Friday, 24th November 2017
Tomorrow afternoon’s Betfair Stayers’ Handicap Hurdle (2.25) used to be run over the Fixed Brush obstacles. But all that’s now changed, and tomorrow’s event will be run over regulation hurdles....
And it will be run on desperate ground. If you think it was bad at Cheltenham last weekend, Haydock will exhibit what heavy going really is tomorrow....
Fitness issues, weight-bearing issue and any issues with staying the 3-mile trip will all be found out on a surface that will really test fitness and stamina....
One horse that won’t mind the mud flying is Nick Gifford’s THEO’S CHARM – and he can be backed at an attractive 16s.
He likes Haydock. he’s run a couple of nice races there. Not least in the 2015 edition of the Fixed Brush Hurdle – when he was 2nd on ground that was heavy.
He was going better than anything turning for home that afternoon – but didn’t quite get home as well as the winner. He might have needed the run. He hadn’t had a prep-race beforehand – but that’s not the case this time around....
Theo’s Charm was out at Plumpton last month – over fences. He ran a solid race that day under top-weight and over an inadequate distance. He had a good blow afterwards and will come on for that appearance.
This race has been the target for him for a while. The ground won’t be a bother. The stiffer test is ideal. And he can run a big one at the price.
I’m going to go two-against-the-field with THE DUTCHMAN as my second-pick....
The 7yo will be having his first run for Colin Tizzard tomorrow afternoon, he’s got form on heavy ground and I’ve heard a whisper that the horse has had a wind-op.
He’s priced-up on the evidence of what’s down in the formbook – but he could well be a different proposition tomorrow and the 14s holds plenty of appeal.
He hasn’t had a prep run. That’s a slight worry. But he has gone well fresh in the past and the fact that Tizzard chucks him into this valuable race first-time up suggests to me that Dorset-based handler will have him plenty fit to try and make good of a mark of 135 – which could prove generous.
As a novice this horse was contesting Grade races. That might have been a case of connections playing it clever for down-the-field prize money. But he did run a very good race at Kelso in a G2 – beaten 3l by Le Prezien having done much to force the pace.
That one rated 146 at his peak over hurdles and has since developed into a genuine Saturday horse over fences.
Having had a good break, having transferred to a top yard, having possibly had a wind-op and having a first-time tongue-tie applied to give him additional assistance – I suspect The Dutchman can prove more competitive than his price suggests tomorrow.
The Contrarian Bet Box….
To recap on where my contrarian money will be going tomorrow afternoon….
In the Betfair Stayers’ Handicap Hurdle (2.25 @ Haydock)....
That is my take on where the value lies – but you will no doubt have your own ideas and that’s exactly as it should be.
That’s all from me for today.
I’ll be back in your inbox a little later today with ATC Extra.
Until then. Stay tuned.