Saturday Haydock previews
Saturday's racing from Haydock is live on BBC One and here at William Hill we strive to give you the best, so we have got Weatherbys exclusive race previews for all the televised races written by Paul Jones.
As the build-up to Cheltenham heats up Saturday's Haydock card includes rides for champion jockey Tony McCoy. Can AP win yet more races in his illustrious career?
Read below for Paul Jones' thoughts.
|1:20 Haydock - Blue Square Champion Hurdle Trial
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|1:55 Haydock - Peter Marsh Chase||View preview||Bet Now|
|2:25 Haydock - Blue Square Novices' Hurdle
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|3:00 Haydock - Blue Square Novices' Chase
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Afsoun and Snap Tie have over a stone in hand of all their rivals so it is hard to believe both will run miles below their form to let something in though Issaquah is clearly a horse very much on the up and Songe is tough and hardy and can make his presence felt.
In fact, given Afsoun may not be the horse of old I can see Charlie Longsdon's Triumph Hurdle fourth giving Snap Tie most to do.
Afsoun bolted up in this race two years ago and was in such rude health he then almost snatched second in the Champion Hurdle on his next start but he has not come close to that since and didn't look a natural over fences at the start of the current and his confidence can hardly have been increased with a fall back over hurdles at Kempton.
The ground is important to Snap Tie and, as I write they are calling it Good on the hurdles course (soft on the chase track) which is absolutely perfect for him and it will be disappointing if he can not enhance his Champion Hurdle claims with conditions to suit and a question mark over his main form rival. Whether we will see odds against is another question.
From the top, I wasn't that impressed with the way Cloudy Lane lost his position down the back straight in the Rowland Meyrick before running on again in the home straight to be a never-dangerous third and it is in the back of mind they would not want to be increasing his weight for his main target of the Grand National which inevitably will go up if he wins here and it is probably asking too much off top weight here in a race where just winner has carried over 11st 1lb in the last decade.
Miko De Beaumont has his ground but is hiding nothing from the handicapper for me and ideally he could do with another half-mile over fences, we'll come back to Dear Villez, Opera Mundi's last three runs have been disastrous, Faasel can't be trusted, Fundamentalist hails from an outrageously out of form yard, D'Argent is too long in the tooth and is effectively having his seasonal debut having fallen at the first fence on his only start this season, Montgermont is interesting though as is Kandjar D'Allier but Glasker Mill has much to prove and Pass Me By is more of a cross country horse these days.
That leaves me with Dear Villez, Montgermont and Kandjar D'Allier as options. The latter goes well at the track and on the ground and was being aimed at the big Warwick handicap two weeks ago that was lost to the elements.
I am sure he will run well but rated 135 now after his last win off 127, he has been well beaten all four times he has raced off around this mark in this past and is not improving at the age of 11 so this looks too competitive for him to go all the way.
Dear Villez is a very deserving favourite on both his Munster National win and fourth in the Hennessy, in fact he has even been dropped 1lb for his Newbury run. That was a decent-enough run at a time when lots of Nicholls' horses were running flat when he was also hampered in running and he is very capable of winning this comfortably so it's all a question of price.
I do have a sneaky feeling for Montgermont though for the unfashionable Caroline Bailey yard who is likely to be overpriced. Favourite for the Hennessy two years ago when trained by Charlie Egerton off a mark of 143, he is now rated just 135 so could be very well handicapped indeed and he has his soft ground to boot.
After a two-year absence after his Hennessy run, he caught the eye at the same track for his new trainer when running on well over an inadequate 2m4f finishing third and then ran third again at Newcastle again over an inadequate 2m4f where his jumping let him down.
Now he is back to 3m on his favoured racing surface, hopefully that half-yard slower gallop over this trip which help his jumping and he very much appeals as the each-way horse of the race if the odds on likely favourite Dear Villez do not float your boat.
Four quality novices in this eight-runner Grade 2 affair but I suspect Alfie Flits is just below top class and I was disappointed with how little Mahonia found at Cheltenham last time so would concentrate on Clay Hollister and Dee Ee Williams.
The latter has the form and is currently the shortest-priced British contender for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and deserves favouritism but I think Clay Hollister could be right out of the top drawer so just prefer him here.
His Sandown victory, albeit beating little, was hugely striking and I loved his enthusiasm and fancy him to get the better of Dee Ee Williams who for me would prefer a stiffer finish.
Entered for the Champion Hurdle he is clearly highly talented but he has had a few runs over hurdles now and is not open to the same improvement levels as Clay Hollister who I hope can improve past him.
Tactics will be crucial here as the likely front three in the market all like to make the running. Massini's Maguire will probably start favourite on his Feltham second where he appeared not to stay 3m so this drop back to 2m4f makes sense.
He is 8lbs clear on ratings but will have to jump better though and I suspect he will over these fences that do not creep up so quickly and are better spaced out in the home straight but he may have trouble dominating as Tartak also likes to the force the pace and has run into two top novices on his last two starts in Gone To Lunch and Calgary Bay and ran bold races behind both and now McCoy takes the ride.
Will Be Done also likes to be up there and has impressed winning his last three chases and should not be underestimated stepping up in grade and I will take him to complete the four-timer though not with any real confidence but feel he is still a tad under-rated.
Naiad Du Misselot's jumping went to pot at Ascot jumping wildly out to his left so going this way will help but he is held by Will De Done going this way round so is not for me but I can see Wind Instrument running well as was most taken by his attitude when beating Nakai at Chepstow over 3m but question whether this drop in trip is what he needs.