A great day’s racing today with a lot of questions to be answered.
The feature race of the day is the Betfair Chase at Haydock – I was going to go up but it’s difficult with the children. Kauto Star looks to repeat his victory from last year, and is odds on at the moment. I have him in my ten to follow, but I’ve watched his last run a few times and I have too many doubts now. My Way De Solzen could be something special and is a clear pick for me.
In a classy Ascot Hurdle I’ll go with Afsoun, who should like the ground and trip and may go well fresh. Afsoun finished ahead of Hardy Eustace in the Champion last year and has a fair bit more in his favour today, although it would certainly be a mistake to rule out HE. Detroit City will probably win if he returns to his best form, but my gut feeling is that he won’t – in-running punters can pick up on this quickly as the signs were all wrong by the first hurdle in the Champion last year. Wichita Lineman is interesting as he receives a handy 4lb, but the trip may be short for him.
Lightening Strike comes out in the first at Haydock – last season may have happened too quickly for him and he can improve to be a proper jumps force this year. He may win today, although I’d prefer him on better ground and over a longer trip. Metaphoric makes his hurdle debut at Huntingdon, and it is also the NH debut for Michael Bell. It’s an unusual step for Bell to take, which is quite a hint in itself – I’d expect him to win. Seven is my Number returns in the last at Ascot, and he had a big home reputation last year before he went wrong – if he keeps it together he should win today, although David’s horses have not been running well this last week or two. Nick Gifford runs Give Me A Dime at Huntingdon, and he may be value at long odds.
Ours ran well for a while yesterday but blew up in the closing stages. Moloney said he went too fast and tired quickly – he would have been better being dropped in to run on late.