It’s all about one meeting today, and that meeting is Haydock, where quality is stacked sky-high for the Betfair Chase meeting!
Today’s column is a little different. The full focus is on Haydock, and there are links to all of Betting.betfair extensive content covering the card, and I even throw in an opinion or two as well…so let’s get cracking!
This section highlights Haydock market moves in the last 24 hours.
12:10 Might I – 6/5 into 8/11
12:40 Defuture Is Bright 9/2 into 10/3
15:35 Joke Dancer 12/1 into 9/1
The market says LAY!
Which horse is the Betfair Sportsbook market suggesting to Lay at Haydock?
14:25 Riggs – 5/1 OUT 13/2
All the midweek love for Riggs has dried up as punters look elsewhere on Friday.
Mark your card
The Betfair Sportsbook is paying extra places today and has a MONEY BACK special in the 14:25 – see terms here with this how to guide.
The last four winners of the opening 12:10 Betfair Weighed In Podcast Newton Novices’ Hurdle has gone on to be rated 140 plus, and four-year-olds have won six of the last ten.
In the 12:40 Because We’Re Betfair Stayers’ Handicap Chase, trainer Warren Greatrex saddles Bob Mahler 13.012/1 and has a 33% strike rate with horses over fences at Haydock.
The 13:15 Betfair Pays Tribute To Andy Stewart Handicap Hurdle sees Sean Bowen and Harry Fry partner up with Our Surprise 4.57/2. Since 2010 Sean Bowen has ridden 14 winners from 42 rides (33%).
Trainer Paul Nicholls operates at a 35% strike rate over fences at Haydock, which bodes well for his star Bravemansgame 1.84/5, who runs in the 13:50 Double Daily Rewards With Betfair Graduation Chase.
The 14:25 Betfair Exchange Stayers’ Handicap Hurdle looks extremely competitive this year. Trainer David Pipe is looking for a fourth win in the last ten years with Brinkley 15.014/1 and Martinhal 21.020/1.
Trainer Jamie Snowden saddles Stoney Mountain 13.012/1 and has a 40% strike rate over hurdles in the same race.
The 15:00 Betfair Chase sees Waiting Patiently 7.06/1 make his debut for trainer Christian Williams who has a 30% strike rate at Haydock. This is, however, a Grade 1, but he has four good chances on the card.
A Plus Tard 2.47/5 will be Henry De Bromhead’s first runner at Haydock and this is also Rachael Blackmore’s first ride.
In the finale, the 15:35 My Odds Boost On Betfair Handicap Chase, Sandy Thomson runs the well-supported Empire Steel 6.511/2, but the yard is 0-14 over fences here.
Horses for courses
This section highlights horses that have won twice or more at Haydock and those with a 100% record!
12:40 Chef D’Oeuvre – Has won here twice (50%)
13:15 Navajo Pass – Has won here once (100%)
15:00 Bristol De Mai – Has won here three time (75%)
15:00 Royale Pagaille – Has won here twice (100%)
15:35 Joke Dancer – Has won here three times (50%)
Weighted to go well
“Weighted to go well” highlights horses running that are more than 10lbs below their last winning handicap mark.
12:40 Bob Mahler – Has won off 135 runs off 125
This section highlights a trainer, owner or jockey who is in excellent current form and their runners or rides for the day.
Trainer Sue Smith is operating at a 29% strike rate in the last 14 days. She has had four winners from 14 runners and today saddles Silver Eclipse 7.513/2 in the 12:40 and Joke Dancer 9.08/1 in the 15:35.
Trainer Nick Gifford is the furthest traveller today with his runner Didtheyleaveuouttoo 15.014/1 in the 14:25. The trainer has made the 242 mile journey to Haydock.
Race of the day
Today’s feature race could be no other than the 15:00 Betfair Chase, which looks like a cracking renewal. Eight top-class horses will head to post, and Bristol De Mai will look to emulate the incredible Kauto Star by landing this contest for the fourth time.
A slight change to the usual format with a runner by runner comment on today’s big race.
Bristol De Mai is a loveable grey and owes connections nothing after a terrific career, including landing this race three times.
Haydock heavy has been his playground over the years, but he has been disappointing in two runs since his 2020 victory, in which the form can be crabbed a little bit.
