IT'S a Gold Cup rematch at Haydock today with arch rivals Might Bite and Native River battling it out in the Betfair Chase for a £1million bonus.
IF THE CAP FITS can capitalise on the absence of Willie Mullins’ super mare Laurina and land the Coral Hurdle at Ascot. Harry Fry’s gelding had market rival We Have A Dream seven lengths adrift when chasing home Verdana Blue in the Unibet Elite Hurdle at Wincanton a fortnight ago. Both horses had previously celebrated a winning spree and it promises to be an absorbing match-up.
FIRST ASSIGNMENT was so impressive at Cheltenham last weekend that he is difficult to oppose in the Betfair Stayers’ Handicap Hurdle at Haydock, even though he will go off a skinny price. Tom O’Brien’s only danger at the last flight was a loose horse and First Assignment seems very much at home on the prevailing good ground.
CHTI BALKO well worth an each-way interest at a tasty price in the 2m 2f handicap hurdle. He finished fourth 12 months ago (heavy), but today’s better surface will suit. Chti Balko had a very stiff task trying to concede 12lb to progressive Le Patriote in the Scottish Champion Hurdle Trial at Ayr earlier this month.
There is some good all-weather action and Saeed bin Suroor has got his winter team in wonderful nick. Going into last night’s Kempton fixture his previous five runners had finished 1-1-2-1-2 and CARING TOUCH can get the day off to a flier at Lingfield. She ran Bobby K close at Chelmsford City last month and the winner beat Mainsail Atlantic at Lingfield last week off a mark of 88. Caring Touch races off 83 here, with Gabriele Malune taking off 5lb, and a first-time tongue-tie is applied. The Godolphin trainer also saddles one at Wolverhampton this evening, with Oisin Murphy booked to ride newcomer Najib (7.15). It might be wise to keep a check on the betting market.
The Betfair Chase at Haydock offers up a mouth-watering Cheltenham Gold Cup rematch between Native River and Might Bite. The ground looks like riding a bit too quick for last year’s winner Bristol De Mai, while Thistlecrack adds lustre to a small but very select field. It is probably a race to sit back and savour, although I’ll bet Might Bite if market vibes are strong, especially as this flat track suits perfectly.
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