Author: Will Smith
Published: 13:25 14/02/2014
Incessant rain yet again this week, and once more a weekend’s racing hinges on avoiding the worst of it. Both Haydock and Ascot are optimistic of beating the deluge, and there is a good bet to be had in each of the feature races on their cards.
At Ascot, the Betfair Ascot Chase takes centre stage, and Captain Chris bids to go one better than when chasing home Cue Card last year. Philip Hobbs’ chaser is as good as there is going right-handed and copes well with soft ground, despite being a better horse on better ground.
At around the even money mark he makes little appeal, despite holding an outstanding chance. Assuming the eight runners all stand their ground, there is an outstanding each-way bet to be had. It comes in the shape of Sue Smith’s rapidly improving chaser Cloudy Too.
At 10/1 with BetVictor, Coral and William Hill, he is definitely the most likely horse to give Captain Chris a race, and given that he loves testing ground, it wouldn’t surprise were he to upset the favourite.
Doubts abound about all the other runners – Riverside Theatre, Medermit, Hunt Ball and Rolling Aces would all probably prefer better ground. And certainly none of them possess the progressive profile coupled with the love for heavy going that Cloudy Too does.
Over at Haydock, the Grand National Trial looks fiercely competitive as ever, and I am going to give one last chance to old friend Merry King, who despite finding it hard to win, has shaped as if there is a good race in him when faced with a real test of stamina.
Jonjo O’Neill’s consistent stayer has never run a bad race at Haydock and with AP McCoy taking over for the first time this season, at 8/1 he has to be an each-way bet. While coupling him in an each-way double with Cloudy Too looks wise, as they are 8/1 to both be placed, and I can’t have either finishing out of the frame.
Ascot 3.50 Cloudy Too (each-way) – 10/1 (William Hill)
Haydock 2.55 Merry King (each-way) – 8/1 (William Hill)
Each-way double (William Hill)