Saturday ITV Racing Taunton, Haydock and Ascot Preview

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Ascot - January 23 2021
Ascot 13:15
2
Harry Skelton

Roksana

J:
 
Harry Skelton
T:
 
Dan Skelton
Age: 9
Weight: 11-6
OR: 153
Days: 35

The Grade Two Mares' Hurdle at Ascot on Saturday sees a small but decent field head to post and Roksana for the inform Skelton team will take some serious beating.

Having been a shock winner of the Grade One Mares Hurdle in 2019 she has since placed in some nice events at Aintree and Cheltenham.

She went back to defend her crown at Cheltenham in March and could only finish fourth behind some star mares, but that form has since been franked.

Roksana made a credible seasonal debut for the yard when winning the Grade Two bet365 Hurdle at Wetherby in October and backed that up last time out with another big run.

She headed into the Grade One Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot over three miles and finished a smart third behind Paisley Park and Thyme Hill.

That event looks the strongest form heading into the race and if performing that standard should see off this field.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
23/01/21ASC23.5Sft11-61
19/12/20ASC24.5Hy11-03
31/10/20WET24Sft10-71
10/03/20CHL20Sft11-54
01/01/20CHL20.5Sft10-132
Haydock - January 23 2021
Haydock 13:30
1
Nico de Boinville

Llandinabo Lad

J:
 
Nico de Boinville
T:
 
Tom Symonds
Age: 6
Weight: 11-9
OR: 141
Days: 36

Another Grade Two event follows on ITV and this time it sees the Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle Trial over two miles and this race in the past has been won by some smart horses.

Our selection is the Tom Symonds trained Llandinabo Lad who will handle the heavy ground and on form looks the pick of the bunch and should be good enough to give away weight to the field.

The six year old this term has been in fine form beating market rival Minella Drama on seasonal debut by close to six lengths and then next time out backed that up with another good win over course and distance at Haydock in a Listed event.

He was given a penalty for that run and nearly defied it in the Supreme Trial at Ascot last time out, when narrowly bet into second by the smart My Drogo for Dan Skelton.

The gelding offers the leading form in the line up and although having a penalty looks the one to beat.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
23/01/21HAY15.5Hy11-95
18/12/20ASC15.5Sft11-52
21/11/20HAY15.5Sft11-01
27/10/20BAN16.5Sft10-71
30/11/19BAN16.5Hy10-72
Ascot - January 23 2021
Ascot 13:50
9
Harry Cobden

Danny Kirwan

J:
 
Harry Cobden
T:
 
Paul Nicholls
Age: 8
Weight: 10-12
OR: 133
Days: 42

The Grade Three Handicap Hurdle over 2m3f looks a competitive event on the face of it and the hors that looks weighted to strike is Danny Kirwan for Paul Nicholls.

The eight year old is very lightly raced for his age suffering with some injury niggles, but this term has been in sound form and dropping in class from his last run into this race can see him make a bold showing.

He made his debut in October at Aintree having been off since February and finished a good third, blowing away the cobwebs.

He used that run to then get off the mark for the season in a Maiden over course and distance at Ascot beating some nice types.

The son of Scorpion gave a poor showing last time out when stepped up to Grade Two company at Cheltenham and he was also up to three miles that day.

Dropping back in class and trip are all positives for this horses and looks to have a solid shout.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
12/12/20CHL24Sft10-126
20/11/20ASC19.5Sft11-01
25/10/20AIN20Sft11-03
21/02/20EXE18.5Hy11-06
21/12/18ASC15.5Sft11-02
Taunton - January 23 2021
Taunton 14:10
7
Bryony Frost

Yala Enki

J:
 
Bryony Frost
T:
 
Paul Nicholls
Age: 11
Weight: 11-0
OR: 161
Days: 14

The only race on ITV from Taunton on Saturday is the 3m4f Portman Chase and we are siding with last year's winner Yala Enki.

The 11 year old gelding is one of the most proven stayers around, constantly putting in smart performances over the marathon trips and no one in this field of runners looks good enough to serve it up to him.

He won this event last year off the back of finishing third in the Welsh National and again this term he heads into the meeting having finished in the same place in this seasons renewal at Chepstow.

Even at the grand old age of 11 he is still enthusiastic for the game and being steered by Bryony Frost who thrives in these events makes him a worthy favourite and the one to beat.

Haydock - January 23 2021
Haydock 14:40
2
Ben Godfrey

Sam Brown

J:
 
Ben Godfrey
T:
 
Anthony Honeyball
Age: 9
Weight: 11-6
OR: 152
Days: 83

Next up is the Grade Two Peter Marsh Handicap Chase over a staying trip and it sees a field of proven stayers take to post.

For a race like this you need a horse that can handle a slog in heavy ground and the Anthony Honeyball trained Sam Brown fits that criteria.

The nine year old will be getting 9lb off the favourite Royal Pagaille, with handy 5lb claimer Ben Godfrey helping to take some weight off.

The gelding has only been seen once this season and it came at Carlisle over 2m4f and he finished a good third behind leading Ryanair Chase contender Imperial Aura.

