ITV Racing Saturday Preview - Ascot, Haydock & Punchestown - 25/11/23

Haydock - November 25 2023
Haydock 13:15
7
Daryl Jacob

Carnfunnock

J: Daryl Jacob
T: S R B Crawford
N/A
Age: 6
Weight: 11-3
OR: 128
Days: 213

A highly competitive handicap hurdle, but it's hard to ignore the chances of Carnfunnock as he enters open company for the first time in this handicap.

A decent novice last season who won twice over timber, his best effort came when scooping a decent handicap hurdle event at Naas in a close finish off a mark of 116.

Upped in the weights for that victory he then ran well in a listed event over 3 miles but the trip looked to test his stamina too much. Dropped back in trip for his reapperance here, a mark of 128 looks more than workable and he should be able to have a say.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
16/02/24KEL16Sft11-86
17/12/23NAV20Sft10-135
25/11/23HAY19GS11-33
26/04/23PER24GS11-23
12/03/23NAA19Sft10-21
Haydock - November 25 2023
Haydock 13:50
3
Harry Skelton

Grey Dawning

J: Harry Skelton
T: Dan Skelton
N/A
Age: 6
Weight: 11-0
OR: 137
Days: 15

This has broken up into a really tricky little puzzle to unpick but the Skelton's look to have the key piece in the shape of Grey Dawning.

An impressive novice hurdle campaign saw the striking grey score a novice hurdle before taking on his elders in a handicap at Kempton and winning with a fair bit in hand. Sent up in grade for the Leamington Hurdle at Warwick for his next outing he scored in fine fashion in the mud.

Upped in trip to 3 miles off the back of that success he just fell at Aintree on his final start before debuting over fences last time out. The 3 mile trip looked to have just tested his staying abilities too much and he should shape better here over shorter with chasing experience in the bag.

Galliard Du Mesnil will likely find this too sharp a test, Apple Away might need the run and hasn't jumped a fence in public yet so this seems the likeliest winner.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
13/01/24WAR24Sft11-71
15/12/23CHL20.5Sft11-122
25/11/23HAY21.5Sft11-01
10/11/23EXE24.5GS11-23
14/04/23AIN24.5Sft11-8F
Haydock - November 25 2023
Haydock 14:20
7
Mr Ben Sutton

Santos Blue

J: Mr Ben Sutton
T: Dan Skelton
N/A
Age: 6
Weight: 11-0
OR: 129
Days: 27

Santos Blue looks over-priced in comparison to warm favourite Crambo here despite chasing that rival home in a decent 2nd last time out.

The Skelton charge knocked up an impressive hat-trick last season over hurdles including in an open company handicap despite being a novice and ran well in a 3 mile event around Cheltenham on his last start of the season in April.

Reappearing for this campaign over 2.5 miles, he failed to live with the runaway Crambo but handily fended off the rest to be a staying on 2nd. Moving back up in trip to 3 miles will suit further and he remains off the same mark of 129. Can get even closer now with a prep-run under his belt.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
13/01/24WET19.5Sft10-121
26/12/23WET21.5Sft11-62
25/11/23HAY24.5GS10-77
29/10/23AIN20GS10-122
19/04/23CHL24Gd10-63
Haydock - November 25 2023
Haydock 15:00
1
Daryl Jacob

Bravemansgame

J: Daryl Jacob
T: Paul Nicholls
N/A
Age: 8
Weight: 11-10
OR: 172
Days: 21

The collective racing world held it's breath when Bravemansgame clattered the last flight in the Charlie Hall when still travelling on the bridle and eventually succumbed to Gentlemansgame on the run in.

He's on somewhat of a rival mission here and it's worth bearing in mind he hasn't won a race since the King George last Christmas. He faces defending Betfair Chase crown holder Protektorat but judged on their meeting in the Gold Cup, Bravemansgame looks to have his number.

Baring incident, he's simply the best in the field and should put these to bed before heading off to Kempton for his King George defence.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
26/12/23KEM24Gd11-102
25/11/23HAY25.5Sft11-102
04/11/23WET24Sft11-82
26/04/23PUN24Y11-103
17/03/23CHL26.5Sft11-102
Haydock - November 25 2023
Haydock 15:35
1
Jack Tudor

Sidi Ismael

J: Jack Tudor
T: David Pipe
N/A
Age: 9
Weight: 12-0
OR: 135
Days: 230

A very smart staying mare, although she only won once last season, Sidi Ismeal ran well in defeat multiple times especially over marathon trips.

