Four To Follow: A Poor Turnout

It’s the first domestic Grade One of the season, the Betfair Chase at Haydock, featuring a high-class, yet small, field. It’s a poor turnout for Ascot’s two Grade Two races, which includes the return of a certain Shishkin. The handicap highlight is an intriguing three-mile contest, so let’s get stuck in to this week’s Four To Follow.



Lord of the ‘Dock

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2:20 – “Serial Winners” Stayers’ Handicap Hurdle (Premier H’cap) – Lord Snootie @ 9/1 (Boylesports)

Crambo is a very likeable type, but no favourite has won this race in 13 years. Therefore 11/4 offers no value at all.

Lord Snootie is back in the UK after two runs in Ireland, one credible fifth at Punchestown. Trewlawne beat Lord Snootie at Uttoxeter on his previous British start, and has backed the form with a winning chase debut. The two-pound is lenient and, despite being lightly raced, the ground will be ideal with a three mile point-to-point win coming on similar ground.

Goshhowposh is another that makes some appeal. A good handicap mark of 121 will suit, after four career runs. His run at Exeter saw him win, going away from the field and the step up in trip will suit. He has never finished outside the top four, and can manage a four pound rise to be up there at the finish. 11/1 (William Hill)

Emitom seems to have found a new lease of life after to moving to Alan King. A win first time out for the new stable, and a second on seasonal reappearance, he’s got something in the tank for a nine-year-old.

He was a winner of the Rendlesham Hurdle, back in 2020, over C&D, but fell off the ladder before moving stable. A mark of 127 won’t trouble him and a decent price of 12/1 (General) is one to take.


Man Against Boys

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3:00 – Betfair Chase (Grade One) – Bravemansgame @ 4/5 (William Hill, BetUK)

It seems self-explanatory. If Bravemansgame didn’t feature, it would be a poor Grade One. It’s a poor turnout anyway, but Bravemansgame should outclass the field.

Dan Skelton’s runners aren’t firing first time out, which casts doubt over Protektorat. Royale Pagaille will want it much softer than advertised. It will be interesting to see what Corach Rambler does in Grade One company, and he’s a likeable figure. Best bet for me would be a tricast of Bravemansgame, Corach Rambler and Royale Pagaille.



Smashing Shish, Poor Pic

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1:30 – 1965 Chase (Grade Two) – Shishkin @ 4/6 (General)

1965 was the year that Ascot introduced jump racing to the track. What is a premier racing track/venue should have bulging field sizes. Today 39 runners (pre non-runners) will take part. It’s an incredibly poor turnout, but it’s made up by the return of Shishkin. When people thought he was avoiding a tough trip first time out, I think were wrong. This a perfect race to get his season started, and a déjà vu match with Pic D’orhy too.


The Other Stage

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2:05 – Coral Hurdle (Grade Two) – Theatre Glory @ 11/4 (BetUK)

Nicky Henderson has been particularly bullish about this horse, and I can support him on that view. Goshen is always inconsistent and won a low-class renewal last season. Blueking D’Oroux was a decent winner at Cheltenham in October but was hardly tested. Strong Leader was hugely disappointing in the Welsh Champion Hurdle. And, Sceau Royal has his best races behind him. By process of elimination, Theatre Glory is the pick.

The very best of luck!

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