No joy from our selection last week. After becoming outpaced and dropping to the rear of the field Botox Has stayed on strongly but could only finish 8th. I have put him in the tracker and will look to see if they step him up in trip. Two bets this week, with the first coming from the Betfair Chase and then a short wait for an evening bet on the AW.
15:00 Haydock — Betfair Chase (Grade 1)
The Betfair Chase has recently brought about small fields and for the first time since 2014 we get 8 runners (at the time of writing). We also have interest from Ireland for the first time since Outlander came over in 2017 and it was 2013 the time before that. I think the Irish runner is most probably the best place to start.
A Plus Tard may be the current market leader but I’m not seeing much love around for last year’s Gold Cup 2nd. Despite proving himself at the highest level there is a huge case to be made for this horse not being at his best this weekend. He’s been beaten first time out for the past 3 years and tends to come on massively for the run.
He’s followed in the market by last year’s winner and my selection in the race, BRISTOL DE MAI. Bidding for his fourth win in the race I find it really hard to oppose the 10yr old. We’ve been receiving glowing reports all week and you just know this is his one target for the season. Many will make the case that he wants slower ground but he has proven that he acts just fine on a quicker surface when winning the race back in 2018.
The only other horse in the field I would make a slight case for is Next Destination. A Grade 1 winning novice hurdler, we didn’t see him for 920 days after that due to various injuries. They moved him to Paul Nicholls and as an 8yr old he was sent novice chasing. They brought him along slowly picking up two Grade 2s and only found Galvin (now rated 165) too good at Cheltenham. Paul Nicholls has reportedly got him fit and ready for the race and I think it’s interesting that they send him here instead of utilising that handicap mark.
Other than him I think Bristol De Mai has this field covered. I think Waiting Patiently is a hard horse to win with but I expect him to be there at the finish. I can see Royal Pagaille being pulled out on account of the ground and I think Imperial Aura is just below this level.
1st) Bristol De Mai 2nd) Next Destination 3rd) Waiting Patiently
BRISTOL DE MAI 11/4 1pt WIN
18:30 Wolverhampton — EBF Novice Stakes (Class 5)
I latched onto a 2yr old for William Haggas called last season called Educator. He’s one you will definitely be hearing lots about going into next year’s flat season. Lots of his form is untested but I have noted a few that finished behind him as ‘Eye-catchers’ and ASEAN LEGEND was one of them.
He made a promising start to life on the track with a 2nd on his sole start. He was only beaten a neck by Educator (87) that day and finished ahead of Savvy Victory (84). A reproduction of that effort should see him competitive here in what looks like a fairly weak affair.
7 of the 11 runners couldn’t manage an RPR above 66 with a further 3 debuting in this race. It looks like a straight match up with the Godolphin runner who will likely be the short-priced favourite but I don’t think there will be much separating these two rivals.
This is Hugo Palmer’s sole runner of the day and Wolverhampton has become a happy hunting ground for the trainer. He boasts a 25% win ratio and +18.46LSP at the course in the last 5 years which improves to 32% and +36.40LSP with 2yr olds. If you keep hunting through the stats this improves once again when only having one runner on the day to 50% Win ratio and +16.54LSP (Course + 2yr olds + One runner on card).
ASEAN LEGEND 2/1 1pt WIN
Week One +1.3pts
Week Two -2pts