Last weekend, the Cheltenham November Meeting dominated our screens but there’s no time to rest as the action comes thick and fast at this time of the season with the Betfair Chase taking centre stage.
Alongside that, Punchestown hosts two Grade 1 races with the Morgiana and John Durkan as well as an interesting card at Ascot.
So, without delay, here are the main fancies for Saturday.
12:05 Haydock – Primoz @ 4/1 with William Hill – 1pt Win
Starting with Haydock, the top three are dominating the market for the opening contest of the day, though it’s the outsider of the three, Primoz, that I’m siding with.
The Lucinda Russell-trained five-year-old made all at Ayr under Stephen Mulqueen, yet despite his apparent keenness, he quickened up nicely from the front to win by five lengths.
✨Derby Sale, Consistently The Best✨
— Tattersalls Ireland (@Tattersalls_ie) November 4, 2023
Visually, he looked impressive and on form, he beat I Love My Baie, an eight-and-a-half-length Perth maiden hurdle winner, Florida Dreams, the Grade 2 Mares’ Bumper winner at Aintree, and Indeevar Blue, an exciting horse for Olly Murphy.
It’s a tough race and plenty can improve for their first run of the season, but Primoz has the scope to do the same and he is a well-regarded horse at home.
12:40 Haydock – Real Stone @ 5/2 with BetVictor – 2pt Win
The subsequent race at Haydock is an interesting two-mile handicap chase, and in a day where Dan Skelton could land Grade 1 success with Protektorat, the team have a good chance of starting well with Real Stone.
This improving eight-year-old is riddled with ability and has just 10-11 to lumber around a testing Haydock whereas his nearest market rival, Cheddleton, has 12-2 on his back.
Real Stone already has a chase victory under his belt having won at the third time of asking at Ffos Las, a race that has seen the second, Another Crick, improve six pounds and the third, Mongol Emperor, improve three pounds.
Drama! Real Stone is first past the post for the Skeltons at @FfosLasRC, despite jumping left across runner-up Another Crick two out!
A Stewards' Enquiry to follow… pic.twitter.com/GEPcpy86Q1
— At The Races (@AtTheRaces) January 23, 2023
Although those numbers aren’t staggering, it shows he ran in a good race off a high racing weight of 11-12 on soft ground against two winners-in-waiting.
Speaking of good form, he went to Uttoxeter on his next start and ran into Blackjack Magic, this season’s Badger Beer Handicap Chase winner, over two-and-a-half miles and even had Make Me A Believer back in third, a horse who won nicely on seasonal reappearance earlier this month.
With race fitness on his side thanks to a credible fourth to Djelo and Master Chewy at Aintree in a contest that had omitted fences, he should go well for Dan and Harry Skelton.
2:05 Ascot – Theatre Glory @ 2/1 with BetVictor – 1pt Win
Moving over to Ascot, the Grade 2 Coral Hurdle looks like an open contest this year with Theatre Glory making her seasonal reappearance.
The six-year-old by Fame And Glory progressed nicely last season to score a Listed hurdle at Warwick by 11 lengths before her creditable sixth in the Grade 1 Mares’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
— Racing TV (@RacingTV) February 11, 2023
Following that run, she finished a good third to Knappers Hill in the Grade 2 Select Hurdle at Sandown with Goshen, who reopposes today, in second.
Gary Moore’s loveable seven-year-old gave away nine pounds in weight that day and the same will occur today, though he tends to come on for his first run of the season whereas Theatre Glory can run well when fresh.
With the Nicky Henderson yard in red-hot form – 11 winners from his last 31 runners – now looks like a good time to catch this progressive mare on an important day for Seven Barrows.
2:40 Ascot – Lassue @ 3/1 with William Hill – 1pt Win
Finally, rounding off this week’s Best Of Bets piece is a fancy from Ascot as Lassue looks a standout bet in the three-mile mares’ handicap hurdle.
Fergal O’Brien’s seven-year-old returned to the track after a 629-day break to score at Chepstow last month under Jack Hogan, beating Fortuna Ligna who reopposes today.
Lassue wins after 629 days off the track pic.twitter.com/mi9gSlAu8K
— Fergal O'Brien Racing (@FOBRacing) October 31, 2023
That was a tidy run off such a long break on her first start at three miles, so she is a proven stayer over this trip.
Furthermore, her first outing of the season was her handicap debut off a mark of 110 and with just four extra pounds today, it’s reasonable to say she could still be well-handicapped.
With ground on her side, Lassue is an obvious play and with Fergal O’Brien hoping for success at Haydock in the big handicap of the day, Ravenswell Frarm could be on for a memorable across-the-card double.