By Steven Dowler (@ArchitectTips)
It’s another busy weekend of top-class jumps action and National Hunt racing fans can savour the feature contest of the weekend, the Grade One Betfair Chase, that will take centre stage at Haydock on Saturday.
Last year’s one-two Lostintranslation and Bristol De Mai are set for round two of their heavyweight rematch, whilst Paul Nicholls has declared Dual King George winner Clan Des Obeaux.
Last Saturday, there were no winning units of the Scoop6 for a second consecutive week, which is superb news for punters with a rollover of £41,499 in the Win Fund.
All Scoop6 pools are expected to surpass £120,000 this weekend and I’ve put together an eight-line perm, for an investment of £16.
Best of luck to all Scoop6 participants!
Leg 1: 1.50 Haydock - Betfair Racing Only Bettor Handicap Hurdle (Class 2)
Selections: SHAKEM UP’ARRY & UMBRIGADO
There’s lots to like about Ben Pauling’s SHAKEM UP’ARRY, who makes plenty of appeal from an opening handicap mark of 130.
He wasted little time in establishing himself as a useful novice last term, chasing home Nicky Henderson’s potentially high-class pair Shishkin and Mister Coffey at Newbury. The six-year-old was then thought good enough to contest the Grade One Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle on his final outing last season but could only finish down the field.
That said, the form of each race reads extremely well in the context of this weekend’s competitive event and, with fitness assured following an eight-length romp on seasonal debut a couple of weeks ago, he’s entitled to be involved at the finish.
Trainer David Pipe has his team firing of late and, with that in mind, his runner UMBRIGADO has to be considered.
He was highly tried last term, including at the Cheltenham Festival in the Martin Pipe when last seen and the handicapper has shown him mercy since, reducing his mark by 3lb as a result, which seems generous.
The unexposed six-year-old was fifth on this card 12 months ago in a similar-sizeable field. He travelled noticeably strongly before keeping on well, and that performance can be upgraded given it was his first foray at three-miles.
One might assume that this has been the plan for some time and, from a mark of 139 with the highly-talented Fergus Gillard booked to ride, he’s interesting enough to warrant a place on my ticket.
Leg 2: 2.25 Haydock - Betfair Exchange Stayers' Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3
Selections: MAIN FACT & IMPERIAL ALCAZAR
A glance through the history of this race shows that David Pipe has saddled the winner three times in the last ten years and he solely relies on MAIN FACT, who has to be feared given his progressive profile.
His seven-year-old has improved out of all recognition over the last twelve months and seeks a remarkable ninth-straight success. He was strongly supported for last weekend’s Greatwood Hurdle, but has had his attention switched to this weekend’s race instead.
This will be his first try at three-miles on rain-softened ground, but another bold showing looks feasible.
Fergal O’Brien’s IMPERIAL ALCAZAR looks capable of finding sufficient improvement now tackling three-miles for the first time.
He was a good novice hurdler last season, winning three of his four races, including when awarded the race in stewards’ room over Protektorat on Trials Day at Cheltenham.
The six-year-old has to really come into the equation here on the basis of that form and, with potential for better still in this sphere over this new trip.
Leg 3: 3.00 Haydock - Betfair Chase (Grade 1)
Selection: BRISTOL DE MAI
A small but high-class select field will go to post for the Grade One Betfair Chase.
Lostintranslation disappointed when strongly supported for the King George on Boxing Day but bounced back to form with a career-best performance in the Cheltenham Gold Cup finishing an honourable third and is the one to beat given his yard has won four of the last seven renewals.
However, we have to factor into some degree that the ground was far from ideal for BRISTOL DE MAI twelve months ago, who valiantly went out on his shield in defeat, and conditions will be more suitable on Saturday.
Front-running tactics are likely to be the plan again under Daryl Jacob. While the nine-year-old isn’t getting any younger, it’s hard to pick holes in his form at the Merseyside track that reads 11112.
Selections: FIRST FLOW & ABBEY MAGIC
I’m going to nominate FIRST FLOW as my first selection in the race.
Representing the in-form Kim Bailey team, he’s likely to be up with the pace and despite his only disappointment in his career came at the Cheltenham Festival back in 2018, he’s evidently progressed into a nice chaser.
The seven-year-old completed the hat-trick at Carlisle eight months ago and has yet to finish outside the top three in all eight chase starts, two in which have been at this track.
We’ve got a couple of decent Irish raiders in the race too with preference for Henry De Bromhead’s ABBEY MAGIC.
She’s won four of her five chase starts and seemingly acts on all ground. Her proven stamina over a little bit further looks a plus on what is likely to be testing conditions over the two-mile trip this weekend. Bryony Frost is an eye-catching jockey booking.
Leg 5 - 3.35 Haydock - My Odds Boost On Betfair Stayers' Handicap Chase (Class 3)
The one I’m going to take a chance for Scoop6 purposes is Sam Allwood’s SHENEEDEDTHERUN, who has flourished since joining the stable.
She completed the four-timer back in January and was last seen finishing a respectable fourth in the Midlands Grand National.
Further improvement can’t be ruled out given she won over this sort of trip on her penultimate outing and has undergone a wind operation subsequently, which could prove beneficial.
The ten-year-old mare looks the most solid option and is worth a chance off an unchanged mark, whilst Charlie Longsdon’s lightly-raced Ballydine and former RSA Chase winner Don Poli head the list of dangers.
Leg 6 - 3.50 Ascot - Coral Supporting Prostate Cancer UK Standard Open NH Flat Race (Class 4)
Selection: KANDOO KID
An interesting bumper race with plenty of guesswork required with many big yards represented.
KANDOO KID is bred to be useful and could get competitive for Paul Nicholls and Harry Cobden.
He’s from the same family as Champion Chase winner Politologue and has undergone a wind operation with the application of a tongue-tie applied ahead of his debut.
Newcomers from team Ditcheat have been showing up extremely well this season and that bodes well this well-bred four-year-old, who has a fair chance of boosting that record.
Leg 1: 13 & 5. Leg 2: 4 & 10. Leg 3: 2. Leg 4: 4 & 7. Leg 5: 8. Leg 6: 3.
Total: £16 stake, 8 lines.
Select any odd to add a bet