrack was a brilliant horse in his day, but that was a while ago. The former King George VI Chase winner will be fit and raring to go, but he’ll have his work cut out to beat the big two in Haydock’s Grade One test.
If the race was at Cheltenham, I might have opted for Native River but it’s not, so it’s Might Bite for me.
There’s some good racing too on the Haydock undercard.
Kolondra unseated Noel Fehily at Cheltenham last weekend, but the smaller field should suit him better at Haydock 1.15pm. Meanwhile, Irish raider Folsom Blue looks a very interesting runner in the 3m handicap hurdle at 2.25pm for Gordon Elliott and Richard Johnson. He ran a blinder in the Irish National and is rated lower over hurdles. It’s a nice prize and he’ll be ready for it.
There’s some great racing on the undercard in the UK on Saturday and if Paul Nicholls’ Politologue has King George aspirations, he’ll really need to be winning at Ascot (2.05pm) to underline those credentials. He beat Min in the Melling Chase at April in what was a great race to watch and Sam Twiston-Davies is really looking forward to riding him.
If the Cap Fits and We Have a Dream were second and third in the Elite Hurdle at Wincanton two weeks ago and Harry Fry’s runner can uphold that form on Saturday 2.40pm at Ascot. If the Cap Fits got injured as a novice and I was really taken with him. He strikes me as a horse that could be an outsider for the Champion Hurdle next March.
Gowran Park, Saturday
I’ve only one ride at Gowran Park on Saturday where I’m reunited with Epswell (1.10pm) who ran poorly at Galway last time out after he’d won his maiden earlier at Sligo during the summer.
We think he’s a much better horse than he showed at Ballybrit and seems in good form. He has a penalty for winning and a couple of newcomers like Entoucas and Falco De Candale Aa could be the surprise packages.
The best race on the card looks to be the Talbot Hotel Chase (2.20pm) where Tycoon Prince and Jett are the market leaders. Gordon Elliott’s Tycoon Prince probably just has the fitness edge to shade it.