Peter Marsh Handicap Chase Racing Tips (Grade2) 3m1 1/2f Haydock Saturday

First run in 1981, the first nine runnings saw an amazing four of the winners (Little Owl 1981, Bregawn (main picture) 1983, The Thinker 1987 and Jodami 1993) going on to victory in The same years Cheltenham Gold Cup, (the race was abandoned in 1984 1988 and 1991). However those were the days of the northern powerhouse in National Hunt Racing, when legends like Peter Easterby, Michael Dickinson, Arthur Stephenson and Peter Beaumont had the talent, and just as important, the ammunition, not only to compete with their powerful southern counterparts, but beat them at the highest level. Alas that golden age is long gone, and with the loss of prestige that Saturday’s contest has suffered over the years, it has become a race in which the older more experienced handicapper has come to dominate. With the exception of last year’s 4/1 winner, the 6yo Bristol De Mai (Oddsguru’s selection), no animal younger than eight has passed the post in front since Peter Easterby’s 7yo Scotton Banks in 1996, and indeed, with the exception of last year’s winner, the younger brigade are zero from thirteen in the last decade. Another very solid statistic has been the number of winners who had previous form over the track. Twelve of the last nineteen winners boasted winning form, either over fences or hurdles at the track, and indeed seven of the last ten winners had either won or been second at the venue.

One that certainly fits the trends is the Philip Hobbs trained 8yo Rock The Kasbah. A winner over hurdles on his only course appearance (2m3f soft November 2015) he made the ideal start to this year’s campaign winning a Class 2 Chepstow Handicap in October following a five and a half month break off a mark of 142. He was taken out of The Welsh National due to the very heavy ground, but it is also worth noting that the yard had been going through a very untypical, lean spell at the time. With the stable going much better now, and as he clearly goes well after a break, he could just be one of the freshest in the field, and doesn’t look too badly treated on a mark of 149.

2016 Peter Marsh oddsguru preview.

The Stuart Coltherd trained 9yo, Captain Redbeard boasts a record of two wins and a second from his three course appearances. He won last time out, here at Haydock, (2m7fHeavy) four weeks ago by six lengths from Catamaran Du Seuil off a mark of 135 and has been raised a quite severe looking nine pounds, but in his favour he will be partnered by his usual rider, the five pounds claiming Sam Coltherd, who knows the horse so well.

The James Moffat trained 12yo, Highland lodge is well into the veteran stage but has only raced twenty four times under rules and showed last time out there was still plenty of life in the “old dog” yet. He put in a great round of jumping, finishing third of fifteen to Blaklion on heavy ground over the Grand National fences six weeks ago. He did finish 14L behind the winner but was still in contention at the last so off the same mark on ground that he will relish with a nice racing weight of 10-9 it wouldn’t be the greatest surprise to see him involved at the business end on Saturday.

Being only a 7yo and with no course experience you have to say that the stats do not speak in favour of the Nigel Twiston-Davies trained Tintern Theatre (pictured above) but it is worth remembering that his brilliant trainer has already defied the age statistic twice, winning with the 6yo Bristol De Mai last year, and with the 7yo Earth Summit in 1995. Tintern Theatre has met with mixed fortunes in his five efforts over the larger obstacles to date, falling once, and unseating once, but his other three efforts were quite promising, particularly last time when winning a competitive heat at Kempton off a mark of 134 with some authority. He has only been raised 4lbs for Saturday giving him a nice racing weight of 10-9 so if he copes with the conditions, the prize could be going back to Naunton for a third time.

David Pipe won this in 2010 with the 12yo Our Vic and is represented at the weekend by the talented 9yo Vieux Lion Rouge. He is two from three over the course and the last time he appeared at the Merseyside venue he took the notable scalp of Blaklion, and races on Saturday off a mark only four pounds higher. He hasn’t set the world alight with his two runs this term but as a double Class1 and Graded winner who thrives in testing conditions, has to be worth a second look.

The Venetia Williams (pictured) trained 8yo, Yala Enki won a Class2 Kelso Handicap over 3m2f in bog like conditions off a mark of 146 and races on Saturday off a mere 1lb higher. His three subsequent appearances haven’t been exactly promising, but he hasn’t had his conditions so with testing going a certainty, this previous course winner may be in for another payday.

