We’re hoping for a perfect 10 predictions from this Saturday’s ITV racing tips, with events at Ascot, Haydock, Wincanton and Gowran Park all covered.
There is a mixture of high-class contests and wide-open handicaps to get stuck into and we’ve got expert picks from PA Sport’s Anita Chambers.
1.35 Ascot – TOP VILLE BEN
Philip Kirby will not be travelling down from North Yorkshire for a day out and this seven-year-old has earned a step up in class for the Grade Two Reynoldstown Novices’ Chase by posting wide-margin wins at Hexham and Wetherby.
1.45 Wincanton – BIGMARTRE
Has been given a nice break since disappointing twice before Christmas and can hopefully now rediscover the sparkle of his novice chase campaign, which featured victories at Ludlow, Newbury and Ayr.
1.55 Haydock – SHADES OF MIDNIGHT
Followed up an excellent second to star stayer Paisley Park here in November with a 10-length triumph at Kelso and is clearly on an upward curve, so we’re keen to keep him on side in our ITV racing tips.
2.10 Ascot – CALIPTO
Stayed on well to score at Wincanton a couple of runs back and was then a solid third in a valuable handicap at Doncaster. Should go well again if avoiding any silly early jumping errors.
2.30 Gowran Park – MONALEE
Was a Grade One winner at Leopardstown as a novice over fences last term, before finishing second to current Gold Cup favourite Presenting Percy in the RSA Chase at Cheltenham.
Showed he can also compete at elite level in open company when chasing home the impressive Kemboy over Christmas and may be suited by a small field for the Red Mills Chase.
2.45 Ascot – CLAN DES OBEAUX
Can set the seal on his Cheltenham Gold Cup preparations with a smooth success in the Denman Chase.
He caused a minor surprise when winning the King George at Christmas and that form puts him head and shoulders above his rivals here.
3.00 Wincanton – VISION DES FLOS
Looks the form choice to land the Kingwell Hurdle after chasing home Buveur D’Air at Sandown earlier this month.
3.20 Ascot – GETAWAY TRUMP (nap)
The six-year-old’s class can triumph over experience in this prestigious handicap hurdle – a race in which novices have enjoyed success, with Kalashnikov proving a notable victor from that division only last year.
Getaway Trump certainly brings some decent form to the table, having found only the well-touted Champ too good in the Grade One Challow Hurdle at Newbury last time out.
A clear-cut winner of his two previous starts, Paul Nicholls’ charge was really up against it that day because he was officially 12lb inferior to Champ – so to be beaten just two and a half lengths is a laudable effort.
The handicapper has put him up 4lb for that performance, but a mark of 142 still looks workable.
3.35 Haydock – IMPULSIVE STAR
Broke his duck over fences in fine style last month and can keep up the good work in this Grand National trial.
Neil Mulholland’s charge was winless in five chase outings – although that bare statistic hardly did him justice because he had run some excellent races in defeat, most notably when fourth in the National Hunt Chase at last year’s Festival.
He finally stepped up to the mark in the Classic Chase at Warwick, taking advantage of bottom weight to come home a cosy winner and mark himself as a stayer firmly on the up.
3.55 Ascot – WAITING PATIENTLY
Ruth Jefferson’s charge is fancied to secure back-to-back victories in the Grade One Ascot Chase to finish off a bumper edition of ITV racing tips.
He repelled the challenge of the admirable Cue Card in this two-mile-five-furlong affair last year, claiming his breakthrough win at the highest level in fine style.
However, the eight-year-old did not run again last term after suffering a setback and his long-awaited return in the King George hardly went to plan as he was taken out by Bristol De Mai before the race really began in earnest.
Plenty has to be taken on trust here, but given Waiting Patiently’s only defeat over fences was that luckless run at Kempton, it is far too early to lose faith.
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