ITV Racing Saturday Preview
CLARENCE HOUSE CHASE DAY FROM ASCOT ON ITV! Racing on Saturday from Haydock and Ascot. Previews available for all 8 races.
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ITV Racing Saturday Preview
1.25 Haydock Sky Bet Supreme Trial Rossington Main Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 2) 1m71/2f
1.45 Ascot SBK Holloway’s Handicap Hurdle (Class 2) 2m31/2f
2.00 Haydock New One Unibet Hurdle (Grade 2) 1m71/2f
2.20 Ascot SBK Mares’ Hurdle (Grade 2) 2m71/2f
2.35 Haydock Peter Marsh Handicap Chase (Grade 2) 3m11/2f
2.55 Ascot bet365 Handicap Chase (Class 2) 2m5f
3.15 Taunton BioWaveGo Portman Cup Chase (Class 2) 3m41/2f
3.35 Ascot SBK Clarence House Chase (Grade 1) 2m1f
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The Supreme is shaping up as potentially the race of the meeting at the Cheltenham Festival and Nicky Henderson will be hoping the exciting JONBON can keep his unbeaten record in tact here before being primed for the big one in March. He came with a tall reputation being a full brother to Douvan but he certainly hasn’t disappointed so far and won impressively at Ascot last month. This looks a nice stepping stone and I expect him to make it a perfect 3-3 over hurdles before being put away.
Might I is the most obvious danger but he was thrashed by a stablemate to the favourite and main Supreme rival Constitution Hill at Sandown. He was left standing on that occasion and was beaten 14 lengths. It will be intriguing to see if he can put up more resistance to Jonbon as it might give us a better idea of who is the leading prospect for the yard. Of the rest Richmond Lake has won 2 of his last 3 but this is a big ask.
Wide open race with plenty of quality in here. STELLAR MAGIC gets the vote after running a cracker on seasonal/handicap debut when a close-up second to Up For Parol. That looks like good form and he was only raised 4lb as a result. Given that was just his fourth run over hurdles there should be a fair bit more to come yet and I can’t see how he doesn’t go close. He only has 6lb to find with the top-weight Garry Clermont and is proven in the ground too which could count for plenty.
The latter definitely looks dangerous on recent form and he was only passed over as he gives weight to a few potential big improvers. Unexpected Party should have his say if in the same form as his last few runs. He was turned over at odds-on latest but the front pair pulled clear. The other to note would be Fils D’oudaries who makes his debut for Nicky Henderson. His jumping let him down previously but is talented if getting it right.
Another short price at Haydock likely to take all the beating in the thriving TOMMY’S OSCAR for Anne Hamilton. This horse has looked really progressive in recent starts bringing up the hat-trick in good style at Musselburgh last time. He travelled really well and poured it on before going clear. That was impressive and if he backs that up here up to Grade 2 company again he should take all the beating. Global Citizen and Navajo Pass could go hard from the flagfall and if they do he should get a lovely toe in.
The danger would have to be the old boy Hunters Call for Olly Murphy. He is a 12yo now but is still running well enough to be a danger here. He won by 9 lengths on return at Bangor and went down all guns blazing beaten just a length in the Grade 2 International at Cheltenham last month. A repeat of that sort of performance would see him give the selection a race at least. Rockadenn shaped better here last time but this is tougher.
This looks a really competitive race as it usually is with just 2lb splitting the top 3 in the market. WESTERN VICTORY appeals the most with a big step forward on her last run to win at Clonmel. She just kept finding to pull some 11 lengths clear in the end. If as game as that run on her debut for Emma Lavelle she is the one to beat here. The ground is likely to be riding dead after the frost covers have come off so stamina is going to be a big factor in the outcome and we know she has that in abundance.
The main danger is Molly Ollys Wishes who has some of the best form on offer but has fallen short at this level a couple of times before so she was opposed on this occasion. My Sister Sarah should be better back up in trip but isn’t always that reliable. That was a tough ask at Leopardstown but I did think she might have run a bit better. Anythingforlove is a solid mare and to get as close as she did to Martello Sky last time was a good effort.
It’s hard to oppose last year’s dominant winner ROYALE PAGAILLE here. He thrashed them by 16 lengths and while he doesn’t come here in as good a form this time around and he is 7lb higher he is still hard to get away from. The yard continue to go great guns and fired in another double at Lingfield yesterday. The feeling with this horse is he still has more to offer and this test clearly suits him well. He finished second to A Plus Tard in the Betfair Chase when last seen and if over them excursions should pour it on against these.
Remastered continues to give his running but I thought he was set to win the Tommy Whittle over C&D last month and he ended up being beaten 10 lengths. I don’t think he has much in hand off his current mark. Empire Steel may emerge as a greater danger after falling when going well at Wetherby. If he can put in a clean round he should ask one or two questions of the favourite as there is a strong likelihood he has more to come yet.
I hope Fanion D’Estruval takes his chance here instead of Lingfield on Sunday as it will mean we get the 3 places with 8 left in currently. KILLER CLOWN really stepped forward on his last run and looks a great each way price at the time of writing. He was an easy winner at Wincanton earlier in the month and should be a big player in a decent race. A 7lb rise looks fair on the way he put distance between himself and the rest the last day and he has to be a good bet given the shape of the market.
Palmers Hill has either improved a lot or was taking advantage of his reduced handicap mark with his two very good wins this season. We will see how he goes off 142 which is the highest he has been so will need to improve. If he does he will be a big danger but I am questioning that a bit at the moment. Phoenix Way might be the second-string for McManus but at least the handicapper has given him a chance off the same mark.
The loveable YALA ENKI was back in the winners enclosure at Cheltenham when last seen in November and given he is going for a hat-trick in this race he is really difficult to oppose. He found plenty last year to beat If The Cap Fits 5 lengths with the pair pulling 24 lengths clear from the rest and lightly raced since this is likely to have been the target all season before perhaps another crack at the Grand National. He jumped well in the main at Cheltenham last time and giving just 4lb away to these should be too classy.
Elegant Escape is a dour stayer but the truth is he hasn’t shown a great deal since winning the Welsh Grand National back in 2018. He was pulled up at Chepstow in last year’s renewal and comes here with enough to prove despite the cheekpieces going back on. Full Back might be better value to finish second as at least he comes here with confidence high having won at Cheltenham 3 weeks ago. He should love this trip.
This race has been the focus of most people for this week with SHISHKIN taking on Energumene. Two of the best two-mile chasers taking each other on outside of Cheltenham is just what we want and there isn’t much between them. Shishkin has won 9 in a row and showed he is as good as ever winning on seasonal debut at Kempton last time in taking fashion. He should improve physically from that run and I think he is the one to beat especially given the way the race might be run.
Energumene has won his last 7 in a row but this looks his toughest test to date. He is undoubtedly top class and will have a good go off the front and if he can hold off Shishkin he wins but it won’t be easy. First Flow will run his race but needs to find a fair bit to match the two superstars and could be a help to the selection if he goes forward and hassles Energumene in the early stages. It could end up panning out perfectly.