A great days racing from Ascot, Haydock and Wincanton and we are in action at both Ascot and Haydock.

Betfred Mobile Lotto Hurdle, Grade 2 Class 1, 2.20 Haydock

Selections:

Trustan Times 2 points to win at Betfair odds or 9/4 generally

Race Analysis:

Kentford Grey Lady is being backed and is probably suited by better ground than this which is what puts me off despite her 11 pounds weight advantage over the selection.  Hada Men is taking a huge step up in class and despite Venetia Williams being in fine form I think it is too big an ask.  He is also on a career high mark after winning a Class 3 narrowly last time out.  Across the Bay is using this as a pre Grand National freshener ad he has generally found one or two too good over hurdles.  Cross Kennon is held by Kentford Grey Lady but he does well both at Haydock and on heavy going.  However the front two in the betting will probably prove to be too strong.  It is unusual for Cleeve to tip favourites but Trustan Times is too big a price here despite the weight difference between him and Kentford Grey Lady.  He has form here and his performance to finish third behind Reve de Sivola and Oscar Whiskey is pretty good.  I expect him to win from the mare in a close finish.

Weatherbys Hamilton Insurance Chase, Listed Class 1, 2.40 Ascot

Selections:

Cappa Bleu 2 points to win at Betfair odds or 11/2 generally

Race Analysis:

Vino Greigo won by a country mile over 3 furlongs less last time out and that was his first chase win in 18 attempts and that results in him being forecast favourite here.  The margin of his victory flattered him as his opposition tired very badly in awful ground.  I never like horses which do not win very often and he is one of those.  Problema Tic and Ashkazar from the in form Pipe stable are both relatively inexperienced and could be anything.  Problema Tic has flopped when tried above Class 2 and fell last time which may have shaken his confidence.  Ashkazar had decent form as a hurdler with really good form at Cheltenham but has run poorly here.  He pulled up in his first and only run this season and I would like to see him run well before trusting him over fences this season.  Brackloon High steps up in class here and although he copes with the going and distance is likely to struggle with the pace set by some of these.  Major Malarkey probably needs to drop a few pounds to be competitive again as he has not won for over two years now.  He also needs a marathon trip to bring out his best as that nullifies his general lack of speed these days.  Cappa Bleu was third in this race last year but doesn’t face as strong a field this time round.  Despite his age he has very few miles on the clock and his excellent jumping can bring him victory here at decent odds consdiering the opposition.

Betfred Grand National Trial, Grade 3 Class 1, 2.55 Haydock

Selections:

Silver By Nature 1 point each way Betfair odds or 22/1 Stan James

Race Analysis:

Rigadin de Beauchene is favourite virtue of him winning a Grade 3 last time out; however he went up 11 pounds for that and that could slow him down here.  His stable is firing and he will probably challenge for this and ultimately place.  Both Teaforthree and Monbeg Dude fought out a great race in the Welsh National with Cleeve’s selection Monbeg Dude winning close home.  Teaforthree is now 3 pounds better off for 1/2 length, but Monbeg Dude is still improving and has the expert hands of Paul Carberry on board again which is a huge plus.  I would expect that both will be involved but also think that this race is too soon after the Welsh National.  Well Refreshed  has won 3 of his last four but has lost his pilot 2 in his last five and as the Haydock fences can be unforgiving and he could find his jumping under pressure.  He also went up 15 pounds for winning convincingly in a Class 3 last time.  Cannington Brook lost for Cleeve when finishing second to Carruthers last time and that was a pretty tough race so he may struggle here despite liking the course.  Silver By Nature reminds me a bit of our selection of Snap Tie at Punchestown after an almost three year break.  I do not think that the stable would risk their star in a race like this after a near two year break unless he was pretty much ready to fire.  The stable are also in great form in the last week and I have gone each way as a safety net in case he is not fully wound up.  Silver By Nature won this race in both 2010 and 2011 and top weights have a decent record in this race so that does not concern me.

Betfair Ascot Chase, Grade 1 Class 1, 3.50 Ascot

Selections:

Cue Card 3 points win at Betfair odds or 11/4 William Hill, Coral or ToteSport

Race Analysis:

Captain Chris will be suited by the small field but the King George was a really tough race and I think he will need longer to recover.  Finian’s Rainbow was an ante post bet for Cleeve when winning the Champion Chase but disappointed first time out this season.  He is the best handicapped horse in the race and if returning to his best can give the selection most to do.  Somersby has a decent Ascot record and was not disgraced behind Sprinter Sacre last time; however is probably better over shorter.  Cue Card seems to be best when running further than  two miles but less than three.  He didn’t settle in the first mile of the King George and faded after going well until the back straight.  If he settles I think he will lead from start to finish and win comfortably.