There are some cracking races over the Jumps this weekend as the preparations for the Cheltenham Festival in March go up a notch or two for many. That said I am watching rather than punting in most as I think a lot of the races are potential minefields for punters with short ones that may get turned over and tricky handicaps with plenty in with a chance. It is not a day to get over involved in my opinion and I have just the two bets for you.
Best bet for the horse racing at Ascot
The Grade One Matchbook Betting Exchange Clarence House Chase at Ascot over the 2m1f at 3.35 is the race of the day. Politologue , Waiting Patiently and Defi Du Seuil head the betting and this could be a great race with just a couple of pounds separating the three on official ratings. I am a Defi Du Seuil fan, though I didn’t back him at Cheltenham in November when pulled-up, but was on for the Queen Mother Chase when fourth back in March. Clearly something has been amiss but the Defi pre-Festival last year would be odds-on for this; won last year beating the great Un Des Sceaux. If Philip Hobbs has coaxed him back to his best 9-2 is a massive price!
Best bet for the horse racing at Newcastle
The evening meeting under the lights is up at Newcastle on the All-weather and the first race up there is at 4.05 the 1m4f Betway Casino Handicap. Godolphin cast-off Great Esteem can back after over a year off track to win on only his third start for new trainer Archie Watson a couple of weeks back. That was over the 1m4f at Kempton and providing he goes as well here on the Tapeta, he holds strong claims on handicap debut off a mark of 85. Hollie Doyle rides again, the yard in is fine form and I am on at 11-8.