There’s nothing like a cheeky flutter on a Friday and the racing today is of a standard that will undoubtedly bring the big boys out to play.
There’s some top action from Haydock Park – the first day of the Betfair Chase meeting – and also from Ascot, where Nicky Henderson usually dominates.
That’s the angle we’re concentrating on this afternoon, with the Seven Barrows handler saddling a couple of horses with fantastic chances of doing the business.
Last season Henderson unleashed subsequent Grade One winner Beat That in the Geotech Soil Stabilisation “National Hunt” Maiden Hurdle (Ascot 1:00) and this race always has a habit of producing a good horse with Many Clouds, who should take a bit of beating in the Hennessy Gold Cup next weekend, winning this contest in 2012 when he was novice hurdler.
This year Henderson is saddling exciting youngster Saint Charles, who is owned by the powerhouse that is JP McManus and is thought of very highly from the Henderson stable staff.
Although Saint Charles, an expensive buy from the pointing field, never really looked like enhancing Henderson´s fine record in the bumper at Ayr he was given his debut at, much better is expected of him on his hurdling debut if the noises out of the Henderson yard are to be believed.
Trading around the 3/1 mark, I’m sure we’ll know early Friday morning whether this horse is expected to dot up at Ascot or not.
If the money comes make sure you follow.
Also on a sparkling card from Berkshire, Sweet Deal looks the banker of the day for Henderson in the final race on the card.
The Canaccord Genuity Handicap Hurdle (Ascot 3:50) has been depleted by the inclusion of the selection, which examples just how much this horse has to offer at this level on his handicap debut.
After getting beat when favourite at Sandown in a novice event in December, Henderson freshened the horse up and he came back roaring with two wins over the summer at Aintree and Uttoxeter.
That win at Uttoxeter was especially impressive and is strong form.
After his win at Aintree a fortnight earlier, beating Hawdyerwheesht and Deadly Sting, who had finished first and second in the earlier maiden hurdle the 4yo showed plenty of class to come through a bit of a battle with the runner up Rolling Maul to get back on terms and stay on strongly to win by 10 lengths.
Anything around even money would be a steal.