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Betvictor’s Charlie McCann looks forward to Saturday’s action


Betvictor’s Charlie McCann looks forward to Saturday’s action

Today’s G1 card at Ascot must pass a 6.30am inspection but Clerk of the Course Chris Stickles described the possibility of racing as ‘pessimistic’ with the ground currently covered in frost and temperatures set to plummet overnight. Should Ascot fall to the elements then Haydock will take centre stage with a wonderful card including four G2 contests and Paul Nicholls Politologue (1.30) in the G2 Novices’ Chase over two and a half miles.
The selection is 2/2 over fences after scoring over course and distance here in November, before following-up with a flawless round of jumping at Ascot’s Long Walk Hurdle meeting in December. BetVictor make the scopey grey an 8/1 chance for the JLT Novices’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, which looks the natural aim for a horse described by his trainer Paul Nicholls as ‘a star in the making’.
Nicholls has yet to saddle the winner of the G2 Supreme Trial over the minimum trip, Le Prezien a beaten favourite for Team Ditcheat in the corresponding contest 12 months ago, nevertheless favourite backers should make no mistake this season with Elgin (2.05) a confident selection to score under Daryl Jacob. Alan King’s 5yo shed the maiden tag over timber at Newcastle earlier in the campaign and followed-up with the scalp of Elgin on Boxing Day at Kempton.
BetVictor are currently 20/1 for the gelding to follow in the footsteps of Altior, who won at Kempton en-route to Supreme success last season, and think he can put himself in the picture for the festival curtain-raiser by landing Haydock’s G2 Rossington Hurdle.
Peter Marsh Handicap Chase prices from BetVictor
Alary 7/2
Definitely Red 4/1
Bristol de Mai 9/2
Vintage Clouds 10/1
12/1 Bar
The New One boasts a fine record in the Champion Hurdle Trial on the card, winning the last two renewals, and is 15/8 with BetVictor to complete a hat-trick of wins under Sam Twiston-Davies. The 9yo looked back to his best in the International Hurdle at Cheltenham but disappointed in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton and think the younger legs of L’Ami Serge (2.40) can prevail to complete a quick-fire double for jockey Daryl Jacob.
The Nicky Henderson-trained gelding reverted back to hurdles after a disappointing season over fences and was well-punted prior to finishing a narrow second in the Relkeel Hurdle at New Year’s Day. He travelled like the winner for a long way, before failing to stay two and a half miles in bottomless ground, and should go one better dropping back to the minimum trip.
Colin Tizzard’s Alary heads the market as the 7/2 favourite for the Peter Marsh Chase and must concede weight all round making his British debut after changing hands for £300,000 in the autumn. The French import is 20/1 with BetVictor for the Cheltenham Gold Cup and must be winning off his mark of 162 should he be thought of as a contender; remember stablemate Native River won the Welsh National from 157.
Over an extended three miles on forecast testing ground I think he is best watched this afternoon and preference lies instead with Definitely Red (3.15) under Henry Brooke. The selection has been well-supported all week, 4/1 from 8s with us at BetVictor, and looks well-treated despite a 8lb hike for his Rowland Meryck success at Wetherby on Boxing Day. Brian Ellison’s charge will relish conditions, as should Sue Smith’s Vintage Clouds who looks over-priced at a double figure price.
Tom George’s Wuff (3.50) has always been held in the highest regard by connections and should belatedly score for the first time over fences in the 2m Handicap Chase under Adrian Heskin. A maiden from six starts over the larger obstacles, the gelding was last seen chasing home Colin Tizzard’s Quite by Chance at Wincanton 12 months ago, and with the winner now rated 24lb higher, he looks well-treated to give weight and a beating to his seven rivals.
There’s some cracking NH action across the Irish Sea tomorrow where Yorkhill (2.10) should maintain his yet unblemished record over fences. Last year’s Cheltenham Festival winner made a winning chase debut last month at Fairyhouse over Christmas when jumping out to his left throughout, and should prove a much better animal going the other way round. He is BetVictor’s 2/1 favourite for the JLT Novices’ Chase at the Festival and it will take a good one to beat him.
A field of 23 have been declared for the ultra-competitive 2m Handicap Hurdle with Willie Mullins saddling no less than five, and brother Tom saddling a further two. The Mullins family have it all to do if Heartbreak City (3.10) runs to his flat form however, with the Melbourne Cup runner-up potentially chucked-in from his hurdles mark of 125 and unopposable at the head of the market.
For all the latest odds head to BetVictor.com and follow @BetVictorRacing on Twitter
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