As 2021 draws to a close, the final two days of the year offer some interesting, if modest, national hunt racing, with Thursday’s action coming from the meetings at Haydock and Taunton.
The ground at the Merseyside racecourse is forecast to be on the heavy side, conditions which should suit our Horse Racing nap of the day in the 2m 6f novices’ limited handicap chase at 1.00pm. Our second Horse Racing tip from Haydock runs in the extended 3m 4f feature race at 2.05pm, the Last Fling Handicap Chase. While Taunton is the scene of our third and final tip of the day in their finale at 3.30pm, a 3m handicap hurdle.
Tip of the Day – Bushypark – 1.00pm Haydock @ 2/1 with William Hill
With conditions to suit, five-time winning hurdler Bushypark is expected to make it two from two over fences with an all-the-way victory in this novices’ limited handicap chase.
Bushypark – 1.00pm Haydock (NAP)
The Philip Kirby-trained Bushypark was one of the most improved hurdlers in training last season, winning his last five starts over the smaller obstacles and going up a massive 49lb in the ratings.
Testing ground seemed to bring out the best in the Le Fou gelding, conditions which are guaranteed at the Merseyside racecourse. And following the seven-year-old’s impressive debut over fences at Kelso earlier this month, the mount of Thomas Dowson is expected to have his rivals strung-out some way from home if the horse’s usual front-running tactics are once again deployed.
Bushypark’s hurdles form is closely matched with that of Ashtown Boy, Mint Condition and Torn And Frayed. But the main danger to Bushypark may come in the shape of the Venetia Williams-trained Farrants Way, another horse who will relish the heavy conditions on his first start over fences.
The Two Amigos – 2.05pm Haydock (Next Best)
A field of only seven runners for this stamina test which is sure to sort out the men from the boys. This gruelling three mile four and a half furlong contest, run on heavy ground, will hold no fears for the Nicky Martin-trained The Two Amigos who, as the saying goes, stays longer than the mother-in-law.
The nine-year-old, runner-up in last season’s Coral Welsh Grand National, was being prepared for a repeat bid in Chepstow’s Christmas highlight earlier this week, only to be scratched from the race due to an administrative error.
Instead, the mount of 5lb claimer David Prichard was rerouted to Aintree’s Grade 2 Many Clouds Chase earlier this month, only to fall at the 12th fence behind impressive scorer and serious Cheltenham Gold Cup candidate Protektorat.
Normally a reliable jumper, The Two Amigos now runs off a mark some 2lb lower than when beating all bar the well-handicapped Secret Reprieve in the Welsh marathon and can gain some compensation with a victory in Class 2 contest.
Popular veteran Blaklion will not go down without a fight. But it is two horses towards the bottom of the weights, Bobo Mac and Chef D’Oeuvre who are expected to give the selection most to do.
Jersey Wonder – 3.30pm Taunton (Longshot)
The hat-trick-seeking duo of Time To Tinker and Tip Top Cat are obviously strong contenders to take this 3m handicap hurdle. But the pair of in-form performers will find this tougher off their new marks, making the Oliver Sherwood-trained Jersey Wonder the potential each-way value bet of the race.
The mount of Jonathan Burke won races at Fontwell and Exeter earlier this year, the latter off a mark just 3lb lower, and made a good start to the current campaign when finishing sixth in a Pertemps qualifier at Cheltenham in October.
The son of Zoffany was sent off joint favourite for his most recent start at Kempton but failed to show his form, running flat according to his rider. That was a rare below-par effort from the five-year-old who deserves another chance under conditions which look ideal.
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