The fantastic action just keeps coming on the National Hunt calendar, with the Grade One Clarence House Chase at Ascot the highlight of another brilliant weekend of racing. We’ve taken a look at that race as well as the fiercely competitive Peter Marsh Chase at Haydock.

Defi Du Seuil backed to come out on top again

Only a select five runners remain in the Grade One Clarence House Chase on Saturday, with the market headed by the Tingle Creek 1-2 Defi Du Seuil and Un De Sceaux. The pair battled it out in breathtaking fashion that day and if this contest is anything like that, we could be in for a real treat. The bad weather will certainly suit Un De Sceaux, but despite that the former is surely the one to be with again.

That win at Sandown was the Philip Hobbs-trained runner’s sixth win at Grade One level and based on that success, he seems to be going from strength to strength. Given he had done most of his best work over fences at 2m4f, many saw Hobbs’ decision to drop him back to the minimum distance as a strange one. Those concerns look justified when, on his return to 2m at the Punchestown Festival, he was soundly beaten by Chacun Pour Soi.

However, since then Defi Du Seuil has been at his best with two victories at Cheltenham in the Shloer Chase and in the aforementioned Tingle Creek. He was much more comfortable than the one-and-a-quarter length winning margin suggested when winning at Cheltenham and he showed his battling tendencies to repel Un De Sceaux at Sandown.

Willie Mullins’ charge is incredibly consistent and virtually never runs a bad race and has form in this contest too having won it three times in succession from 2016-2018. However, he’s a 12-year-old now and Defi Du Seuil is a seven-year-old, with plenty of scope for improvement. Back the JP McManus-owned runner to notch up another victory at 5/6 ahead of a tilt at the Champion Chase in March.

Can Definitly Red definitely win the Peter Marsh?

With all the bad weather around, conditions are expected to be very testing up at Haydock, where the Peter Marsh Chase is the highlight on the card. Definitly Red is the highest-rated in the field and if at his best could easily outclass his rivals, even off top-weight. The five-time Grade Two winner is a 11/2 chance as he seeks to go better than when falling in 2017.

The market is headed by Harry Fry’s Acting Lass at 5/1. Acting Lass is lightly raced for his age, but the nine-year-old has shown he has the stamina for this test with recent performances at Chepstow and Ascot.

Sue Smith won the race last year with Wakanda and the trainer is represented by Vintage Clouds this time around at 17/2. Smith will be looking for an incredible fifth success in the race and her 10-year-old looks to have decent claims after a solid third in the Tommy Whittle last month. He’s been dropped two pounds for that and won over course and distance the last time he ran off a mark of 143.

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