Channel 4 Racing Preview and Tips, Sat 17th December 2016

Time to see if we can make some Christmas money before the annual racing shut down and then of course the wonders of Boxing Day at Kempton. Some really good quality racing at both Ascot and Haydock. The ground at both courses is what you would expect for the time of year and there shouldn’t be any excuses on that front. 

1:50     ASCOT  BGC Partners Handicap Chase Cl3 2m2f175y

This is a very strong handicap chase for this time of year. Most have had a run this year so fitness shouldn’t be a problem. Our aim is to find a couple in this race who look as though their handicap mark is well within their grasp and that both track and trip suit. The most attractive starting point is Dusky Lark for Colin Tizzard. At just six years of age he is undoubtedly an improver and his season opener at Kempton was solid form when giving best to a decent horse who had the benefit of a run. Pull The Chord wouldn’t have to improve a lot and is probably capable of doing so but he will need to if he is to take a hand in this race – he could. Ben Pauling’s horses are running really well and Ravens Tower is of interest as he ran Ultragold, the top weight in this race, to three lengths last time out and has a decent pull at the weights. He needs to tidy his jumping up but if he does he will be a big threat. Orbasa, looked very progressive until pulling up at Aintree, it just all happened a bit too quick for him on that flat track, Ascot’s stiff finish and slower ground should help.  It’s the form trainers for us, Tizzard and Pauling

1 unit e/w Ravens Tower

1 unit e/w Dusky Lark


2:25  ASCOT  JLT Long Walk Hurdle (Grade 1) Cl1 3m97y

Old foes from early summer and again at the start of November return to battle in the form of French raider, Alex De Larredya and Ptit Zig. The French horse proved far too strong on the later occasion but it was a different story back in June when the English horse triumphed. They race off levels again and there shouldn’t be much between them. Ballyoptic gave best at Newbury to Unowhatimeanharry and that form might hold true in this contest with Ballyoptic finishing behind the Harry Fry horse again. He is unbeaten over timber since joining Fry and keeps running big figures. The question is will Ballyoptic improve again?   Lil Rockerfeller gave Yanworth a real scare at Ascot and he has to come in to the reckoning if that form is to be believed. He looks to have run to that figure twice recently so it was probably no fluke.  Reve De Sivola is dangerous to write off but he must have had one too many battles now, he will however ensure a solid pace to run at. At his best Un Temps Pour Tout is capable of mixing it with this lot but he doesn’t always find his best. He is very talented and if he wants to he could win.  It’s a wonderful race, the best staying hurdle this year and worthy of a Cheltenham World Hurdle field

2 units win Unowhatimeanharry

1 unit e/w  Lil Rockerfeller


2:40   HAYDOCK    Tommy Whittle Handicap Chase Cl2 2m6f204y

The Tommy Whittle has taken some winning over the years and this year’s winner will be a very worthy one in a strong field. Yala Enki carrying top weight is ready for a battle of this type and his stable are just starting to fire again. Any rain will help his chances. Malcolm Jefferson doesn’t have a big string these days but he is having winners and Trickaway might just be up to a race of this sort after his wins at Kelso and Southwell. He hasn’t been harshly treated by the handicapper. But for a mistake at Aintree Baileys Concerto might have won and this track should suit him better. However bad luck has plagued Evan Williams recently and what we know about luck is it changes and his horses are in very good shape. That leads us to Aerlite Supreme who has put up two good performances and can take this and redress the balance of luck for Williams.

1 unit e/w Aerlite Supreme

1 unit e/w Yala Enki


3:00    ASCOT  Lavazza Jolie Silver Cup Handicap Chase (Listed Race) Cl1

An ultra-competitive chase but with £100,000 up for grabs it’s hardly surprising. There is no doubting Holywell will be better for his runs but he really hasn’t shown anything so far this year. The same can be said of Annacotty who when getting his own way, normally over shorter, is amazingly tough. A lot is expected of Le Mercurey and his recent run against Many Clouds looks a good one in the context of this race. He jumped well and pushed a good horse all the way. If 3 miles proves right for Eduard he has the ability to challenge in this race for Nicky Richards. Irish Saint will be a lot better for his run at Cheltenham and his handicap mark might look very tidy at about 3.15pm. Neil Mullholland is back in form and sending out winners and the admirable and game, The Druids Nephew features in our reckoning with the excellent Tom Scudamore on board. He will stay and jump but will probably need the run. Fletcher’s Flyer for Harry Fry showed this trip to be his minimum with a big win at Punchestown in April, again he might need this. Fourth Act showed that a test is what he wants but he needs to jump better to win at this level. He is however, all heart. If Go Conquer gets this trip he has the form against quality opposition to take a hand and is lurking at the foot of the handicap with the assistance of the champion jockey. That might be a tip in itself.

1 unit e/w Go Conquer

1 unit e/w Le Mercurey


3:15      HAYDOCK   Handicap Hurdle Cl2 2m2f191y

The big improver in this race is Evan Williams gelding, Clyne, who showed when winning on seasonal debut, that he was better than ever and we think he still has something in hand off this mark. If Le Rocher is spot on after his Ascot pipe opener then he might take a lot of beating. Cooking Fat hacked up at Wetherby and was put up 10lbs which seems about right and no one knows what to make of David Pipe’s Great Tempo who could be anything, but being a three year old is he hardy enough to beat his elders? Time will tell.

1 unit e/w Clyne

1 unit e/w Great Tempo.


3:35     ASCOT  Wessex Youth Trust Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) Cl1 1m7f152y CH4

This is a classy handicap hurdle to finish the card, with a field featuring potential Cheltenham County Hurdle contestants. Only one horse less than 7-1 has won this race in the last 10 years. Wolf Of Windlesham is an ideal starting point for analysis. How he gets in off 137 we don’t know. He is a lot better than that and he had a nice tune up on the flat the other day. Willows Saviour also looks well treated for Dan Skelton, if fit and well. Sternrubin must be in the grips of the handicapper but at Ascot, his favourite track, he just keeps finding when in front, as he did last year when dead heating with Jolly’s Cracked It who re-opposes, having not raced since. Rayvin Black could lead them all a merry dance from the front and his run at Wincanton showed he is as good as ever. Waxies Dargle won a big handicap in Ireland and beat our selection on that day but 12lbs for that win seems harsh. The four year old, Who Dares Wins will have to carry a lot of weight to win this but he looks special. There must have been plenty of other places Alan King could have gone with him, of which the same could be said for top weight Hargam who has raced against the best of them for Nicky Henderson. Again a fabulous race, we will take one each end of the weights.

1 unit e/w Who Dares Wins

1 unit e/w Wolf Of Windlesham


Away from Channel 4, a nice race to enjoy from Lingfield…

 2.00 Lingfield Quebec Stakes (Listed Race) (Class 1) 1m2f

Grendisar has been a standing dish at this track and he needed his comeback run to get him right. He will be spot on today. His trainer, Marco Botti’s horses are also in much better form now as well. He has to be respected. Educate likes a strong pace to run at and he has surprised us as to how well he has taken to this surface.  But the horse we like most is Battalion. He absolutely dotted up the other day and whilst not beating horses of this calibre he advertised his well-being. As a jockey in these races you can’t afford to make a mistake as there is no time to correct them in the home straight where balance, momentum and track position are everything but if William Carson has him in the right place his turn of foot is devastating.

2 units e/w Battalion


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