I started writing this post after midnight and have left it till as late as possible to publish due to the rain causing ground changes and non-runners.
If having a bet be careful for non-runners. This will reduce field sizes and therefore a Rule4 on your bets.
12:45 Haydock – Betfair Home of Price Rush Handicap Chase
Benny’s Well (13/2) has won over 3m4f on heavy ground, which sets the benchmark for me in this race. Emperor’s Choice comes into the race fresh and has similar to Benny’s Well, plus he’s running for a stable who are known for exploits on soft/heavy ground, but the weight Benny’s Well gets in the race is the reason you’d prefer to side with him. Dark Glacier also has a good chance stepping up in trip and is one to watch the market on. Gas Line Boy for the in-form Hobbs/Johnson partnership is vulnerable, as he has only managed wins over 3m in better conditions.
1:15 HAY Price Rush Handicap Hurdle
A breathing operation in summer has seen Morito Du Berlais (3/1) come into some form following impressive wins at Exeter and Cheltenham. These have come over further on similar ground. Following the win at Cheltenham over 2m5f you would expect some improvement and is back down in trip. Only worry is if he has recovered for that run last weekend. On Tour is vulnerable on this sort of ground, but has been promising in his runs so far. Dawalan may be suited to the step-up in trip after been more of a bridesmaid over 2m. Run Ructions Run is each-way value, coming into this race fresh and has a distance under her belt.
1:30 ASC Handicap Hurdle
Dark Spirit like most has won over 3m, but prefers good ground. Her second last time out at Cheltenham was a personal best and goes off the same mark today. Magic Money (7/1) may be the best on the ground to follow up her success at Uttoxeter on good to soft ground. Woodland Walk may be the best of the rest.
2:25 HAY Fixed Brush Handicap Hurdle
In this I like two horses at bigger prices. First of all Vieux Lion Rouge (12/1) is the second string for David Pipe, who steps up in trip today. He is a selection because he should go better on a left handed track, as in Haydock, plus he has a hat-trick on heavy ground. Katkeau the main David Pipe runner won at Cheltenham over further, so is understandably being backed. My other each way selection would be Sybarite (14/1) for the Twiston-Davies stable. A versatile horse winning on a range of grounds and has won two of his last three over the distance. Trustan Times won this race in 2012 and hasn’t won since.
3:00 Haydock - Betfair Chase
Cue Card won this race last year for the Tizzard’s, but with the heavy rain overnight he has been on the drift all morning, He handles soft ground, but has only had one run on heavy ground in recent times where he was well beaten. The Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby plays a central factor into my thoughts for this race with six of that field here today. The winner Menorah (11/1) proves superb each-way value. He was settled into the race and jumped well. He then challenged and pulled away readily after the final fence in his first race over today’s distance. Plus he is a winner on heavy ground. Silviniaco Conti has a lot to prove after tailing off in last year’s Gold Cup and in the Charlie Hall. Usually races prominently, but failing to find anything late in both of those cases. Dynaste usually runs well fresh and has chances here. The overnight rain will have been useful for Harry Topper, who prefers slower ground and should go to post, one to watch in the mud. Taquin Du Seuil has Barry Geraghty on today instead of the injured AP McCoy, this is his second race over the distance and should be open to improvement and is the most likely win bet due to the fact he relishes heavy ground.
Taquin Du Seuil (9/2)
Menorah (11/1) each-way
3:15 ASC Handicap Chase
Grey Gold (15/2) is a tentative selection ahead of Ulck Du Lin. Ground and distance shouldn’t be a problem and despite giving weight away is the better horse for me. Ulck Du Lin won over this trip last time out but may struggle on the ground. Don’t rule out Brick Red who prefers running in the mud, so a late ground change may swing things in his favour.
In the Amlin Chase (2:05 Ascot) Wishfull Thinking (7/2) would be the selection, with no trip and ground concerns. Ruby Walsh getting the leg-up on Al Ferof would be the danger.
Faugheen (1/3) runs in the Coral Hurdle (1:40 Ascot) and I can’t see him being beaten today.
In the Price Rush Hurdle at 1:50 at Haydock The New One (1/3) makes his seasonal reappearance and I think he is vulnerable today. Melodic Rendezvous (5/1) would take preference back over his optimal 2m trip.
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