Haydock 1.50 – Ch’Tibello
This is a real little minefield of a race, but I’m taking a chance that Ch’Tibello can take advantage of a slipping handicap mark on a track that he loves. I’m hoping that he’ll be ridden with restraint – which suits him best – and that he’ll get a decent pace to run at courtesy of Cliffs of Dover and Chti Balko (watch your bets!).
Haydock 2.25 – Theos Charm
He hasn’t won for ages, but Theo’s Charm has run some absolute crackers here off higher marks (including in this race twice) and is much happier over hurdles than over fences. This is a much smaller field than usual and there’s just a chance he could get an uncontested lead. Clearly First Assignment is a very useful prospect and could win this with his head in his chest, but he’s been extremely well found in the market.
Haydock 3.00 – Clan Des Obeaux
The youngest horse in the field may spring a minor surprise in what is a wonderful running of this race. He had a quietly progressive season last year, combining some notable handicap performances with strong form in conditions races. At Aintree, off an interrupted prep, he travelled very sweetly with Might Bite until lack of peak conditioning began to tell. I think this test on the ground might be too sharp for Native River, and I’d be more frightened of a back to form Thistlecrack (but that’s taking a lot on trust.)
Haydock 3.35 – Braqueur d’Or
I’m not convinced Braqueur d’Or is a cast iron stayer, but this won’t be a demanding race as it normally is given the conditions and this horse is a smooth travelling prominent racer who likes good ground. Although he only won a three runner race at Taunton, they were decent rivals from good stables and he polished them off with authority.
Ascot 2.05 – Gold Present
Politologue is a bit of a favourite of mine and has been found a great opportunity here, but you’ll not get rich backing him and I just wonder whether a breathing operation might squeeze a bit more out of Gold Present. If it does, he represents value each way as his Ascot form is very strong and he loves decent ground. He was very impressive when giving weight and a thumping to Frodon here last winter and he can give the favourite a race on that evidence.
Ascot 2.40 – Old Guard
Theoretically Old Guard doesn’t look advantageously weighted with the two favourites here, but he’s in the form of his life and was a bit unlucky not to finish a good bit closer in the Greatwood last weekend. Of the two youngsters, We Have a Dream might want softer ground.
Ascot 3.15 – Cyrname
I realize I’m tipping yet another Nicholls horse here, but he really does have a stack of good chances and three viable runners in this. The angle I like with Cyrname is the cut back in trip to 2miles for the first time since winning well at Kempton last winter. He jumps well, likes a sound surface and Sean Bowen gets a very good tune out of him.
Odds are provided at time of writing, please check your betslip to confirm they have not changed before betting.