Ascot and Haydock are where the best action is to be found, on Saturday. Seymour Biz looks at 4 races and fancies a Harry Fry horse to make a winning reappearance, in the Garrard Silver Cup Handicap Chase. Here are his Lucky 15 selections. You can find all recent UK horse racing analysis and previews from Seymour Biz in his weekly Saturday Horse Racing Tips column.
We have two excellent pre-Christmas cards to look forward to and try and fill the coffers to pay for the festive extravaganza. It’s one of the shortest days of the year and perhaps the horses should be racing with headlights. But after running the rule over this weeks runners there are some that are absolutely beaming. Ascot’s main race is the Garrards Silver Cup with a fine list of back up races with some good young horses. At Haydock we have the Tommy Whittle Chase which has been won in the past by horses such as Cloudy Lane, One Man and The Thinker. I am not sure if there is anything of that class in this year’s line-up but you never know. So here are my thoughts for televised races this Saturday on ITV4. Finally it leaves me to wish everyone A Very Happy Christmas and A Prosperous New Year.
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The first race of a good televised meeting at Ascot is the My Pension Expert Handicap Chase at 1.50 and Janika is the bookmakers choice for this. Nicky Henderson’s French import rattled up a treble at the end of last season in his homeland before crossing the water to Seven Barrows. All those wins were on heavy going and although Ascot is reported as soft, it could dry out considerably so I think Janika is best watched for his first run in this country. Magic Saint from Paul Nicholls’s yard was a good second last time to Actival at Haydock, and although beaten 16 lengths, he was 17 lengths in front of the third and came home in his own time. But I think there are horses with better chances higher up the handicap. Hell’s Kitchen won well on the Boxing Day card at Kempton last year, he has gone backwards since then but his latest run at Aintree was on ground firmer than he likes, he can improve on that run. The horse I really like the look of here in Dan Skelton’s Born Survivor who had a fine victory at Wetherby at the beginning of November. He has a 4lbs rise in the weights for that win but I think he can cope with that and take this contest.
At 3.00 it’s the Garrard Silver Cup Handicap Chase, a three mile contest. Top weight here is The Last Samurai who has been second in the Grand National in the past but was pulled up in the big race last season. This is a run out for the 10-year-old in preparation for next year’s race. Last years winner Gold Present heads the betting, he was third last month behind Politologue and I can’t see how that run justifies his short price. Harry Fry sends Acting Lass here for his first run of the season, he had a great run in mid season last time winning three from four but has not been seen since February. He is one of my Ten Chasers To Follow and can take this. Alan King took Full Glass out last week at Cheltenham due to the going, he reports his jumping has improved since unseating his rider at Haydock last time, I think he is best watched. Carole’s Destrier is getting a bit long in the tooth now but is a course and distance winner and may run into a place at a nice price.
The Betfair Exchange Trophy, a handicap hurdle is run at 3.35. Harry Fry’s Jolly’s Cracked It was impressive when winning here at Ascot last month beating Chavez and Flying Tiger. That was his first run for almost two years due to injuries however he has been saddled with an extra 9lbs in the handicap and that may hold him back somewhat. Western Ryder was a beaten favourite last week, he could finish only third behind Brain Power and it seems a big ask by trainer, Warren Greatrex, to try to win this after those exertions. But the trainer with the strongest hand here is Alan King with three live chances. Fidux was a course and distance winner last month and King says this has been his target since that fine victory. But he has risen 10lbs since that win and that is a worry. He is hoping to get Chavez in with a really low weight and he may well be in the shake up if he gets involved. But the one I like is one of my Ten Hurdlers To Follow, Lisp. He is already a winner this season at Fontwell and ran a very pleasing second to Global Citizen at Newbury earlier this month. King is slightly worried about him running right-handed, but at Ascot’s wide open spaces coming over to the stand side in the home straight should not be a problem.
The final leg of this week’s Lucky Fifteen is the 2.40 at Haydock, the Smarkets Tommy Whittle Handicap Chase. Kimberlite Candy won first time out on his seasonal reappearance for Tom Lacey at Ayr on heavy going. He has carried on where he left off from last year when he won at Chepstow, he is the bookies choice for this but I think he may find one or two too good this time. Top weight Testify has seen a drop in form since running up a treble in Dec/Jan last season, and Tom George’s Rocklander has been struggling in his races this year. Duel At Dawn makes his seasonal debut and is capable of running well fresh, trainer Alex Hales has had his eye on this contest for some time. Whoshotwho trained by Dr Richard Newland appears to be more of a summer horse and fell at the first at Cheltenham last time out. However this trainer is very astute and he may well run into a place at a nice price.
Saturday Lucky 15
1.30 Ascot. Born Survivor
3.00 Ascot. Acting Lass
3.35 Ascot. Lisp
2.40 Haydock. Duel At Dawn