Charlie McCann of BetVictor.com with Friday’s best bets
A small but select field of five will go to post for the Betfair Chase at Haydock Park on Saturday with BetVictor making Gold Cup runner up Might Bite – with regular pilot Nico de Boinville in the saddle following a recent thumb injury – Evens to claim the Grade 1 prize and reverse Gold Cup form with winner Native River (11/4).
Course specialist Bristol De Mai is 7s with former World Hurdler and King George winner Thistlecrack 8s and Clan Des Obeaux the 12/1 outsider with BetVictor.
There is a terrific card at Ascot this afternoon and de Boinville has his first ride back aboard Wenyerreadyfreddie who returns to novice company having been raised 15lbs for scoring over C&D at the beginning of the month. That win was on good ground and underfoot conditions were described as good to soft yesterday. He is likely to be a very short price, but his best form is on a sound surface and preference is for Onefortheroadtom (1.00).
Harry Fry’s five-year-old would only receive 3lbs more from the Nicky Henderson-trained top-weight if this were a handicap and he did win his sole point in his native Ireland. The grey has an exemplary record fresh and beat non-other than Lalor first time out over hurdles last season with subsequent Albert Bartlett winner Kilbricken Storm back in third.
The Maiden Hurdle is a tight little contest and those with hurdling experience look vulnerable. Hereford Bumper winner Geordie B represents Venetia Williams who likes to have winners at this two-day meeting, but preference is for Westbury (1.30) who ran a very good race in a Chepstow Bumper – under a penalty – last month and is bred to make a decent hurdler.
Note the Oliver Sherwood yard won this corresponding race with subsequent Grand National winner Many Clouds in 2012. Breaking Waves is another to consider in an informative contest.
The “Introductory” Hurdle is a cracker and the more rain the better for Commanche Red whereas connections believe Thomas Darby (2.05) will always need a decent surface to show his best. As long as the ground is no worse than good to soft he gets a narrow vote, with the Fakenham winner Didtheyleaveyououtto another to consider although the latter did not impress everyone when scrambling home by a neck on his hurdles debut.
The finale is another hot race as befits a £30k handicap and Chatez (3.50) has been in very good form on the level of late for Alan King and must have every chance reverting to jumps off what looks a very workable mark.
At Catterick I am interested to see what the market says about the chances of Braavos who has left Philip Hobbs since finishing weakly at Stratford in the summer. His new connections fit the 7-y-old with a first-time tongue-tie this afternoon, but I am quite sweet on the chances of Barton Knoll (3.00) on his chase debut as long as the ground is – as described – good.
Imperial Court (8.45) has a poor draw to overcome in stall eight (of nine) but he would have to carry an additional 2lbs of this race were held tomorrow and he is open to plenty of improvement for David Simcock.
At Ffos Las Sam Twiston-Davies looks a significant booking for Leith Hill Legacy (12.35) who makes her seasonal reappearance from an attractive looking mark. Note Cougar’s Gold was a late withdrawal at Market Rasen yesterday when I thought connections had found a winning opportunity.
The main reason Twiston-Davies is at Ffos Las, and not Ascot to ride Tintern Theatre among others, is to partner Al Dancer who cannot be opposed in the Novices’ Hurdle although he doesn’t make any appeal at his likely odds.
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