Saturday 18th January Racing Preview

Defi Du Seuil (JTW Equine Images)

By Samantha


There is some really good action on show this Saturday on ITV Racing from Ascot and Haydock, with multiple graded races and the grade one Clarence House Chase over two miles.


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Ground conditions:
Ascot – Heavy
Haydock – Heavy


Read Samantha’s Preview Of The Races Here…

Sensulano (JTW Equine Images)


13:50 Ascot- bet365 Mares’ Hurdle (Grade 2)


The mare who catches the eye for me is MAGIC OF LIGHT. Jessica Harrington runner concluded the 2018/19 season by coming second to Tiger Roll in the Aintree Grand National. She only got beat two and three quarter lengths and, on reappearance, she came third to Barcardys and Apple’s Jade in a grade two. Last time, she absolutely hacked up by a very long way in a listed mares chase. She’s equally as good over hurdles and has a great chance. Her main rival is Papagana. This Martaline mare is four from ten. She won a listed mares novice hurdle in March and then wasn’t seen until she won another listed race by nine lengths, beating Culture De Sivola, in November. Last time out, she was third to The Worlds End in a grade one. Culture De Sivola hasn’t won since December 2018 and, last time, she was beaten over twenty three lengths by Coded Message. Ben Case’s mare is really consistent and stayed on really strongly over this trip at Kempton. Sensulano went novice chasing earlier in the season and has won her last two by twenty one lengths. The drop back to hurdles is an interesting move. Last to mention is Liberty Bella. She won at the start of 2019 and she looks like she’s up against it.


14:05 Haydock- Sky Bet Supreme Trial Rossington Main Novices Hurdle (Grade 2)


This is a really nice little contest and EDWARDSTONE is the favourite because he has some great form to his name. On hurdle debut, he beat subsequent grade one winner Fiddlerontheroof, beating him by three quarter lengths, and two other winners. Last time, he beat Harry Senior, who won next time out. The form is all there and he’s the highest rated of these. Thebannerkingrebel won his first hurdle in May and then in June. He fell when in the lead in November and, later on in that month, he won a listed race over course and distance, for which he’s penalized. Stolen Silver unseated on hurdles debut, when not making much of an impression. He got off the mark in emphatic style at Ffos Las in November. Last time out, he was second to the smart Chantry House, who is two from two. Snookered won four races over the summer by a combined forty lengths. He ran on New Years Day but got beaten well over a hundred lengths so is the outsider.

Ballymoy (Green Colours) (JTW Equine Images)


14:25 Ascot- Matchbook Holloways’s Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3)


Thomas Darby is a well-regarded horse as he came second in the Supreme Novices Hurdle. Connections expected him to run well over fences but he didn’t take to it after two runs, finishing second and third. He’s being dropped down to hurdles. Another horse who has performed well at the top level is PIC D’ORHY. This horse came second to Beaumac De Houelle (who stands at Hara De Montaigu Stud) in a grade one but has moved to Paul Nicholls. He ran in the Triumph Hurdle on his first start for them and came tenth. He fell at Auteuil last time and may be well treated. Ballymoy won this last year. Since, he was seventh in graded hurdles and then second in three chases. He returns to hurdles off a 2lbs higher mark then last year. Bold Plan was well-fancied the last day and he stayed on well in the closing stages. He’s gone up 10lns for that. Song For Someone won by twelve lengths at Fontwell and then came third in a listed race behind a subsequent winner. He’s only five. Soul Emotion won twice in 2018. He’s ran in two decent class twos so far this season. Jolly’s Cracked It last won in November 2018 and has been well beaten since but has had a wind op. The Knot Is Tied pulled up on both starts this campaign despite running well for the previous seasons.


14:40 Haydock—Peter Marsh Chase (Grade 2 Limited Handicap)


Two old favourites run in this – Vintage Clouds and Definitely Red. The former hasn’t won since a class two handicap in November 2018. He was second in the Ultima; fell at the first in the Grand National and then came sixth in the Scottish National. On his first start of this season, he was fifth in a handicap at Kelso and then he pulled up in the Becher after making some horrific mistakes. The National dreams are pretty much dashed with him. He was third in the Tommy Whittle last time out. Definitely Red was brought down in the Gold Cup and fifth in the Punchestown Gold Cup. On reappearance, he was fourth in the Charlie Hall and then fourth in the Becher. This is probably a prep for the Aintree showpiece.


