Altior is missing from the feature race line-up for the second week running, but Ascot’s Clarence House Chase (3.35pm) has still attracted box-office names in Defi Du Seuil and international raider Un De Sceaux.

The former is a worthy odds-on favourite having scooped the Shloer Chase and Tingle Creek Chase on his two starts this season, but, at the odds, preference is for Carlow conjuror Willie Mullins’s Un De Sceaux (11/8) who can reverse his neck defeat by ‘Defi’ last month at Sandown.

There won’t be a dry eye in the house if the selection does prevail as he won this contest by five lengths in both 2016 and 2017, the second of those renewals being held at Cheltenham, and seven lengths the following year.

Now some pundits will argue that he’s over the hill at 12-years-old against the ‘young pretender’, who is Paddy’s second favourite for the Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, but his four-length success in the Punchestown Champion Chase last April and his brave effort against Defi last time would counter that opinion.

A bigger price than the other market principal makes him highly attractive, especially at a venue where he’s two from two.

Further North Haydock’s Peter Marsh Chase (2.40pm) provides the 10 protagonists an opportunity to exhibit their Grand National credentials and another course specialist Sue Smith’s Vintage Clouds (13/2) can do the business.

This fellow was admittedly beaten 20 lengths last time over course and distance in the Tommy Whittle Chase in December, although he was staying on at the finish and it was a much-improved performance on when he was pulled up before the 8th fence in Aintree’s Becher Chase before that.

READ  Tranmere Rovers 1-1 Bury: Shakers promoted after draw

Crucially he has been dropped a couple of pounds by the handicapper here and while that might not sound a lot, it’s taken him a long time to get back to this same mark that his last victory came off here, over the same trip, a couple of years’ ago.

His best performance since then was when he found just Beware The Bear too powerful in last season’s Ultima Handicap Chase at Cheltenham when racing off just a pound higher and a repeat of that will see him go mighty close.

Whether he’s a National horse is debatable as he fell at the first obstacle in April and has failed to finish in three of four outings in Liverpool, although saying that he did win a novices’ handicap there in 2017, but he adores Haydock winning here twice and being placed seven times in 10 attempts.

Duffel coat-wearing trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies’s Ballyandy was third in last term’s Coral Cup at Cheltenham and has done well for connections since taking the step out of handicaps into graded company on his last three outings, twice finishing in the frame and running fourth.

The Gloucestershire handler would love to win Haydock’s The New One Unibet Hurdle (3.15pm), named after his former stable star, and Ballyandy (4/1) will absolutely adore the heavy ground.





READ SOURCE

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here