2.40pm Haydock Park (Champion Hurdle Trial) – THE NEW ONE
The Grade 1 Sodexo Clarence House Chase at 3pm in Ascot on Saturday will see a battle between two top grade chasers in the shape of Un De Sceaux and SIRE DE GRUGY, but with a little bit of a cloud over Queen Mother Champion Chase favourite Un De Sceaux coming into this, the latter named horse is a more reliable option in Saturday’s feature race.
The Willie Mullins trained Un De Sceaux was due to return to action in the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown Park back in December, but he was reported to be not quite showing enough in his home work to justify the trip over for it, which raises concerns among his fans. He returned to action over Christmas in the Paddy Power Chase, but he never really jumped with his usual zest and ultimately fell under Ruby Walsh. There is no guarantee he’d have won anyway and at odds-on for this, he is worth taking on.
Sire De Grugy bounced back to his best when winning the Tingle Creek in Un De Sceaux’s absence and followed up with a brave effort at Kempton Park when just edged out of it by Sprinter Sacre in a titanic battle up the home straight. Sire De Grugy is a bona fide two mile champion, Un De Sceaux looks to have masses of potential but is yet to flourish in the division and faces his biggest test to date on Saturday. Sire De Grugy won this by eleven lengths in 2014, so he likes Ascot too which is a big help.
Over at Haydock Park, Peace And Co is trading at evens for the Champion Hurdle Trial at 2.40pm, but looks very vulnerable after a lacklustre display on his return to action in the International Hurdle. Melodic Rendezvous is a respected hurdler and a previous winner of this, but the Nigel Twiston-Davies trained THE NEW ONE is the one to be on at the prices.
He posted a highly respectable effort behind Faugheen in the Christmas Hurdle, an effort Peace And Co would have done well to replicate and the eight-year-old can get back on the winning stride, having won this race last season.
2.40pm Haydock Park (Champion Hurdle Trial) – THE NEW ONE, 3pts win 13/8 Betway
3.00pm Ascot (Clarence House Chase) – SIRE DE GRUGY, 2pts win at 5/2 Betway
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