Sam Brown loves racing around Haydock, winning a Novices' Chase at this meeting last term and with the favourite given a 16lb hike for his last win and unproven in heavy, our selection looks the value in the race at 4/1.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
01/11/20CRL20Hy11-83
15/02/20ASC24Sft11-5P
18/01/20HAY20Hy11-01
07/01/20LIN23.5Hy11-01
18/12/17PLU20.5Sft10-121
Ascot - January 23 2021
Ascot 15:00
6
Brian Hughes

Windsor Avenue

J:
 
Brian Hughes
T:
 
Brian Ellison
Age: 9
Weight: 11-5
OR: 147
Days: 28

The Brian Ellison trained Windsor Avenue is weighted to be a big player in this handicap event, showing clear ability over fences during his career and after some decent runs this term he can now finally get his head in front.

The nine year old gelding was a smart novice last season winning two nice events and although fading out towards the end of the season still retains his potential.

This term the son of Winged Love has been seen three times, finishing a superb second on seasonal debut behind Imperial Aura in a Listed event at Carlisle.

He was then aimed at the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup at Cheltenham's December meeting where he never gave his true showing and was pulled up.

He bounced back to better form last time out when third over three miles at Wetherby in a Grade Three event and having been dropped 1lb for that run he looks a live contender in this event.

He is dropping in trip to 2m5f which will suit better than the three miles he ran over last time out and also dropping into a lesser race off a reduced mark can only be a positive.At 10/1 the gelding is a live each way player.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
23/01/21ASC21Sft11-56
26/12/20WET24Sft11-113
12/12/20CHL20.5Sft11-3P
01/11/20CRL20Hy11-22
18/01/20HAY20Hy11-0F
Haydock - January 23 2021
Haydock 15:15
3
Nico de Boinville

Buveur D'Air

J:
 
Nico de Boinville
T:
 
Nicky Henderson
Age: 10
Weight: 11-4
OR: 163
Days: 420

The Grade Two Unibet The New One Hurdle over to miles sees the return of the superstar Buveur D'Air for Nicky Henderson.

Buveur D'Air landed back to back Grade Ones at the Cheltenham festival in 2017 and 2018 but after that did not have his most convincing season results wise.

Back in 2018 he started his season off in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle, as he did the season before putting in his best performance of the season when seeing off superstar Samcro like he was not there.

He then suffered a shock defeat to stablemate Verdana Blue in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton on Boxing Day before getting back on track at Sandown in the Listed Contenders Hurdle.

His hat-trick bid in the Champion Hurdle loomed and if it wasn't for suffering his first fall of his career many think he would have picked up the pieces and landed the race that ultimately fell apart.

He headed to Aintree stepping up in trip and could only manage a narrow second to Supasundae but finished his season off in superb style showing that he still holds star ability when taking the Grade One Champion Hurdle at the Punchestown festival and reversing the form with Jessica Harrington's gelding.

Back for his seasonal debut in November 2019 he was odds on to land a third consecutive Fighting Fifth when being chinned by Cornerstone Lad on the line.

It was revealed after the race he had suffered a nasty injury when clattering one of the flights at the northern track and has not been seen since.

Having been off the track for a lengthy period of time he returns in this event and it looks only a question of fitness and how good he still is after his sever injury that nearly finished his career all together.

Getting 6lb from Ballyandy and 3lb from Navajo Pass looks extremely generous and should capitalise on that.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
23/01/21HAY15.5Hy11-42
30/11/19NCS16Hy11-72
03/05/19PUN16Gd/Y11-121
04/04/19AIN20Sft11-72
12/03/19CHL16.5Sft11-10F
Ascot - January 23 2021
Ascot 15:35
7
Harry Cobden

Politologue

J:
 
Harry Cobden
T:
 
Paul Nicholls
Age: 10
Weight: 11-7
OR: 169
Days: 49

The feature event at Ascot on Saturday is the Grade One Clarence House Chase over the extended two mile trip and Politologue for Paul Nicholls should make it a hat-trick of Grade One wins.

It was thought that the nine year old would never be able to get back to his best Grade One winning form last year having raced twice before the festival, finishing second of four on debut in the Shloer Chase and then fifth of eight in the Tingle Creek, where again he finished behind Defi Du Seuil.

However, his win in the Champion Chase saw him back to his best and although the big hitters like Altior and Chacun Pour Soi were pulled out of the event which took the shine off the race, the grey was still the best horse on the day and under a superb ride from the front jumped the field into submission.

His handler Paul Nicholls believed that his win in that race was not a fluke and with another great preparation he showed just how good he is when landing the Grade One Tingle Creek Chase for the second time in his career, on his seasonal debut.

The British Champion Chase division looks extremely weak this season and with this renewal of the race just that, we think Politologue at an odds against price is big value.

Harry Skelton has been the rider on board for his last two wins and he now jumps off with Harry Cobden given the chance.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
23/01/21ASC17Sft11-72
05/12/20SAN15.5Sft11-71
11/03/20CHL16Sft11-101
07/12/19SAN15.5Sft11-75
17/11/19CHL16Sft11-62
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