Saturday racing odds, tips and preview
With the 2019 Cheltenham Festival now less than two months away, things are really getting interesting at the races.
Ed Chamberlin and the gang will hopefully bring us more clues about this year’s four-day showpiece with another afternoon of racing live on ITV4.
With four races from Ascot, and should Haydock come through a 7.30am inspection, we’ll have a trio of races from the North West too.
There’s plenty to consider, including the Peter Marsh Handicap Chase at 3.15, plus we’ll see Altior and Fox Norton go in the depleted but no-less intriguing Clarence House Chase at 3.35.
Mister Fisher – 2:05 Haydock
Nicky Henderson was toying with Cheltenham Supreme Hurdle ante-post favourite Angels Breath for the Rossington Main Novices’ Hurdle, but has since opted to go with stablemate Mister Fisher.
The five-year-old has already shown plenty of pedigree, winning on debut at Kempton last March. A difficult run at Aintree followed in April, but the bay gelding has been in excellent form this season with a second at Newbury and a win at Kempton last month.
Ben Pauling’s Bright Forecast has credible claims for this one after a pair of wins in the Autumn, but we’re sticking with Henderson’s up-and-coming raider.
Altior – 3:35 Ascot
The dry weather has ensured that only two runners go up against mighty Altior in the Clarence House Chase.
It means we won’t see a showdown between Nicky Henderson’s legendary nine-year-old and Un De Sceaux, who was withdrawn on Thursday, citing the dry conditions.
Colin Tizzard’s Fox Norton makes a welcome return after suffering a pulled tendon 13 months ago.
Paul Nicholls’ Diego Du Charmil is the third entrant (second to Altior by 19l at Kempton last month), in what will be the smallest Grade 1 field since 2014.
With Willie Mullins withdrawing last year’s champion Un De Sceaux, Altior is one of the heaviest odds-on jollys for some time, as Henderson eyes 12 wins from 12 over fences from his wonder horse.
Captain Redbeard – 3:15 Haydock
Valtor heads the betting for the Peter Marsh Handicap Chase, having run a sterling race to win at Ascot before Christmas at odds of 33/1.
But with only one of the last 10 favourites winning this race (plus a 12lb weight rise for the Nicky Henderson raider), we’re looking elsewhere.
Much will depend on how much (if any) rain falls on the Merseyside course, but Captain Redbeard has caught our attention.
Stuart Coltherd’s charger was second in this race 12 months ago, and ran a strong third at Haydock just two months ago.
Connections would prefer a smattering of rain, but either way, this is a wide-open contest and Captain Redbeard should feature strongly.
ITV Racing tips:
1:50 Ascot – Culture De Sivola
2:05 Haydock – Mister Fisher
2:25 Ascot – Ballymoy
2:40 Haydock – Daklondike
3:00 Ascot – Jerrysback
3:15 Haydock – Captain Redbeard
3:35 Ascot – Altior (NAP)
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All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing