Saturday 23rd January 2021
Welcome to the preview where once again I’ll be taking a look at all of the big races that take place on Saturday, where this week it’s Clarence House Chase Day at Ascot as well as the Peter Marsh Chase Day over at Haydock. Should the latter survive an inspection.
As ever I’ll be sharing my opinions on each race with who I think are the likely winners and whether not I’ll be having a punt on them or not.
The first race I’ll be taking a look at is the 12.55 at Haydock which is a Grade 2 Novices’ Chase. I think this will go to the Nicky Henderson trained ALLART at 8/13 who’s the mount of Nico de Boinville. He was a smart hurdler and made a mightily impressive transition to fences winning a graded contest at Ascot on his first start the last day when getting the better of the smart Fiddlerontheroof. He looks another seriously smart prospect for Seven Barrows and will take a bit of beating here.
We move over to Ascot now and their 1.15 which is a Grade 2 Mares Hurdle. It’s another short priced one here who I think will be tough to beat and that’s the Dan Skelton trained ROKSANA at 4/5 who’s to be ridden by brother Harry. She won a Grade 2 at Wetherby in dominant style on her reappearance this season and followed up with another impressive display in the Long Walk Hurdle when third behind Paisley Park and Thyme Hill. That’s by far the best hurdle form on offer here and for me she’s the one to beat. The main danger looks to comes from the also smart mare Magic of Light for Jessica Harrington.
It’s back to Haydock now for the 1.30 which is the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle Trial. I think this can go to LLANDINABO LAD at 7/4 for Tom Symonds and Nico de Boinville. The six-year-old was last seen when finishing second in a Grade 2 at Ascot to the smart My Drogo and before that he won at over course and distance within Listed company. He has to concede weight all around here which won’t be easy but I think he could well prove up to the task.
Next up it’s the 1.50 at Ascot which is a Grade 3 Handicap Hurdle and is one of the most competitive races of the day with it’s sizeable line-up. I’ve actually had two punts in this particular affair, the first of these coming in the form of JANIKA at 5/1 for Nicky Henderson and Daryl Jacob. His best form comes over fences having won a Haldon Gold Cup last season, however, he arrives here off a very attractive hurdles mark and if converting just some of his ability from fences to the small obstacles he’s got to be considered a big player. The other one I’ve punted on here is the Jonjo O’Neil ARRIVEDERCI at 13/2 who’s to be ridden by Jono Jr. He’s becoming a bit of a cliff horse with me with this being the third time I’ve put him up with no success to date, however, he was travelling well when falling at Haydock on his penultimate outing and could well have still been feeling the effects of that last time when down the field at this track. If putting that behind him he remains unexposed and could well continue the upward projection he was on.
From one competitive affair to another up next is the Peter Marsh Handicap Chase at 2.40 at Haydock. Royal Pagaille is the favourite here on the back of consecutive victories for Venetia Williams sporting the famous Ricci silks. He’ll likely be tough to beat but I’ve had a punt here on SAM BROWN at 3/1 for Anthony Honeyball who’s the mount of five pound claimer Ben Godfrey. He’s a lightly raced 9-year-old who returned from a sizeable absence last season to win his first two chase outings included a Grade 2 at this track. He ran a solid third on reappearance within Listed company back in November and should be primed for a crack at this in conditions that he should relish.
Staying at Haydock for the 3.15 which is the Champion Hurdle Trial now known as the The New One Hurdle. The race has attracted a disappointing field of just three runners of which I think the returning BUVEUR D’AIR will come out on top at 8/13 for Nicky Henderson. The dual Champion Hurdle winner hasn’t been seen for over 400 days since his defeat when finishing second in the Fighting Fifth, however, despite the long lay off I think he should still have enough to get the better of Ballyandy and Navajo Pass.
Concluding the preview at 3.35 is the feature race of the day which is the Grade 1 Clarence House Chase at Ascot. Last year’s winner Defi Du Seuil will be looking to bounce back to the form of his win in the race last year having ran poorly in two outings since and heading the market is the Champion Chase winner Politologue who has since gone on to win another Tingle Creek. I’m siding with WAITING PATIENTLY here though at 5/2 for Ruth Jefferson and Brian Hughes. He’s clearly had his issues but proved he’s still a very talented animal when staying on powerfully to finish second in the King George last month. He was a Grade 1 winner at this track earlier in his career and I’m going to chance him staying on once again here and pick off the likely front running Politologue.