Our resident tipster is sweet on the chances of a couple of double-figure priced runners at Haydock
The only flat action taking place on Saturday is the all-weather meeting at Kempton and, while its not a bad card by any means, I’d much prefer to concentrate on the jumps action at Haydock, with a couple of reasonably valuable handicaps forming the backbone of a seven-race card.
The 888Sport-sponsored 2m6f handicap chase (due off 3.45pm) has attracted a field of 15 and it’s fair to say they can all be given enough a chance of sorts. Bookmakers make Jamie Snowden’s Future Gilded their favourite around the 6/1 mark and he’s very much respected for his in-form yard and off a mark just 2lb higher than for his recent Market Rasen success. Others with more obvious claims are Bob Tucker and Comeonginger, although the ground may be plenty soft enough for him.
The pick, though, goes to bottom-weight ITSTIMEFORAPINT in the hope his jumping holds up. Lucinda Russell’s seven-year-old has not looked a natural over fences it has to be said and unseated at Ayr a couple of starts back. However, he clearly has ability as he showed when winning at Wetherby on his chase debut and when chasing home progressive stayer Jac The Legend at Catterick. He was put in his place by Red Admirable over 3m here last time, finishing 18-lengths adrift in second, but he remains a well treated horse on a mark of 106 and I suspect he has a big pot like this one in him if things go his way. At 22/1, I’m happy to pay to find out, though it could be a from behind-the-sofa job.
The 2m4f handicap hurdle run earlier on the card (2.35pm) looks just as competitive with only rag Rendezvous Peak ruled out with any real confidence. Bookmakers appear to have settled on Jonjo O’Neill’s Upswing as favourite and he’s sure to be a popular bet with a certain AP McCoy booked to do the steering. But he has to give nearly a stone to Kim Bailey’s NET WORK ROUGE and, having followed that horse’s career closely, I’m convinced we are about to see a career-best performance from the six-year-old.
One of the best English pointers in recent times and a half-brother to Sprinter Sacre, he joined Bailey with a big reputation and, understandably given his massive frame (he’s nearly 17hh), he looked very raw on his first couple of runs for the yard. His third start at Sandown in December was much better, though, as he wasn’t beaten far into third behind subsequent EBF Final winner As Du Mee, with the extended 2m trip wholly inadequate. He improved on that last time out over a more suitable 2m3f at Newbury, staying on well to finish second, less than two lengths behind the progressive Border Breaker.
Today’s extra furlong should see him in an even better light and the soft ground will also bring his stamina more into play. He’s been hit with a 5lb rise for that Newbury effort, but he has been essentially handicapped on four runs over trips too short and he could leave that form well behind here. His trainer is having winners, four in the last fortnight, and his rider David Bass could not be in better form with a 39% strike rate over the same period. If that’s not enough positives to warrant a good bet at the 10/1 on offer, I don’t know what is?!
*free bet to the same stake (up to £25) if he wins