The Weekend Wager: Raceolly's Five Best Bets At Ascot And Haydock

Haydock Park Winning Post

There's some superb National Hunt racing taking place at Haydock Park and Ascot, and our tipster Raceolly has picked out his five best bets for the weekend action...

13:10 Ascot - SBK Handicap Chase

COBOLOBO was runner-up in this race last year off 8lb higher behind one that’s now rated 13lbs higher after winning again since. He ran a decent race in the Becher Chase after 261 days off the track, but runs his best races at undulating tracks and stuck exclusively to tracks like that last season. Two starts this season have both been at flat tracks and although he’s previously won at a flat track his form steps up a fair bit when away from them. I thought he had a decent chance in the Kim Muir at the Cheltenham Festival at the end of his campaign last season, but that didn’t go to plan, but he now find himself 10lbs lower after just the two runs since. 

13:10 Ascot - SBK Handicap Chase
Cobolobo silk


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13:45 Ascot - SBK Holloway's Handicap Hurdle

You can make a good case for a few in this. Stellar Magic and Garry Clement would be strong contenders, but there’s one at a huge price that is a previous Grade 1 winner when novice chasing and beating Champion Chase runner-up Nube Negra and that’s ESPRIT DU LARGE. Unfortunately he fell three times after that and only completed one more chase which was when he was third behind two 140 rated chasers at Carlisle. He returned to hurdling last year in a Grade 2 against Goshen and Song For Someone and it was good to see him get some confidence back in him by not taking a tumble and after a 293 day break at Cheltenham. He was given a easy time and was quickly pulled up but again a pleasant enough experience. Dropped to a mark of 135 for those efforts and finished 2nd at Exeter 11 days ago and can now build on that off the same handicap mark here.

13:45 Ascot - SBK Holloway's Handicap Hurdle
Esprit Du Large silk

Esprit Du Large

Pulled Up
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14:35 Haydock - Peter Marsh Handicap Chase

Royale Pagaille could easily hose up here again, but it is a competitive handicap chase and a mark of 163 is far from a gift. Instead FORTESCUE is running off 10st 1lbs at the bottom of the handicap and although 3lbs out of the handicap the claiming jockey ensures he runs off 2lb less than his mark of 140. Soft ground or worse and three miles has been the key to his success with form figures of 12112912 when encountering the two. He started well this season at Kelso behind one that’s won twice since and ran a decent race in the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury when hampered at a crucial stage, but kept on finishing just ahead of one that won a good race at Cheltenham on his next start. He went off favourite on his last start at Kempton and ran a good race in 2nd just unable to peg back the horse that led through out, similar conditions here and plenty in his favour at double figure odds.

14:35 Haydock - Peter Marsh Handicap Chase
Fortescue silk



15:10 Haydock - Stuart Whittle's 40th Birthday Handicap Hurdle

MOON KING was a 94 rated flat stayer and hasn’t done a lot wrong since hurdling, winning twice (one a jumpers' bumper) and only finishing out of the top three once in seven starts and that was when 4th on hurdle debut. Three runs in handicaps this season resulted in him just being held and beaten a neck on seasonal debut after 260 days off at Chepstow, and last time out he lost a shoe when 2nd at Doncaster on soft ground. He won on heavy ground on the flat and placed both starts on soft over hurdles and dropped a further pound since 2nd last time behind one who had solid form at the track already having not finished out of the top three there before, and he lost a shoe that day too which didn’t help his cause. Charlie Longsdon books Brian Hughes for the ride and the pair have a 23% win rate when combining over the last five years 

15:10 Haydock - Stuart Whittle's 40th Birthday Handicap Hurdle
Moon King silk

Moon King

Pulled Up

16:15 Haydock - Plank Lane Handicap Hurdle

Was making my case here for Feivel on first glance, but the price is a little skinny judging on his last run and one at much bigger odds that makes more appeal is NEAR KETTERING for Sam England. Near Kettering is back down to a mark just 2lbs above his last winning mark now and has tried everything since that win, running on the flat, over fences and back over hurdles. He ran well at Wetherby back over hurdles and over two miles last month when a 10 lengths 5th and the 2nd won since and has been the only one to run since, stepped up to two and half again last time, but I'm yet to be convinced that he gets that far and back down in trip tomorrow is ideal. Form in handicaps between two miles and two miles two furlongs over hurdles reads 184115 (the 8th after a 462 day break) covering all three of his hurdle wins. He's a massive price considering everything will be in his favour here and with excuses for dropping down the handicap lately, didn’t run well on the flat between two hurdle wins last year so that run can be overlooked too.

16:15 Haydock - Plank Lane Handicap Hurdle
Near Kettering silk

Near Kettering

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