But tread carefully with several of the favourites in Channel 4 races
As you look through the cards on Saturday you could be forgiven for already longing for Cheltenham as several top stars clash on a great day of racing at both Ascot and Haydock. The puzzles on offer look very solvable though and it should make for a good day’s punting.
Leading Contenders Have Serious Questions To Answer In Betfair Chase
The Betfair Chase market is being disputed by the last two winners of this race, Silviniaco Conti (3/1) and Cue Card (7/2). Silviniaco Conti has questions to answer after a rather lifeless run in the Charlie Hall. He should improve but doesn’t really appeal as value. Similar sentiments apply to Cue Card who was very disappointing in the Haldon Gold Cup (which he’s won the previous year) and having previously gone well fresh there don’t seem to be many excuses.
The other horse up there in the betting is Dynaste (7/2). Although he has been previously beaten by both Cue Card (in this race last year) and Silvinaco Conti he is consistent enough and classy enough to take advantage should those two runners fail to fire once again as his form puts him only slightly behind that pair.
Best of the outsiders could be Harry Topper (11/1). He loves this sort of ground and only has 6lbs to find with Dynaste on official ratings. It is Dynaste who is fancied to get the win though, with Harry Topper value to follow him home.
Nicky Henderson Hoping For Fashion Statement Against Faugheen
All eyes will be on Faugheen in the Ascot Hurdle and on all known form he wins easily. Those looking for a punt in the race may be best advised to go for the forecast with Faugheen unlikely to be much of a price. Nicky Henderson’s Blue Fashion may not have had much racing so far but his form is pretty exciting. It may have only been a handicap he ran in on his last start a year ago but he was only beaten 2 lengths giving 6 lbs to More Of That who went on to win the World Hurdle at Cheltenham. If Blue Fashion arrives here remotely fit he should be able to follow Faugheen home.
Hobbs Thinking Wishfull Could Be The Winner
In Ascot’s preceding race, the 2.05, the betting is surprisingly open. Last year’s winner Al Ferof is disputing favouritism but he’s been quite inconsistent since 2012 and isn’t one to put too much faith in, especially off top weight here. Wishfull Thinking looks more interesting for Phillip Hobbs after winning impressively giving weight to all his rivals in the Old Roan Chase on his seasonal reappearance. Considering he had been beaten on his last two seasonal debuts that performance bodes well for the season and he has at least 5lbs in hand of his rivals here on official ratings with the trip looking perfect.
Best Bet Is Certainly No Duffer In Haydock Marathon
Haydock’s 3m5f Chase Handicap at 12.45 isn’t on terrestrial TV but looks well worth following .The race should take some winning on soft ground with proven stamina likely to be crucial. Dark Glacier is perhaps the most solid choice in the race as he’ll love the distance and going but he’s pretty exposed now and may find one or two too good. Tom George’s No Duffer on the other hand has had just 5 runs over fences and already looks a very promising staying chaser. He’s won two of his last three starts and promises to be well suited by this longer trip with the handicapper looking as though he has a bit more to do before stopping this one.