A mixed bag of action on ITV on Saturday where Haydock has to survive a inspection due to the threat of snow for racing to go ahead but the track is very hopeful it will be on. Meanwhile, there’s no threat to Ascot where the mighty Altior faces just two rivals in the Clarence House Chase and that’s where we’ll begin our preview.
Magic of Light has been running to a pretty decent level over fences for Jessie Harrington and can take advantage of what looks a very winnable race. Paul Nicholls’ If You Say Run is closely matched with Culture De Sivola on their Kempton running over three miles so I’m expecting her to confirm that form over this slightly shorter trip.
Thosedaysaregone looked well ahead of the handicapper when bolting up at Wetherby and has to be feared here. Seddon is an interesting runner on his third-placed finish behind Supreme Novices Hurdle fancy Angels Breath at this track. However, Man Of Plenty has some half-decent form at this venue and was fourth to previous winner Jenkins in this race before.
He is a solid each-way bet at a double-digit price.
I really like Happy Diva , she ran a super race at Cheltenham behind Ryanair fancy, Aso. This will be run at a strong gallop and that will suit this mare who has good form at the track. Belami Des Pictons is interesting for Venetia Williams and a significant market move for her could be worth a second look.
Gary Moore’s Benatar could be popular. I am pretty sure he didn’t stay last time over three miles and this return to 2m 5f is right up his street.
This is all about Altior as he continues his march towards the Champion Chase at the Festival. Not a betting race – just appreciate Altior for how good he is.
Mister Fisher won very nicely last time at Kempton in what looked a very hot novice hurdle and can continue his progress towards the Festival. Dan Skelton’s Idee du Garde is interesting as he made the odds-on Champagne Platinum pull out plenty at Newcastle after a long break off the track.
The ‘New One’ hurdle is named after Nigel Twiston Davies’ popular campaigner and it’s hard to ignore the claims of Evan Williams’ Silver Streak. He chased home Brain Power last time at Cheltenham and has winning form at this venue when he won the Swinton Hurdle.
The race will be set up by Global Citizen up front but I the Streak can flash past him late on, with Western Ryder not far behind.
Nicky Henderson’s Valtor (declared a non runner on Friday night) was so impressive at Ascot that the handicapper has raised him to the same mark as Clan des Obeaux before he won the King George VI Chase. Think about that for a second!
I really liked the way he went through the race for that win – and if it wasn’t a one-off performance – he will be hard to beat in the Peter Marsh Chase. However, until he does it again you will always be wary.
David Pipe’s Daklondike got going very late when he beat Ballyarthur here in December.
This longer 3m 1f trip will suit him and I’m taking him as the value play.
Robinsfirth is on the comeback trail and has to be respected for the Tizzard team as he’s run well fresh before. They provided the winner last season with The Dutchman.
Ballydine is wearing the headgear he has been crying out for but has to race from out of the handicap.
Let’s hope it all goes ahead and we get a great day’s racing.
*Prices correct at time of publishing