I'm not going to gloat too much about my tasty treble last Saturday but suffice to say I'm pleased with myself. Whether that gives me justification to go for a fourfold this week is another matter of course.
The race of the weekend is probably the Clarence House Chase at Ascot although I don't have a bet in that one – I went back and forth between Defi Du Seuil, Waiting Patiently, Politologue and First Flow as a potential outsider but eventually realised that none of them were making a strong enough case. It should be a cracking race but will be a watching brief for me. I have however found two races where I think there is some each-way value to be had and buoyed by last week's success I'm throwing a Hail Mary at 4 selections in a fourfold and trebles.
I'm very surprised to see JANIKA available at the current odds given his much lower hurdles handicap mark. He can go well fresh and looks a cracking each-way bet to be in this race which isn't bursting with quality.
I have two selections in this race which look like a good option for each-way bets. My first choice is ESPOIR DU GUYE who came unstuck when I backed him last time over 3 miles. I had hoped that would bring about even more improvement in the horse but it looks like he actually didn't stay. I think he can resume his progress dropped back down in trip this time for Venetia Williams who is having a good season so far.
My second selection is a small each way on DOMAINE DE L'ISLE who won this race last year and has shown very little since. He now drops to the same handicap mark with David Bass returning as a jockey. They are also adding some headgear which might bring a bit of improvement and he looks a big price at 14-1 to me.
I'm recommending 4 x 1pt trebles and a 2pt fourfold on the following four selections:
1.15pm Ascot – I think it's basically a match between ROKSANA and Magic Light and I fancy the younger horse to prevail. She has been running very nicely of late and the conditions here look ideal for her.
2.10pm Taunton – The conditions of this race should really suit YALA ENKI and I'll be surprised if he doesn't do the business. He has a good bit in hand with the rest of them and ground and trip are no problem for him.
2.40pm Haydock – As the prices would suggest this is probably the riskiest of the four selections but I think ROYALE PAGAILLE is a cracking horse who is rapidly improving with each run. There don't look like many who will be able to challenge him here despite his whacking rise in the handicap for his last win. Sam Brown is the main one who would give me cause for concern but I expect Royale Pagaille to win on his way to bigger and better things.
3.15pm Haydock – My fourth and final selection for the fourfold is BUVEUR D'AIR who is rightly a short-priced jolly for this three runner race. Ballyandy is a consistent yardstick but I don't think he is capable of getting close to Buveur if he is fit and well for this and Navajo Pass is a nice horse but will be out of his depth at this level.
Countdown to Cheltenham Festival
With the Cheltenham Festival not that far away, I took the time to review the runners and share my ante-post tips and thoughts on this year's Cheltenham festival. Al Boum Photo remains top of the betting and is well in contention in my in-depth Gold Cup ante-post preview.