Saturday 19th January 2019
Author: Jordan Yates
A very warm welcome to a slightly earlier Preview on the weekends top contests which take place at Haydock and Ascot. Last weekend revealed many a festival clue with dominant displays from strong festival fancies in the likes of Ok Corall and Top Notch at Warwick and Kempton. It’s likely we’ll get more pointers this weekend so sit back and enjoy the preview.
Clarence House Chase. (Grade 1) (3.35)
The mighty Altior returns too the track this weekend at Ascot in the Clarence House Chase and unfortunately we won’t get too see the highly anticipated rematch with Un De Sceaux as the latter won’t be taking his place in the line up to attempt to retain his crown. This leaves us with just the three runners with Colin Tizzard’s Fox Norton and Paul Nicholls Diego Du Charmil concluding the line up. Both horses are solid performers at Grade 1 level on their day, Fox Norton the stronger of the two having several top flight successes to his name. It would however be a seismic shock should either of them be able to land a blow on the Seven Barrows powerhouse which reflects in his price of 1/8.
The debate surrounding these small runner events rages on. I can see it from both sides of the spectrum to be honest. From a sports fan point of view it’s really uninspiring however the reality of it is we’ve got a true great of the game who everyone is scared to take on. Pretty similar to when Frankel was about on the level.
Supreme & Champion Hurdle Trials
It’s a really good card at Haydock this Saturday and this particular day is one of my favourites at the track. The Supreme Novices Trial takes place at 2.05 and it’s a certainly an intriguing affair. I’m going to jump straight in with who I think the most likely winner will be and that’s Nicky Henderson’s MISTER FISHER (11/10). Nicky also has the potentially very smart Angels Breath in the line up who’s the current market leader for the race itself in March, however his participation was said to be unlikely when Nicky was interviewed earlier in the week. Mister Fisher won well at Kempton on Boxing Day beating several smart sorts and is a horse that’s also held in a very high regard. James Bowen looks to take the ride. I’m a big fan of Thomas Darby who’s been left in the race by Olly Murphy but has a few entries over the weekend. Bright Forecast could well be the main danger to the favourite on the day.
The Champion Hurdle Trial looks set to take place at 2.40 and this year’s renewal has thrown up a very competitive affair should all of these line up. Brain Power got back to winning ways when reverting back to hurdles last time at Cheltenham by taking the International in smart style and it’s likely he’ll be a warm order again here on the back of that success. Dan Skelton’s Mohaayed comes here off the back of a very smart victory at Ascot last time in a fiercely competitive Grade 3 Handicap Hurdle. He also won the County Hurdle at The Festival last year and is an obvious player if taking his place here. He’s currently trading at around 7/2. It’s one of my favourite horses in training that I’m going to be having a punt on here though and that’s SILVER STREAK (2/1) for Evan Williams. He’s continuously progressed over the past year and also has course form winning the Swinton Hurdle here last May. A bold showing is once again likely under Adam Wedge. Global Citizen and Western Ryder both enter the equation should they line up.
Peter Marsh Chase Fancy (3.15)
OTAGO TRAIL – (10/1) (E/W)
“Poor last time at Ascot but made a promising return on his penultimate start at Newcastle on the back of a big lay off. He’s got course form having followed Bristol De Mai home in this a couple of years ago and should this turn into a test of attrition it will be right within his comfort zone. Could play a part at a decent enough each way price.”