Three key runners to follow on Racing TV this Saturday

By Andy Stephens@StevoGG
Fri 20 Jan 2023

Andy Stephens identifies an 8-1 chance heading for the £75,000 Peter Marsh Chase at Haydock on Saturday and has another pair to monitor. Watch how they all fare on Racing TV

 Frodon seeks a 20th win under Frost (Focusonracing)
Frodon seeks a 20th win under Frost (Focusonracing)

2.40 Haydock: Peter Marsh Handicap Chase

Horse: Empire Steel Odds: a general 8-1

The final make-up of the Peter Marsh is difficult to predict, with several of the runners having alternative options. For instance, Dusart, Sam, Brown, Bristol De Mai and Minella Drama are also engaged in Sunday’s much more valuable Fleur De Lys Chase - which could be more appealing after Noble Yeats was ruled out on Tuesday.

By contrast, this race is Empire Steel’s only near-at-hand engagement and Sandy Thomson’s nine-year-old has all the attributes needed to run well in it.

He disappointed when well-fancied for last year’s renewal, but that came after an unfortunate fall in the latter stage of the Rowland Meyrick at Wetherby, when he looked on course to win.

The grey is proven at Haydock and this time he lines up after an encouraging spin over an inadequate trip at Aintree. A 2lb drop in the ratings means he is now just 4lb higher than when bolting up at Kelso last winter and, perhaps most significant, the strong traveller is in his element when the mud is flying.

Timeform have assessed him to have run on heavy ground seven times with his record reading 13121F1. One of those defeats was by a neck, and the fall came at Wetherby when he looked on course to win.

3.10 Haydock: Racing TV Club Day Handicap Hurdle

Horse: De Legislator. Odds: --

Lucinda Russell had three entries to juggle in this staying handicap hurdle but De Legislator always looked the ace in her pack.

Winner of his only point-to-point, in Ireland, at the main expense of Snake Roll, he changed hands for €170,000 at Goffs in April of last year.

He’s made a low-key start for Russell, beating two other rivals on his debut over 2m4f at Hexham before following up over an extended 2m6f at Kelso – when mastering the hat-trick seeking Imperial Merlin in receipt of 5lb.

De Legislator seems sure to improve again upped to 3m and, for all he’s marking time over the smaller obstacles, I’ll be surprised if he cannot exploit an opening mark of 117. For what it’s worth, Snake Roll is on a mark of 125 and Imperial Merlin is rated 123.

3.17 Taunton: Frodon

Horse: Frodon. Odds: a general 10-11

Flashback: Frodon wins the 2020 King George

I briefly thought that Frodon was ineligible to run in this £55,000 contest because of the Grade One/Grade Two victories on his CV. But they came before the start of 2022, opening the door for this hugely popular 11-year-old to provide Paul Nicholls and Bryony Frost a fourth successive win after Yala Enki's hat-trick of victories.

The habitual front-runner looks to hold a massive class edge over his six potential rivals, being rated between 12lb and 27lb superior to them. Even with a 4lb penalty for his Badger Beer win at Wincanton in November, he’s heavily favoured by the weights.

In addition, we know the 2020 King George winner is a terrific jumper who is tremendously game. And the dry week forecast in the West Country will also be to his advantage.

So why can we back him at almost Evens?

The bookmakers are dangling a carrot because of the extended 3m4f trip, which asks a stamina question. But that is offset by the tight Taunton track and, with a small field guaranteed, Frost may well be able to dictate steady fractions and/or get breathers into him. This rates his easiest assignment for some time and he can chalk up a 20th win.

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