However, this is his gold cup, and Nigel Twiston-Davies will have him spot-on for a repeat tilt so underestimate him at your peril.
Irish raider A Plus Tard will cross the Irish Sea in an attempt to steal the crown away from Bristol De Mai. He was last seen finishing second in the Gold Cup at the Cheltenham Festival and is short odds to take care of his British rivals.
He is an improving seven-year-old who is unexposed over three miles and has done little wrong in two starts since fitted with the tongue-tie. He sets the form standard, but he has been beaten on the back of a break on three occasions, and this is the first time he will run over three miles off such an absence.
Doubts linger, but he is the class act that’s firmly on the upgrade.
It’s still unknown what the right trip is for Waiting Patiently, who makes his first start for his new yard and on the balance of his form, he has a bit to find with a few of these.
However, the suspicion is that he has a bigger performance in him, and that could come today from the lightly raced ten-year-old.
Paul Nicholls’ Next Destination chased home the improving Galvin at the Cheltenham Festival when last seen over 3m6f, so stamina won’t be an issue for this former Novice Hurdle Grade 1 winner.
He has it all to do on the ratings, but he is a classy individual who has won two of his three chase starts and now gets the cheek-pieces for the first time – headgear that his trainer has a fine record using for the first time.
Royal Pagaille looked a horse of immense talent in three starts last term, which included two wins at this course, and he recorded the second-highest RPR when winning the Peter Marsh in the last ten years – only bettered 1lb by Bristol De Mai.
It certainly wasn’t the ground that beat him at Cheltenham, but his poor jumping and the return to a flat track could see him to much better effect. Big each-way player if returning to his best.
Imperial Aura was firmly on the upgrade before failing to complete in his last two starts. He returns on the back of a wind operation and has the ability to be mixing it at the business end. Stamina is a doubt.
Chatham Street Lad bolted up in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup before a good fourth in the Marsh Novices’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival but has an in and out profile, and he is not one to trust fully. Up against it.
Clondaw Castle’s second in the Bowl at Aintree would give him an each-way squeak, and the drying ground will play to his strengths, although he needs a significant career best to win this.
Big Race Verdict
Bristol De Mai is respected, and A Plus Tard could take some stopping if fully wound up, but should he falter for fitness it’s ROYAL PAGAILLE could be the one to benefit, and he makes plenty of appeal from an each-way perspective.
Betfair writers verdict – Daryl, Rhys, Kate, Timeform and Chris all take a view
With the Betfair Chase taking centre stage on Saturday at Haydock, our writers have pulled out their best bet for the feature…
Read each of the writers verdict here.
Timeform offer up three of their best at Haydock
The Timeform team offer their NAP, NB and each way shout.
Read Timeform tips here.
No Surprise to see Fry and Bowen on the scoresheet
Earlier on the Haydock card in the 13:15 Betfair Pays Tribute To Andy Stewart Handicap Hurdle, Our Surprise can make amends for his quirks at Wetherby when an unlucky runner-up to a well-treated rival.
It was a remarkable handicap debut performance – not just because he jinked on the run-in to throw the race away – but because of how keen he was for much of the race.
That performance suggested he had a good bit in hand of the handicapper, and if not for his antics inside the final 100 yards, he would have run out an impressive winner.
Connections reach for the hood, which can only be a positive, and his unexposed profile suggests he is one of the best-handicapped horses in the race.
Paul Nicholls – “That form is top drawer”
Check out Paul Nicholls’ thoughts on all his runners at Haydock and Ascot this Saturday.
Read Paul Nicholls’ column here.
Calvin Waiting Patiently to claim the cash at Haydock
Read Tony’s thoughts here.
Blake Flying high at Haydock
Read Kevin Blake’s column here.
What a sensational day of action to look forward to, and it’s only made all the better by working for the fantastic sponsor to be a part of it. Hopefully, today’s column is useful to Saturday punters. You will normally find this column Monday through Friday so let’s hope it helps out one or two people.
Don’t forget – I mean, how could you? It’s excellent – tomorrow’s Cheltenham Festival Focus column will be out.
I am off for a few responsible shandy’s at Ascot today. Enjoy Saturday’s racing until tomorrow, be lucky.
Follow Daryl Carter on Twitter @DarylCarter7