Rouge to give rivals red card

Network Rouge has plenty going for him at Haydock

Net Work Rouge

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Betting Tip: Net Work Rouge @ 9/1 with skybet

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?!

Betting Tip: Net Work Rouge @ 9/1 with skybet

All odds were correct at time of posting.

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