Another interesting runner is Champers On Ice. He’s not been seen over fences since March 2017 but has been in excellent form this season, winning two and coming third. Acting Lass has run just eleven times and he ran ever so well last time to only be beaten three quarters of a length by Regal Encore. He won in December but is stepping up in trip. I think it may suit him. Flying Angel was last seen in the Grand Sefton earlier in the season and he didn’t run badly at all. He’d won at Ascot before that. Stamina could be an issue. The same could be said for Red Indian, who’s ran fifteen times and not been seen for 287 days. November 2017 is the last time Prime Venture won but he ran an excellent race in the Welsh National. That could be a hint at him returning to better form.


Geronimo, Midnight Tune and Claud And Goldie all won last time out. Ladies first and MIDNIGHT TUNE won a mares novice chase by thirty two lengths and was unchallenged next time. She’s a very versatile mare, she stays and ground wont be an issue. She has 10st4 like Claud And Goldie. He won a Veterans race at Kelso 41 days ago and he got put up 4lbs for that. He’s only ran seven times under rules. Geronimo pulled up in the Scottish National but won last time out at Newcastle, under today’s pilot Ryan Mania. He’ll stay.

Happy Diva (right) (JTW Equine Images)


15:00 Ascot- bet365 Handicap Chase


This is an excellent contest. Three of these jumped out of the page at me. HAPPY DIVA won the grade three Bet Victor Gold Cup at Cheltenham really well. She deserved that and only found Lady Buttons a head too good in a listed. She’s won here before but is on a career high mark. She’s so tenacious though. Espoir De Guye kept on well to win at Exeter. Next time, he won here over two miles two by ten lengths. He’s only five and seems an exciting individual. Tough ground conditions won’t be an issue. It has been reported that Domaine De L’Isle will hopefully inevitably be a Welsh National horse. This gelding has ran four times in England, winning his last two in really nice style. He stays further but has won over shorter.


Kildisart won a grade three at Aintree in the spring. On reappearance, he was third to Lostintranslation at Carlisle and then came sixth in a listed race last time. Benny’s King won at Newbury in November and then followed in Top Ville Ben last time out. The pair of Sam’s Adventure and Kayf Adventure are down the bottom of the handicap. Neither have got their heads in front in a while. Allysson Monterg was last seen coming fourth to Frodon in the Cotswold Chase, nearly a year ago. Aintree My Dream has been third on his last three outings and has slipped to bottom weight.

Pentland Hills (Right) and Ballyandy (Red Colours) (JTW Equine Images)


15:15- The New One Unibet Hurdle (Grade 2)


This is a Champion Hurdle Trial and CORNERSTONE LAD bet previous Champion Hurdle winner Buveur D’Air last time. He’s remarkably consistent (1st, 2nd or 3rd on all thirteen jumps outings). He won his last three, one flat and two jumps, including the grade one Fighting Fifth. Admittedly, Buveur D’Air got injured in the race but I still think my selection would go close regardless. Henry Brooke popped him out in the lead last time and they should do the same again. Pentland Hills won the Triumph Hurdle and the Aintree equivalent on his second and third National Hunt start. Last time, he ran keen in the International Hurdle and his run petered out in the end. He’s well-fancied for the Champion Hurdle. Ballyandy finished ahead of him that day and last time out he was third in the Christmas Hurdle. He won the Champion Bumper in 2016 so is no mug. Rein It In Racing’s Luke thinks a lot of Darasso. He won a grade three by eleven lengths and then a grade two when last seen over 300 days ago. He’s a seven year old and one for the future.


15:35 Ascot- Clarence House Chase (Grade One)


This race has been billed as a clash between DEFI DU SEUIL and Un De Sceaux. The former is my selection because I’ve been so impressed with what he’s achieved since he went novice chasing. His first chase success came on the second time of asking at Exeter and after that he was second to Lostintranslation in the Dipper, then he won the Scilly Isles and also the JLT Novices Chase at Cheltenham. That was over two miles four but he dropped back to two miles to take on Chacun Pour Soi at Punchestown but he came second to the Willie Mullins horse. This season, he’s won the Shloer Chase and the Tingle Creek, beating Un De Sceaux. He only won by a neck but he has youth as an advantage over Un De Sceaux. The latter is twelve and has won twice in this race and eighteen times overall. He’s a proper legend of the sport and he won at the Punchestown meeting in the Champion Chase. He loves it round here and the ground shouldn’t be a problem at all. Janika also runs and he finished fourth in the Tingle Creek after winning the Haldon Gold Cup. He finished fourth in the Relkeel Hurdle last time. Capeland finished fourth in the Desert Orchid Chase last time and I think he’s definitely running round here for place money and a drop in the handicap. Marracudja completes the field.

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