Steve Hughes previews the best of Saturday’s racing
It is Haydock’s big day of the year over jumps with the Betfair Chase providing a small and very select field. Field sizes are smaller than usual given the unusually fast ground, but the racing is good nevertheless. I also have a best bet at Ascot.
Haydock 1.50: Admiral Barratry
Despite not looking the easiest of rides to date, there are good reasons for favouring Admiral Barratry as an each-way bet at Haydock today.
Still a maiden, he made a satisfactory return at Kempton last month, but ruined a winning chance by hanging continuously out to his left. At the moment he definitely looks like he needs a left-handed track and Haydock is even more of a benefit as the hurdles will be on the inside which means he might get a rail to run against too.
If his steering can be sorted there is no doubt he has the talent, he was second to the useful Lostintranslation at Newbury last winter, but with the stable in decent form and good going seemingly no issue, he looks solid each-way value.
Haydock 3.00: Might Bite
This should be a fascinating tactical battle, but after much thought the prevailing good going should just edge things in favour of Might Bite.
The 9yo stalked Native River throughout the Gold Cup at Cheltenham and still looked the likely winner approaching the last. However Native River ground things out better up the unforgiving hill on much more testing ground.
A flatter track and faster going today might mean Nico de Boinville can kick on earlier and outpace his Cheltenham conqueror. Bristol de Mai might lack for pace on this going, Thistlecrack must improve on his jumping after a long absence and Clan Des Obeaux is probably not good enough.
Ascot 3.15: Caid du Lin
A valuable handicap and there will be no hanging about with Speredek and Cyrname in the field. I think Caid Du Lin might be able to pick up the pieces at a big price.
The 6yo only made his chasing debut in September, but has made an encouraging start and a fast run 2m1f might suit perfectly. He ran well to be second here at the last meeting over 2f further and the form of that race has been franked by the follow up win of Wenyereadyfreddie yesterday.
He already has an emphatic win over One for Billy to his name at Worcester and tends to jump right which excuses defeats at Sedgefield and Cheltenham. At his best on good ground he will have conditions in his favour today.
Haydock 3.35: Delusionofgrandeur
Despite two heavy defeats this autumn, Delusionofgrandeur is a fairly confident choice for Haydock’s finale.
A natural front-runner, he can handle good going and there have been excuses for his two recent runs. His first outing at Wetherby was over too short a trip, whilst he lost a shoe at Bangor. With a small field there is every chance of an easy lead, from which he can dominate the race. Ironically his only likely challenger for the early lead is stablemate Vintage Clouds – hopefully stable orders will ensure they don’t soften each other up.
Delusionofgrandeur is back to the mark of his last win at Catterick twelve months ago. He has won four times at that track and also has a win at Wetherby, but flat left-handed tracks like this one. He was third here on his last visit to Haydock in March – from an 8lb higher mark and on ground softer than ideal.
0.75pts each-way – Admiral Barratry – 1.50 Haydock – 13/2 general (Bet365 ¼ odds first 3)
1.5pts win – Might Bite – 3.00 Haydock – Evens general
0.5pts each-way – Caid du Lin – 3.15 Ascot – 22/1 general (Bet365 ¼ odds first 3)
1pt win – Delusionofgrandeur – 3.35 Haydock – 13/2 general