The Haydock executive have called a precautionary inspection at 7.30 this morning with snow the threat to the track, although clerk of the course Kirkland Tellwright suggested on Friday that he was optimistic that racing would go ahead.
The ground is likely to be soft for the Champion Hurdle Trial which looks a modest renewal of this Grade 2 contest.
I’m not convinced BetVictor’s 13/8 market leader Silver Streak will be as effective if the ground becomes testing and, in receipt of 4lbs from the other principles, the vote goes to Western Ryder (2.40).
The selection is closely matched with Mohaayed at the revised terms on Ascot running last month and should have the race run to suit with confirmed front-runner Global Citizen in the field. The selection is 10/3 with BetVictor and gets a narrow vote.
Valtour heads the market for the Peter Marsh Chase, but Nicky Henderson’s top-weight is 12lbs higher than when scoring at Ascot on his British debut. My two against the field are recent course winner Daklondike who is 5lbs higher today and Otago Trail (3.15) with marginal preference for the latter who finished runner up in this corresponding race two years ago for Venetia Williams.
Everything that could go wrong did go wrong for the selection at Ascot last time, but he is 20lbs better off with Valtour – including Hugh Nugent’s 7lbs claim – and gets the each way vote at 7/1 with BetVictor who are paying four places (1/5th odds) on this 12-runner contest.
Admiral’s Secret must go close to following up his recent Wincanton success but the vote in the two-mile Handicap Chase goes to the novice Zalvados (3.45) who ran very well on just his second start over the larger obstacles when runner up over C&D last time. The winner Kauto Riko did little for the form at Wetherby last weekend, but that was not his form and Oliver Greenall’s six-year-old gets the vote.
Django Django (4.15) has been off the track for over 10 weeks since scoring at Chepstow from a 5lbs lower mark. His subsequent absence is a slight cause for concern, but Jonjo O’Neill keeps the ride and conditions should be ideal. A market move for Roycano returning from a 305-day lay-off would be worth noting. (BetVictor are betting each way four places on this 11-runner heat).
In the amateur riders’ contest at Ascot I feel Blue Flight ran a race full of promise on his chase debut at Wetherby over three-miles and I am slightly surprised to see him drop back in trip by fully five furlongs. I am convinced there is much more to come from this six-year-old over the larger obstacles and he is one to keep on the right side of going forward.
Risk And Roll is another to consider but I feel Ecu de la Noverie (1.15) will appreciate dropping back in trip a couple of furlongs having looked to be going best when hitting three out at Haydock last time. His subsequent finishing effort was tame, but I hope the drop back in distance is the key.
The valuable 2m 5f Handicap Hurdle is a much better race than the one Irish raider Thosedaysaregone won at Wetherby last weekend from a 9lbs lower mark and he looks plenty short enough at 11/4 with BetVIctor – albeit he looks a worthy market leader.
The novice Seddon (2.25) steps up in trip to 2m 4f for the first time and the hope is that the extra distance sees him in a better light. The selection is 9/2 with BetVictor and is another each way recommendation.
It has been a quiet campaign for Kerry Lee so far, but I hope to see Happy Diva (3.00) go one better than when second to the progressive Aso at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day from a 2lbs lower mark. The mare was an impressive winner of her sole start over course and distance last term and any further rain would not be an inconvenience. The each way selection is 8/1 at BetVictor who are paying 1/5th odds four places on the race.
The form of Downtown Getaway’s (4.05) second at Newbury on his hurdles/British debut is not working out too well but the selection is well-regarded at Seven Barrows and he is taken to go one better.
For all your racing odds go to BetVictor.com.