Selection : Yala Enki

E.W. : Vieux Lion Rouge

John Gray

Sandown Gold Cup Handicap Chase Tips

Sandown Gold Cup Handicap Chase Tips

bet365 Gold Cup Handicap Chase 3m5f Sandown Saturday – First run as the Whitbread Gold Cup in 1957, it was the first commercial sponsorship in British sport, and in its early years, the classier animal at the top end of the handicap tended to dominate. It’s first two decades saw five Cheltenham Gold Cup winners come home in front, but in the subsequent fourty years, Desert Orchid in 1988, has been the single winner of Cheltenham’s Blue Riband, to figure on the role of honour. Indeed it has become a contest where the lighter weights have had the better of the argument, with twenty three of the twenty eight winners since “Dessie’s” victory, carrying less than eleven stone. Experience counts for plenty with eight of the last ten winners having had a minimum of ten outings over the larger obstacles, and significantly all ten had a previous run within eight weeks of their victory. A win going right handed, and success over at least three miles, have also proved essential. Paul Nicholls with three wins holds the training honours with Henderson and Hobbs sharing the runner up spot with two each.

The latter’s sole representative, Rock The Kasbah, racing off a mark 8lbs lower than his rating over hurdles, (150) looks interesting. The 7yo has won going right handed, winning a Grade3 Hurdle at Ascot, and won a Chepstow 3m Chase on soft ground in February. He looked a bit one paced finishing second over three miles at Uttoxeter last time and could be suited by the step up in trip. Worth considering!

The 2016 winning trainer, Neil Mulholland is triple handed. He runs last year’s short head victor, The Young Master, fifth placed, The Druids Nephew, and the recent easy Cheltenham winner, Doing Fine. The first named races off the same mark but with 11-5, (including Walley-Cohen’s 3lbs claim) has 7lbs more to carry than last year and has been disappointing in his three races this term. The same can be said of The Druids Nephew, but with a 10lbs lower mark than last April, and with Noel Fehily riding, he is not so easy to dismiss. He was slightly hampered at the 19th in last year’s contest, so did well to finish 5th, 7L behind the winner, and I suppose 7th of 23 runners (although beaten 29L) at the Cheltenham Festival last time, doesn’t read too badly. However, Mulholland’s third contender, Doing Fine, with the featherweight of 10-03 in the plate looks to have the best chance of the trio. He had been a promising young horse for Rebecca Curtis, winning twice, and on one occasion, gave the useful Cogry, a run for his money over 26f at tricky Warwick in February 2015, before losing his way. The move to The Mulholland yard has proved a success. He went down by a neck, over Saturday’s course and distance, to the useful Rocky Creek in December, followed by a good second at Wincanton, and last time he got back to the winners’ enclosure, with that impressive win at Cheltenham over 28f, ten days ago. He will enjoy the good ground at the weekend, has won going righthanded and with his light weight will think he’s running loose.

Paul Nicholls, who after his Scottish National win last week, must be still entertaining hopes of retaining his Trainers’ title, also runs three. However with 11-12 and 11-9 to carry both Southfield Theatre and last year’s short head runner up Just A Par have a very difficult task indeed, so perhaps the Novice, Present Man (pictured top), represents the best chance of keeping the Master of Ditcheat in the title race. A winner of four of his eight chases, including a Doncaster 3m Grade2, he won at Ascot 27 days ago over an inadequate 21f, and as a son of Presenting, out of a Strong Gale mare, Saturday’s test over eight furlongs further, on good ground, might prove right up his street. With Jack Sherwood taking 3lbs off he will have a nice racing weight of 10-13, and looks to have plenty to recommend him.

Considering he is a double Grade2 winner over hurdles, and a winner at the same level over fences, Nicky Henderson’s 8yo Vyta Du Roc, looks very well treated on a mark of 137 which puts him in Saturday’s race with 10-11 on his back.

Horse Racing - Tingle Creek Christmas Festival - Sandown Park Racecourse

Vyta Du Roc looks well handicapped for Saturday’s big one.

He has disappointed in his last two races, (lost a shoe last time) but did run a decent race in the Hennessy Gold Cup when finishing 6th, nine lengths off the winner Native River off a mark of 143. Having avoided the Cheltenham and Aintree festivals he will strip a much fresher animal than many and is worth considering.

Paddy Brennan who usually partners Theatre Guide has jumped ship to take the ride on Fergal O’Briens Viva Steve. The 9yo looked good when winning at Ayr in November following a six-month break, but disappointed in his next two races. Perhaps he is best caught fresh, and following a nice nine week holiday, might prove the surprise package.