It is important to note however that David Pipe's mare has won on her first outing of the season in the last two campaigns and will arrive here fresh and off the back of wind surgery.

She is up to a high looking mark of 135, but a serious stamina test like this is right up her ally and she seems to be at her best off the back of a break. If fully wound up she'll still be going when others are crying enough.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
23/02/24EXE30.5Hy11-7F
07/01/24PLU28.5Sft11-95
21/12/23EXE24.5Sft12-2PU
09/12/23AIN26Hy10-2UR
25/11/23HAY25.5Sft12-010
Ascot - November 25 2023
Ascot 13:30
2
Nico de Boinville

Shishkin

J: Nico de Boinville
T: Nicky Henderson
N/A
Age: 9
Weight: 11-10
OR: 173
Days: 226

It's near impossible not to be siding with Shishkin in this race after his demolition in the Ascot Chase last season that saw him put away Pic D'orhy by 16 lengths.

Going up in trip has unlocked yet more improvement in the 2020 Supreme and 2021 Arkle winner after a disappointing show in last year's Tingle Creek.

Tackling a longer trip for the first time at this venue last February he roared back to form and it's hard to not see him repeating the feat against these rivals. A likely winning stepping stone towards the King George next month.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
10/02/24NBY23.5Hy11-81
26/12/23KEM24Gd11-10UR
25/11/23ASC21Gd11-10RR
13/04/23AIN25GS11-101
16/03/23CHL20.5Sft11-102
Ascot - November 25 2023
Ascot 14:05
1
Niall Houlihan

Goshen

J: Niall Houlihan
T: Gary Moore
N/A
Age: 7
Weight: 11-6
OR: 154
Days: 210

Last year's winner lines up again for the Coral Hurdle and undoubtedly everyone will be watching nervously as Goshen looks to go back to back in this race.

Incredibly impressive when having a resurgence to his old self in this contest 12 months ago, he didn't quite hit the same heights again until going close behind the talented Knappers Hill at Sandown at the end of the season.

Nicely fit from a spin on the flat last month, he should be fully tuned up and ready to win this again.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
23/12/23ASC24.5Gd11-79
09/12/23SAN16Hy11-104
25/11/23ASC19.5Gd11-64
14/10/23NMK18Sft8-926
29/04/23SAN21.5Sft11-102
Ascot - November 25 2023
Ascot 15:15
6
David Noonan

Saint Segal

J: David Noonan
T: Jane Williams
N/A
Age: 5
Weight: 10-9
OR: 136
Days: 21

Jane Williams' young chaser looked to be a decent prospect over fences last season winning twice over the bigger obstacles in novice company before finding open handicap company too hot to handle despite being sent off a warm favourite for both outings.

Dropped the the ratings for those below average runs, he returned to some better form when returning to action this season behind Boothill in the Grade 3 contest here three weeks ago, running on into 3rd.

With a prep-run under his belt and another drop in the weights he can get closer to Boothill who's lugging 12st on his back.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
24/02/24CHP16Hy12-03
03/02/24SAN15.5Gd11-9UR
21/01/24LIN16Sft10-92
25/11/23ASC17Gd10-9F
04/11/23ASC17Sft10-73
Punchestown - November 25 2023
Punchestown 14:35
3
Paul Townend

State Man

J: Paul Townend
T: W P Mullins
N/A
Age: 6
Weight: 11-12
OR: 166
Days: 211

The top 2 mile hurdler over in Ireland State Man hoovered up the minimum distance Grade One's over hurdles last season, including dethroning Honeysuckle from the Irish Champion Hurdle throne.

All in lead up to his clash with Constitution Hill in the Champion Hurdle, he couldn't live with the Henderson stable-star and could only fill the 2nd spot.

With nothing of Constitution Hill's talent lurking in this, he's likely to notch up back to back wins in the Morgiana Hurdle.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
04/02/24LEO16Sft11-121
29/12/23LEO16Sft/Hy11-121
25/11/23PUN16.5Sft11-121
28/04/23PUN16Y11-121
14/03/23CHL16.5Sft11-102