ITV Racing Tips for Ascot, Haydock and Wincanton on Saturday 17th February

ITV Racing Tips

1:50 Ascot

The first race is the Grade 2 Reynoldstown Novices Chase over 3m.

It’s APPLE AWAY (6/4) for me here. She was a Grade 1 winning novice hurdler at Aintree last season and was the best hurdler from this lot. She’s shown enough against the right type of horses in her three Chase starts this season. She has twice finished behind Grey Dawning including when last seen at Warwick. Grey Dawning is arguably the best novice chaser on this side of the Irish shores. Apple Away bolted up in between those two runs at Leicester showing her effectiveness for heavy ground. She gets weight off her rivals and connections will be disappointed if she can’t kick this lot out the way before targeting the Spring festivals.


2:05 Wincanton

We have one race from Wincanton and it is the Grade 2 Kingwell Hurdle over 1m7f.

It’s NEMEAN LION (9/4) for me in this. He brings a strong level of handicap form to this Grade 2 contest including when a fine second in the competitive Lanzarote Hurdle at Kempton last time out where the front two pulled clear. He arguably could have won that race if he jumped a little slicker in the home straight but it was still a solid run off a mark of 140. He’s straight forward and is proven over this type of trip. Goshen and Rubaud are likely to set a decent pace which will suit the selection well. It’s a weak division in the UK and the strong handicap form could be the key to it.


2:25 Ascot

The 2:25 is a handicap hurdle over the extended 2m3f trip.

It’s BAD (7/1) EW for me in this competitive race. He came to France with a big reputation as a juvenile going off 5/1 for the Boodles last season. He ran too keen there and has been slightly disappointing since truth be told. However, he’s ran three solid races in defeat this season finishing in the frame on all three occasions and returning to a softer surface will definitely help based on his French form. The Ben Pauling team are in decent form at the moment and Bad comes here on the back of a wind operation which will hopefully help him see out his races better. He’s definitely got races in him off this current mark of 122. 


2:40 Haydock

The first of two live races from Haydock is the Grade 2 Rendlesham Hurdle over an extended 3 mile trip.

It’s BOTOX HAS (5/2) NB for me. A winner on seasonal return over 3m on soft ground at Wetherby where he beat the re-opposing Red Risk comfortably enough, you’d be disappointed if that form was reversed here. Botox Has has since ran respectfully in two Grade 1’s and was bang there before making a significant mistake 2 out when last seen in the Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham. That was still a decent enough and this is a much weaker race. He’s a course and distance winner and is a worthy favourite in my book.


3:00 Ascot

It’s back to Ascot for a tricky 3m handicap chase.

I think SHAN BLUE (7/1) showed enough last time out at Ascot to suggest he’s got a handicap of this nature in him off a mark of 143. Things haven’t quite gone to plan since he fell in the Charlie Hall Chase in October 2021 when miles clear (still stings). He has struggled since and his first two runs this season were hardly convincing as he pulled up on both occasions. However, that run at Ascot last time out was definitely a step in the right direction and I’m hoping he can kick on and build from that now. He steps back up in trip which looks likely to suit and he’ll do for me in an open race.


3:15 Haydock

The 3:15 from Haydock is the Grand National Trial Handicap Chase over 3m4f. This will be a real slog on Haydock heavy ground.

I do like SNIPE (13/2) NAP in this. This is going to be a real test and the fact Snipe is effectively running off 10 stone with Tristan Durrell’s 3lb claim taken into consideration is a real positive. He bolted up when well fancied at Aintree two starts back over 3m1f on soft ground so I’m hoping he’ll enjoy this type of test. He won going away there and he was a fine second when last seen at Doncaster again doing all his best work late. He could certainly improve for this step up in trip but the weight advantage from all his rivals strikes me as really significant. 


3:36 Ascot

The finale is the feature, the Grade 1 Betfair Ascot Chase over 2m5f.

It is PIC D’ORHY (2/1) for me. This is his Gold Cup and he always seems to be underrated in the market. An easy winner on seasonal return here at Ascot against mediocre opposition, he ran right upto form when a fine second behind the current Ryanair favourite Banbridge last time out at Kempton. He now returns to his favourite track and looks bound to run his race and go close. L’Homme Presse is odds on and the bounce factor makes that price too short. Ahoy Senor is interesting but is obviously inconsistent and I’d prefer to go with the solid horse in the line-up with the best jockey in Harry Cobden in the saddle.

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