Perfect good to soft jumping ground at Haydock for the first Grade 1 of the jumps season the Betfair Chase.
The seven-race card begins with a listed Novices’ Hurdle, and I will be disappointed if Might I (12.10) cannot make it two out of two over hurdles having ran out a fluent winner at Newton Abbot last month on heavy ground. His Bumper win at Warwick was gained on soft ground and there is the possibility that he is ground dependent, but he pulled too hard when a beaten market leader in a Newbury listed Bumper.
The runner up at Newton Abbot went one better at Wetherby last weekend and he should have the race run to suit with French import Sorigno and Barichello having gone from the front in the past. It’s Good To Laugh is rated 94 on the level and is considered the main danger to the Harry Fry trained selection. There was 5/4 about on Friday moring but the selection is 10/11 with 10Bet at the time of posting. This is a big ride for conditional Lorcan Murtagh.
Colin Tizzard’s talented conditional Harry Kimber takes 7lbs off the back of Irish raider Rightplacerighttime (2.25) in the 3m handicap hurdle taking his weight down to 9st 9lbs. The each way selection – 5s with William Hill 6 places – finished second to The Bosses Oscar at Thurles last season and a repeat would give him a leading chance given the winner finished second in the Pertemps Final at the Cheltenham Festival.
He has been plying his trade over fences since joining Emmet Mullins in the summer and he appreciated the step back up to 3m when breaking his maiden tag over the larger obstacles last time.
Bristol De Mai is bidding for a fourth successive win in the Betfair Chase, and this is his Gold Cup whereas connections of A Plus Tard are likely to be working back from Cheltenham and a crack at gold having finished with silver behind stablemate Minella Indo back in March.
The Irish raider must go left-handed, and Down Royal was not an option for Henry De Bromhead’s 7-year-old. He is the class act in the field, but at 11/8 he is reluctantly opposed. You get the impression that Paul Nicholls would have started Next Destination off in next weekend’s Ladbrokes Trophy and each way alternative is Imperial Aura (3.00).
The wheels came off the selection last season when he fell at Kempton and was then taken off his feet behind the brilliant Allaho in the Ryanair. He has been given a wind operation ahead of his reappearance and I have always thought there was a big race in his locker.
I remember with great fondness his win in the last novices’ handicap chase at the Festival back in 2020 and, while softer ground would not have gone amiss, he can reward each way support – 10s with William Hill – in a vintage renewal of the race.
Strictlyadancer (3.35) could be called the winner at Cheltenham last weekend from some way out and a 7lbs rise may not prevent him following up if in the same mood in the concluding handicap chase. This is a valuable prize, but it has not attracted many inform horses and the selection receives 23lbs from top-weight Ramses De Teillee. The 13/8 with MansionBet looks about right.
The G2 1965 Chase at Ascot is another fabulous contest. If the wheels came off Imperial Aura last season the same can be said of Defi Du Seuil who has only beaten three horses’ home in his last three starts having looked as if he had the world at his feet. The Philip Hobbs stable were out of sorts last season and connections have given the JP McManus owned 8-y-old a wind operation ahead of his reappearance.
Defi Du Seuil led Lostintranslation (2.05) 2-1 in their novice season, but I think the 9-year-old can make a winning reappearance after his own dip in form last term. The Tizzard stable have been firing in the winners this season and today’s conditions of 2m 5f on decent ground is an ideal starting point for the season.
He travelled best of all when third in the 2020 Gold Cup and that is the true barometer of how good he is. We have two former top-class chasers on a recovery mission. I hope it is Lostintranslation who gets his career back on track. – The 10/3 with Boylesports is about right.
The 2m 3f trip of the Ascot Hurdle is ideal for Buzz (2.40) who was last seen landing the Cesarewitch on the level for Nicky Henderson last month. The selection 6/5 with 10Bet – finished second in the Aintree Hurdle when last seen over jumps and he receives weight from the penalised geldings Goshen and last year’s winner Song For Someone.
The mare Molly Ollys Wishes was visually impressive at Wetherby on her reappearance, but this is a step up in grade and she also carries a 4lbs penalty for that listed success.