Bill Esdaile’s tips for the Betfair Chase and the rest of tomorrow’s racing at Haydock
LAST year’s first three home in the Betfair Chase (3.50pm Haydock) are set to line up tomorrow in this season’s renewal and bookmakers are struggling to separate them.
Cue Card, who took Haydock’s biggest jumping prize 12 months ago, heads the market and will take some stopping if in the same form. However, despite significant market support, he was beaten further at Exeter on his reappearance than last season and it would take a leap of faith to lump on the market leader.
Silviniaco Conti is another who disappointed on his seasonal return and although it has since emerged that the Wetherby contest in question was run over an incorrectly measured trip, he was backpedalling at the business end. And if they had gone further, he’d have been beaten by even more than eight lengths.
David Pipe's Dynaste makes the most appeal of those at the head of the market. The Pond House team are in red-hot form, but I’ve just got the feeling the Ryanair Chase winner doesn’t want an out and out slog on soft ground over this three miles and one furlong trip.
The same cannot be said of the Jonjo O’Neil trained TAQUIN DU SEUIL, who proved last year that he’s at home on bottomless ground. He had the tactical speed to win the JLT Novices’ Chase over a much shorter distance on a decent surface, but these conditions look perfect for him.
Barry Geraghty is a brilliant jockey booking and, with two runs already under his belt, Taquin Du Seuil looks the call at 11/2 with Star Sports.
Geraghty looks to hold an even stronger hand in theFixed Brush Handicap Hurdle (2.25pm) where he is set to partner VOLNAY DE THAIX for his boss Nicky Henderson. The five-year-old carried top weight to victory in facile fashion in a Huntingdon handicap last time and looks hard to oppose with just a 5lb penalty.
Admittedly, carrying 12 stone over an extra half-mile trip on soft ground is a tall order, but he may just have the star quality required to do it. And at 4/1 I’m prepared to find out.
The market suggests that Pipe’s Katkeau, who won at Cheltenham’s Paddy Power meeting last weekend, is my selection’s biggest danger. Yet, that was a tough race for one that had been off for so long and his stablemate Vieux Lion Rouge represents better value at 12/1 with the step up in trip bound to suit.
VOLNAY DE THAIX 2.25pm Haydock (tomorrow)
TAQUIN DU SEUIL 3.50pm Haydock (tomorrow)