Author: Will Smith
Published: 09:26 17/01/2015
The big black aeroplane is back, the mighty Sprinter Sacre, and however racing grabs your own particular attention, the return of one of the best chasers of my lifetime has to be the main source of interest today. Let’s hope we see him back to his brilliant best.
The Peter Marsh Chase at Haydock Park features the bet of the day, and that is Sue Smith’s Vintage Star. Second in the race last year from a 4lb higher mark, the handicapper dropped him to this mark as a result of a disappointing run in the Rowland Meyrick Chase at Wetherby on Boxing Day, where he finished behind Corrin Wood, who is perhaps his main danger today.
The ground was too fast for Vintage Star at Wetherby, and he raced far too exuberantly in first time cheekpieces on that occasion. The handicapper’s leniency is pleasing and Vintage Star’s form behind Wychwood’s Brook in the race last year is the most relevant and strongest piece of form in relation to today’s slog through the Haydock mud.
With the defection of Broadway Buffalo this morning, there isn’t another horse in the field that has proved their ability to see out Haydock’s 3m1f in what will be a gruelling test. It is always prudent to forgive a horse one poor run, not that his Wetherby run was all that abysmal anyhow, but what it has done is enhance Vintage Star’s price to the very appealing 10/1 with Ladbrokes.
That is simply too big and he must be backed each-way, and if you are so inclined it might be wise to place a small lay bet on Betfair at shorter odds in-running to cover your stake as he has had a habit of finding one too good – a case of ‘after you’ or simply being beaten by a better horse I am yet to conclude.
I am going to have one other bet today and that is in Ascot’s 1.15, where Philip Hobbs saddles the long-absent Village Vic. I have lost track of how many of Hobbs’ chasers have won their seasonal debuts or reappearing off a long absence – Bold Henry, Ballygarvey, Wishfull Thinking and Menorah are the most memorable.
Village Vic is extremely well handicapped on a mark of 122, and it is interesting he is pitched into a Novices’ Handicap on chasing debut on a big Saturday card.
At 7/2 with BetVictor he must be backed to provide yet another reminder of the outstanding training skills of Philip Hobbs.
Haydock 3.15 – Vintage Star (each-way) – 10/1 (Ladbrokes)
Ascot 1.15 – Village Vic – 7/2 (BetVictor)