Some BIG names are lining-up on Saturday but for one reason or another, as far as I am concerned anyway, there are not many betting opportunities over the Jumps. I am though getting involved with one at Ascot as well as a couple on the All-Weather at Lingfield.
The weather forecast is pretty rotten with rain a possible all day; a good excuse to settle in at your favourite watering hole for a beer or two watching the horse racing.
It’s an early start as I am on one in the 11.45 at Lingfield the one-mile Ladbrokes Bet 5 Get 20 EBF Fillies' Handicap. Saeed bin Suroor saddles Caring Touch and I like her chances. An impressive winner on debut over 1m at Newcastle this time last year she was tried in the UAE 1,000 Guineas Trial in January out in Dubai but came up short behind the likes of Winter Lightning. She didn’t appear to stay 1m2f at Chelmsford City in September but was second back over a mile at the Essex track last time behind Bobby K who has franked to form since winning earlier this week; the fourth from that race has also come out and won. Lightly raced she may have a bit more to give yet, the tongue strap is tried for the first time and I have taken 9-4 about her as I think she might be underrated.
The sprinters are out at 2.35 for the five furlong Betyourway At Betway Handicap. Crystal Deauville won over track and trip last December and was beaten in the shadow of the post when last seen over five at Brighton in September. He also has wins at Bath and Brighton to his name, which looks fair as they are similar to here being left-handed tight tracks. The gelding gets in off bottom weight with 8-13 to carry and Toby Eley takes off a further 7lb. The draw in two looks ideal as he likes to front-run and it is hoped he can crack out and crack on! At the early 12-1 he can be backed each-way and that is the advice.
One bet I have had over the jumps, and would suggest you do too, is Politologue who goes to Ascot for the Grade Two 2m5f Christy 1965 Chase at 2.05 rather than for the Betfair Chase. Last seen winning the two-and-a-half mile Grade One Melling Chase at the end of last season the Paul Nicholls trained seven-year-old must have a big chance. Owner John Hales said earlier this week “I don’t think there’s anything to be gained running in a three-mile race first time out against the King George winner and the Gold Cup winner, we’ll take them on soon enough.” It is a rematch with the horse he narrowly defeated in last season’s Melling Chase, the Willie Mullins trained Min also going; all being well the grey wins again, at 6-4 I jumped on back on Thursday.
At 3.00 the Grade One Betfair Chase at Haydock very much takes centre stage. Only five line-up but it’s a pretty decent quintet. The favourite will be Might Bite and confidence is high in the Nicky Henderson camp with last season's King George and Betway Bowl winner described as in 'great shape'. Gold Cup winner Native River makes his seasonal bow along with stable-mate Thistlecrack. Bristol De Mai also lines-up as does Clan Des Obeaux for what could be a great race. For me, though it is best watched rather than punted in especially this early in the season with no actual recent form to go on; none of them has been seen since March or April and naturally connections are all convinced they have their charges in great form!