As we move ever closer to the heart of the National Hunt season, the horse racing is sure to keep improving and punters are in for a treat on Saturday. The Clarence House Chase Raceday goes ahead at Ascot, as well as the The Peter Marsh Chase at Haydock.
Sodexo Clarence House Chase (Grade 1)
SIRE DE GRUGY won the Desert Orchid at Kempton in December, beating Saturday’s opponent Oiseau De Nuit after Sprinter Sacre was pulled up by Barry Geraghty. Gary Moore’s 8-year-old made it back-to-back wins after his Tingle Creek victory over second favourite Somersby.
Sire De Grugy is the 11/8 favourite with Stan James for the Clarence House Chase, with Mick Channon’s Somersby best price 7/2 with Bet Victor. The other main contender here is Hidden Cyclone, who is also 7/2.
John Hanlon’s 9-year-old finished third in the Paddy Power and was only just beat by Beneficent in a Grade 1 at Punchestown in December. Another who warrants respect is Days Hotel under Richard Johnson at 10/1.
It will take a sublime performance to beat the Queen Mother second favourite here though, as Jamie Moore bids for a hat-trick of consecutive wins.
OLBG.com Mares’ Hurdle (Registered As The Warfield Mares’ Hurdle) (Grade 2)
The Mares Hurdle earlier on in the meeting is an interesting contest, with Henry Daly’s mare, Mickie leading the betting at 11/8. She beat Utopie Des Bordes easily at Kempton in December, however both were beaten by 7-year-old Highland Retreat in November.
Mickie is 9lb better off here though and warrants huge respect, whilst Carole’s Spirit continues to improve as she steps up to 3m for the first time here. The trip may be a problem, which is the same for 4/1 shot Prima Porta.
Keltbray Holloway’s Hurdle (Grade 2 Limited Handicap)
Philip Hobbs’ Skyfarmer has won three from three this season and currently leads the market at 9/2 with Bet365 and Paddy Power. He has been raised 17lb for this though, which could take its toll and another of the favoured entries, Minella Forfitness is on a high mark.
Kuilsriver represents decent value at 16/1 for a horse that was still travelling strongly when unseating Thomas Garner last time.
Over at Haydock, Venetia Williams saddles Katenko who has struggled to get back to his best in his first two races this season. All of his wins have come on heavy ground, including wins at Cheltenham and Sandown this time last year.
Katenko leads the betting at 4/1, whilst Merry King, Sydney Paget and Vino Griego also represent good value for a difficult race.
Un Tempts Pour Tout is entered in the Supreme Novices’ at Cheltenham in March and leads the betting at best odds of evens with Stan James. He has won both listed and Grade 3 races in France and should have what it takes to win here for David Pipe.
Zamdy Man is the main challenger after returning this season in fine style; winning both races so far including a Listed event here in November.
The third Grade 2 of the meeting sees Paul Nicholls’ PTIT ZIG lead the market at Evens with . He beat Un Tempts Pour Tout in a Grade 1 at Auteuil and should have enough to win this. The biggest challenger, Melodic Rendezvous, could not compete with My Tent Or Yours in the Fighting Fifth, however this testing ground is more likely to suit.
BET OF THE DAY: Double – SIRE DE GRUGY & PTIT ZIG to win @ 3.29/1 with Bet365.
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