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How To Bet £20 on Saturday: Taunton runner worth risking back over hurdles at 14-1

By Andy Stephens@StevoGG
Fri 22 Jan 2021

When the going gets tough, the stayers keep grinding. I’m not sure Billy Ocean’s seminal 1985 pop classic would have been quite the same if he had changed the lyrics, but it’s going to be all about horses who can gallop to the line at Haydock Park on Saturday.

I’d imagine most of us despaired of the meeting taking place earlier this week when plenty more rain fell on ground already described as heavy but it got the green light after an inspection on Thursday and, provided it can overcome the threat of overnight frost, a card featuring the return of two-time Champion Hurdle hero Buveur D’Air and the Peter Marsh Chase will go ahead as planned.

It’s a day when I fancy plenty and, in addition to the five tips below, I’ll be having a win double on a couple of short-priced favourites in Roksana (1.15 Ascot) and Yala Enki (2.30 Taunton) because both have outstanding claims and are not far off Evens. Some will beware the latter in the Portman Cup after he ran so well in the Welsh National a fortnight ago, but it did not stop him winning last year’s renewal.

1.50 Ascot: Janika £2 win at a general 6-1

This classy chaser carried my money when he ran in the Clarence House Chase on this last year and he looked a big player up the home straight before cutting out quickly. In my Racing TV Tracker notes, I scribbled “travelled well, stopped quick , wind op?”

He ran below-par again the following month and now reappears, 343 days later, having had a breathing operation.

Instead of exposing him to a red-hot Clarence House (I like Waiting Patiently best in that) on his belated return, his connections have opted to run him off 147 in this handicap hurdle which carries a first prize of about £20,000. It’s a sum not to be sniffed at, and nor is that mark – a full 15lb lower than Janika won last season’s Haldon Gold Cup off when he was making his seasonal return.

Aged 8, he still has time on his side. His future entries include the Champion Chase and Ryanair Chase.

Click here to view racecards, Timeform comments and live odds.

2.05 Haydock: Chef D’Oeuvre £2 win and 1.50 each-way at 15-2 with William Hill

The conditions of this race do not stipulate that the runners must not have won a race earlier in the season, but none have and in-form runners are also thin on the ground.

Chef D’Oeuvre has a few convictions to his name but he’s a thorough stayer who has chalked up four previous wins on heavy going. His personal best was probably at Haydock, too, when a close third in the Grand National Trial over an extended 3m 4f here two years ago (watch above).

He ran well over fences at Wetherby last time and I’m not worried about him reverting to the smaller obstacles (he’s 2-6 over them) given this is likely to be slow-motion stuff up the straight. The early 12-1 quickly disappeared but 15-2 still looks chunky.

2.40 Haydock: Sam's Adventure £2 each-way at 13-2 with bet65 and Bet Victor

Royale Pagaille is a short-priced favourite for the Peter Marsh after his impressive win at Kempton last time but he’s up 16lb and showed plenty of gears that day. This slog will be a different test.

Sam Brown is next in the market and is respected with Ben Godfrey taking off 5lb, although he’s always had an air of fragility about him.

One who gets plenty of weight from them, and looks sure to give his running, is Sam’s Adventure, who was a convincing winner of a competitive Tommy Whittle in the mud here last time. He’s 6lb higher but if he reproduces that running will at the very least be hard to keep out of the frame.

2.45 Taunton: Eamon An Cnoic £2 win at a general 14-1

He’s clearly got some of his own ideas about the game and ran a stinker on his return at Cheltenham in November but he’s had another break and is potentially chucked in here switched back to hurdling.

The ten-year-old was a close fourth in a Cheltenham Festival handicap chase off 137 in 2019 and it was little more than a year ago that he went close in another handicap chase at the track.

He’s runs off just 122 here and has yet to run a bad race for David Noonan, who has won on him a couple of times. This track is more or less on his doorstep and the race is restricted to horses aged eight or over, so he will not bump into any unexposed types.

At a double-figure price he’s worth risking, for all that we might know our fate early. Brewin’upastorm also reverts to hurdling and is feared most.

3.50 Haydoock: Reivers Lad £4 win at 9-2 with William Hill

This ten-year-old is a fine stamp of a horse – every inch a steeplechaser – but he clearly has not been easy to train. This will be only his seventh race over obstacles, and his first for two years.

The good news, though, is that a mark of 125 may completely underplay him and he’s looked a bit of a mud monster in the past, winning three times on heavy going. I also doubt he will turn up undercooked given his previous problems.

He won in good style on his chasing debut at Newcastle when we last saw him in action and there’s still time for him to climb the ladder. Let’s hope his patient connections get an uninterrupted run with him.

4.20 Haydock Serious Ego £3 win at a general 9-2

Serious Ego caught the eye of the stewards when a staying-on third in this race last year and, if you watch for yourself, you will see why. He was, at best, considerately handled.

The eight-year-old has run just twice since, but again shaped well when third at Ayr on his return last time. Only 1lb higher than 12 months ago, and 12lb lower than he was once rated, a big run is on the cards.

How To Bet £20 on Saturday

OPTION ONE

1.50 Ascot: Janika £2 win at a general 6-1

2.05 Haydock: Chef D’Oeuvre £2 win and £1.50 each way at 15-2 with William Hill

2.40 Haydock: Sams Adventure £2 each way at 13-2 with bet365 and Bet Victor

2.45 Taunton: Eamon An Cnoic £2 win at a general 14-1

3.50 Haydoock: Reivers Lad £4 win at 9-2 with William Hill

4.20 Haydoock Serious Ego £3 win at a general 9-2

OPTION TWO

£8 win double on Roksana (1.15 Ascot) and Yala Enki (2.30 Taunton)

Plus a 10p Win Super Heinz with

1.50 Ascot: Janaka

2.05 Haydock: Chef D’Oeuvre

2.45 Taunton: Eamon An Cnoic

3.50 Haydoock: Reivers Lad

4.20 Haydoock Serious Ego

NEED SOME MORE POINTERS?

CLICK HERE FOR DAVE NEVISON'S BEST BETS

CLICK HERE FOR JOHNNY WARD'S IRISH ANGLE

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