There’s an 8am inspection at Ascot on Saturday morning, but Haydock doesn’t anticipate any such worries ahead of their card.
A decent field for this Handicap Chase where Militarian is dropping back in trip, having won at 50/1 last time at this venue over three miles. That’s not a negative as he ran a blinder over Saturday’s distance at Sandown in a very good novice handicap chase last April. Espoir de Guye loves the ground and Venetia Williams team are in great form, however, First Flow’s form got a decent boost by Angels Breath winning again at Ascot last week and I am going to stick with Kim Bailey’s runner.
You don’t need me to tell you that Paisley Park should win this. The reigning Stayers Hurdle winner made a winning reappearance at Newbury and is long odds on to remain unbeaten here as we head into 2020 and a crack at the Stayers Hurdle crown.
Vintage Clouds would enter calculations, but was woeful over the Grand National fences last time at Aintree.
The Hollow Ginge has won at Haydock before over hurdles and beat subsequent Ladbroke Trophy runner-up The Conditional at Worcester, when staying on well.
Daklondike has shown temperament in the past but has run well at Haydock before. With David Noonan on board and the Pipe team in good form, he is the selection.
Mister Malarkey is closely matched on form with Kildisart when he finished second at Aintree to him last Spring and is now 6lbs better off. He ran well at Newbury in the Ladbroke Trophy last time.
Yaltari ran a hell of a race behind Mister Malarkey at Ascot in the Reynoldstown Chase last season and carries top weight in this. This is his first run of the season though and that is a worry.
The Ben Pauling-trained Kildisart jumps off the page at me, after his fine third to LostinTranslation at Carlisle, but the form of his trainer is a slight worry. However he did have a winner at Ascot on Friday.
He’s my selection each-way in an open-looking race.
Donald McCain’s Chti Balko won his last start at Bangor and has always run well at this venue, boasting two wins and a few placed efforts.
Poetic Rhythm is vying for favouritism with him and Fergal O’Brien’s team are in top form but again, he’s it’s his first run for 414 days.
Chti Balko can prove hard to pass.
Lots of horses in here with strong claims and French Crusader after his second to Epatante at Newbury looks a leading player.
Umbrigado drops back in trip and travelled well for a long way at Haydock over further. Harambe won the Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham and is a big price despite that victory with the fourth-placed Quoi De Neuf ahead of him in the market.
Tamaroc Du Mathan has had his second-placed finish to Master Debonair on UK debut at Ascot franked by that rivals win in the Grade 2 Hurdle at Ascot on Friday.
He’ll handle the heavy conditions and could be ahead of the handicapper. He rates the each-way selection.
*Prices and runners correct at time of writing