Betfair Chase day at Haydock this Saturday and some big names are due to line-up
for the Grade One contest at 3.00.
With Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Sizing John withdrawn a bit of the lustre has been taken off the big race but I am not overly concerned, as tipped on here Tuesday, I am already on Charlie Hall winner Bristol De Mai. The grey is set to represent Nigel Twiston-Davies, the wily master of Grange Hill Farm having one eye on winning that big old bonus for winning this The King George and the Gold Cup, and this horse is one of my favourites of the winter game. He won a three-mile Grade Two here back in January on the soft and I wouldn’t mind betting they have been doing a rain dance down at Grange Hill all week as the softer the better quite frankly. They got some rain up on Merseyside early in the week and the word Heavy was mentioned. Sunshine is forecast for Saturday but it is likely to be testing underfoot which will suit Bristol De Mai just fine. Earlier this week clerk of the course Kirkland Tellwright said: "We had 10 millimetres of rain on Monday night and there's probably another 10mm to come. We're certain to be soft on Saturday. I'm just hoping it doesn't get too heavy. Today and tomorrow are wet with just the odd scattered shower from Thursday onwards. We've no worries on the temperature front. It's pretty mild. This time of year it all happens so slowly. Once it's soft, it's going to stay soft." I jumped on at 7-4 bpg on Tuesday as and have been crossing my fingers myself for a little more rain. Twiston-Davies said after the Wetherby race "He was really good on the day at Wetherby and I was delighted with him. Sizing John could just need the run (at Haydock) and he might just have that advantage over him, but I've no idea what Sizing John has been doing at home. If he was to win he would go for the King George, the Triple Crown would have to be on your mind - a £1m bonus has got to be on anyone's mind."
Cue Card has won this race three times, 2013, 2015, 2016, and will go again for the Colin Tizzard team having fallen on his seasonal debut in the Charlie Hall Chase won by Bristol de Mai at Wetherby earlier this month. It might sound mad to some but for me he has a little something to prove at this time having tipped up twice in his last three runs.
The G.2 Coral Hurdle at Ascot due off at 2.40 should go to Defi du Seuil who was very good last year, won three Grade 1’s during a brilliant juvenile season including the G.1 Triumph Hurdle amongst seven victories for the Hobbs yard. He takes on older horses here but at four should hopefully still be improving. The J P McManus owned bay comes here rather than going to Cheltenham last weekend. Talking back on the 14th Hobbs said: "In discussing the situation with connections, it has been decided that the hurdle at Ascot will be a more favourable first run of the season.” There is no reason to think he isn’t raring to go and hopefully still improving so all things being equal if he runs to his best he wins. He is short at 11-10 but I am happily on at that price.