We’ve got eight selections from Ascot, Haydock and Taunton for armchair punters to consider in this Saturday’s ITV racing tips.
The Grade One Clarence House Chase is the feature event from the Berkshire track and here are our expert picks for all the races on the box from Anita Chambers.
1.15 Ascot – ROKSANA
Dan Skelton’s charge did not really hit her stride last term, but two runs this season have shown she has not lost her ability – with a comprehensive victory over Next Destination at Wetherby setting her up nicely for the Long Walk at this track last month.
Paisley Park and Thyme Hill proved too good that day, but there was no shame in Roksana’s two-length defeat against the two best staying hurdlers in training.
1.30 Haydock – NADA TO PRADA
A small, but competitive field lines up for this Supreme trial and Michael Scudamore’s lightly-raced six-year-old has the benefit of course experience from when outstaying the well-backed Rayna’s World, who was third in the mares’ novice hurdle at Cheltenham.
1.50 Ascot – KATESON
Tom Lacey’s runners have been doing well of late and this eight-year-old gelding showed a really willing attitude to battle back and score at Aintree last month.
2.10 Taunton – THE MIGHTY DON
Nick Gifford’s gelding has been in good heart this winter, winning at Chepstow before solid efforts at Exeter and Cheltenham. This step up in distance seems a shrewd move and another bold showing is anticipated.
2.40 Haydock – SAM BROWN
Many will be keen to support impressive Kempton winner (and subsequent Gold Cup entry) Royale Pagaille in the Peter Marsh Handicap Chase.
Venetia Williams’ ex-French gelding is up more than a stone for his Christmas romp and carries top-weight here.
That, however, is less of a concern than what appeared to be a tendency to jump low at some fences last time, which around Haydock could just catch him out.
On that basis, he is opposable and Sam Brown, successful on this card 12 months ago, has plenty going for him on ground which will suit ideally.
3.00 Ascot – JONNIESOFA
Rose Dobbin’s long trip down from Northumbria can pay off as this consistent veteran looks sure to strip fitter than when just holding on for victory at Carlisle a month ago following a lengthy absence.
3.15 Haydock – BUVEUR D’AIR
The return of Nicky Henderson’s dual Champion Hurdle winner is of major interest following some encouraging recent reports of his well-being in home work.
The 10-year-old faces only two rivals and, although no foregone conclusion, he should get the job done because he is incredibly well treated in receipt of weight on past ratings after a long absence.
3.35 Ascot – POLITOLOGUE (nap)
This flying grey can cement his position as Britain’s best two-mile chaser with victory in the Clarence House Chase.
Despite the 10-year-old being the reigning champion chaser, his profile does not currently match the likes of Altior, but he nevertheless remains the one to beat in this Grade One feature.
Politologue did not really shine in his first couple of starts last term, finishing behind the reopposing Defi Du Seuil in both the Shloer and Tingle Creek Chases.
However, come the spring, he showed his rivals a clean pair of heels at the Cheltenham Festival.
As Defi Du Seuil failed to fire, Politologue ended a losing run of more than a year, jumping for fun up front and powering up the hill for a nine-and-a-half-length verdict.
Paul Nicholls’ charge then doubled down on his seasonal bow, again making all for an effortless Tingle Creek verdict which has propelled him to his current career-high mark of 169.
Defending champion Defi Du Seuil would clearly be a threat if back on form, while Waiting Patiently also makes some appeal, but preference is for the proven performer.
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