We guide you through all the action on ITV Racing this Saturday, with tips from all the live racing at Haydock and Ascot.
We start off with the Graduation Chase at Haydock, where we’ll get to see one of the top novice chasers in action, Bravemansgame. He was due to run on Elite Hurdle Day at Wincanton, but Paul Nicholls withdrew him due to the ground being on the quick side. He’s up against just 3 rivals here today and has a great opportunity to stay unbeaten over fences. His main danger will be Itchy Feet, who ran a great race to finish a close second to Allmankind last month at Aintree. His solid form will provide a decent test for Bravemansgame.
Selection – Bravemansgame – 8/13
Winner – Bravemansgame
In this staying handicap, I quite like the look of Orbys Legend for Phillip Hobbs. The Hobbs horses were not in great form last season, but Orbys Legend was one who ran well in his novice season, and he got this campaign off to a flying start by winning a very competitive handicap at Chepstow’s opening meeting back in October. He beat Didtheyleaveuoutto that day who has placed second in both his starts this season, so he could be the value each-way play in the race.
Selection – Orbys Legend – 13/2
Winner – Dans Le Vent
The feature race of the day looks a cracker and course specialist Bristol De Mai is going to be very popular with most punters. He has won 3 of the last 4 runnings of this race and will be looking to emulate the legend Kauto Star by winning this race for the fourth time. However, he’s up against A Plus Tard, who is hard to go against after his second-place finish in the Cheltenham Gold Cup last March. Rachael Blackmore is also back on board after her heroics last week at Cheltenham, but the danger is that he has been favourite for his first run of the season over each of the last 3 years but has finished second each time. I think his class and being the younger horse will see A Plus Tard get off to a winning start this year though.
Selection – A Plus Tard – 6/4
Winner – A Plus Tard
We finish the day at Haydock with a handicap chase and Strictlyadancer heads the market. He won at Cheltenham last week in great style for young jockey Ben Bromley and, if he can reproduce that form, he will go very close here today. Ramses De Teillee is the top weight in the race and will have to carry a huge 12st 2lbs round here. He’ll get the assistance of Fergus Gillard’s 3lb claim and he does have some decent back form, but I’m going to take a chance though on Empire Steel, trained by Sandy Thomson. Last February, he manged to beat the Dan Skelton-trained Protektorat by 41 lengths, who last week went on to finish second in the Gold Cup at Cheltenham.
Selection – Empire Steel – 5/1
Winner – Strictlyadancer
The 1965 Chase looks a great race, and you can make a pretty strong case for each horse in the race. There’s been a lot of money flying around this week for Lostintranslation, who has been bang out of form for well over a year now. The Tizzard horses do seem in better form this season, so if he can produce anywhere near his best he will be there or thereabouts. Defi Du Seuil is another horse who has been out of form and has run nowhere near his best in his last 3 starts. Again, he has shown his class previously, so if he can get back to that form, he has a great chance here. The solid option is Dashel Drasher, who has won his last 3 starts. His last run was in the Ascot Chase last February, so he has had a decent break after missing the spring festivals last season. As long as he is fully fit, he should take a lot of beating and I’m going to side with him.
Selection – Dashel Drasher – 5/2
Winner – Lostintranslation
We get to see Goshen for the first time this season and he has been stepped up in trip by Gary Moore. He had a poor season last year as things never really went his way, aside from winning the Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton in brilliant style, beating Song For Someone by 22 lengths. I’m not sure the step up in trip is exactly what he needs, so with that in mind I’m going to go with Buzz for Nicky Henderson. He was last seen winning the Cesarewitch at Newmarket in October and he was really well-backed that day. This trip, track and ground should be ideal for him here today, so he has a lot going for him. Also in action is last year’s race winner, Song For Someone, who will be ridden by our new MansionBet brand ambassador, Aidan Coleman. This is a much better race than the one he won last year, and his form did tail off afterwards, so although he’s not out of it, I think he has a big task on his hands to beat the well fancied Buzz.
Selection – Buzz – 11/10
Winner – Buzz
The last race of the day is a handicap chase and we have Sky Pirate towards the top of the market. He will be ridden by Nick Scholfield, who gave him an absolute peach of a ride at Cheltenham when they won the Grand Annual at the festival. He has already had one prep run this season which should have put him spot on for this race. I think he’ll win here and go on to bigger and better things this season. The favourite is Before Midnight, who is trained by the excellent Sam Thomas, who has been going from strength to strength as a trainer. Before Midnight beat Sky Pirate last time out, but I don’t think he was fully fit that day and I can see the result being reversed in this race.
Selection – Sky Pirate – 7/2
Winner – Before Midnight
*All odds correct at time of writing.