Selection: Doing Fine

E.W.         : Present Man

Racing Tips BetBright Grimthorpe Handicap Chase

BetBright Grimthorpe Handicap Chase 3m2f Doncaster Saturday
– It was very disappointing that connections chose not to run our selection, Tea For Two in last week’s BetBright Chase. With so much in his favour he looked a very attractive bet at the 6/1 available at the time of writing, and I’m sure attracted plenty of ante post money. While connections have every right to campaign their horse as they see fit, a little consideration for the small punter, who after all keeps the “ship” afloat wouldn’t come amiss. Our E.W. suggestion, Irish Saint ran poorly and one can only conclude that three miles is beyond him. However upwards and onwards, with the sincere hope that we don’t see another well backed animal a late withdrawal from Saturday’s Grimthorpe Chase.

With two wins on the scoreboard, Kim Bailey has been the most successful handler, and he is represented again by last years winner, The Last Samurai. The 9yo was most impressive, taking it up three fences out and going clear from the last for a facile 10L win off a mark of 149. He went on to finish a marvellous second to Rule The World in the Grand National off the same mark, and showed that he was still progressing when finishing a Shd and 1L behind Vieux Lion Rouge and Highland Lodge in the Betfred Beecher Chase off a mark of 159 thirteen weeks ago. He was giving the winner a hefty 17lbs that day, and as David Pipe’s 8yo went on to take the Grade3 Grand National Trial at Haydock from Blaklion off a mark of 146, Kim Baileys horse doesn’t seem too badly treated off a mark of 161. Obviously connections will have one eye on Aintree, but it won’t come as a great surprise to see this super game animal, despite carrying 6lbs more than last year, in contention yet again.

A Doncaster winner in December 2015, the Alan King trained Sego Success, put up another decent performance over the course (3m) when finishing a staying on fourth behind No Duffer in December. Stable companion and course specialist, Ziga Boy in receipt of 4lbs, was 5L ahead of him in third place that day, and as he went on to win his next race, a Class1 handicap by 3 1/2L off a mark of 137, Sego Success looks nicely handicapped on a mark of 138, giving him a nice racing weight of 10st3lbs. He has to be forgiven a poor effort over 29f in the Warwickshire mud last time but, Alan Kings 9yo does seem to like Doncaster, and goes there with sound prospects on Saturday.

The Venetia Williams trained 7yo Yala Enki (pictured above) is trying the trip (26f) for the first time, but did look a stayer in the making, when winning over 23f, by 8L in the Haydock mud in December, from Vieux Lille, off a mark of 139. His pedigree, by the top class jumper, Nickname, out of a Cadoudal mare certainly shouts stamina, so is likely to find Saturday’s trip right up his street, and with plenty of rain about could find conditions ideal on only his third start over fences for Venetia.

Paul Nicholls has drawn a blank since winning this in 2000 but has two solid looking entries at the time of writing, the 7yo Present Man, and 8yo Vivaldi Collonges.


Vivaldi Collonges could go well if he gets a run says the Oddsguru.

The younger of the pair will have the benefit of Jack Sherwood’s 3lbs claim, and as a comfortable winner of a Grade2 Chase (3m good) over the course, despite jumping right, has to be considered. However he disappointed at Kempton last time, and being by Presenting out of a Strong Gale mare, is always going to be better suited by decent ground. The year older, Vivaldi Collonges won a 24 1/2f Ayr Handicap last April very easily by 5L and 21L from Kilbree Thief and One For Arthur off a mark of 143. His two runs this term have been disappointing but as a result he has been dropped to a mark of 148, and on that run in April, looks well handicapped. Spring is his time of year, so with a nice racing weight of 10st13lbs is definitely worth considering. A caveat would be that he also has an entry in the 4 o’c at Kelso on Saturday, a course he has won over in the past.

Having his first run for eight months, the Nicky Richards trained 8yo, Looking Well, ran a race full of promise, to finish second to Ziga Boy, albeit beaten 3 1/2L, in a Class1 handicap here at Doncaster five weeks ago, (3m). He runs off a mark only 5lbs higher on Saturday, (137) and with the extra 2f very much in his favour is worth a second look.

Selection : Yala Enki

E.W.          : Vivaldi Collonges (if abs. Sego Success)