Templegate’s horse racing tips: The Betfair Chase at Haydock and Ascot live on ITV – Top betting preview for TODAY’S ITV racing
RAISE your hat to CHARBEL in the Christy 1965 Chase.
The form of his head defeat of Baron Alco at Chepstow last month got a right boost when the runner-up landed last week’s BetVictor Gold Cup.
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He did have a fitness advantage over Gary Moore’s ace but it was still a fine effort to hand out 12lbs and a beating to a decent horse.
It’s not just that effort that stands out.
He was giving Altior a right good race in the Arkle 18 months ago before falling two from home and he’s closely matched with Politologue on last season’s Tingle Creek clash.
Politologue sets the standard. His record away from Cheltenham is exceptional and he’s won first time out for the last two seasons.
Politologue is a worthy danger to CharbelGetty Images – Getty
He was no match for Altior last season but that’s hardly a disgrace and he looked to have found his sort of trip when defeating Min in the Melling Chase at Aintree’s Grand National meeting. It’s hard to see how he won’t go well but giving 6lbs to race-fit Charbel won’t be easy.
I fancied Benatar in the BetVictor Gold Cup last week but he was a non-runner on the morning of the race. He’ll like the decent ground and, while he has a bit to find at these weights, he couldn’t be ruled out.
Gold Present will also like the conditions. He’s had a wind operation since being pulled up in the Scottish National but I just don’t see him being fast enough against some top chasers.
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GET ahead with IF THE CAP FITS.
He rattled off a hat-trick of wins last year before injury ended his novice season.
His second behind Verdana Blue in Wincanton’s Elite Hurdle is really good form. We Have A Dream set the pace that day and was left trailing by the first pair.
That means he’s got seven lengths to make up on my fancy.
NAP TIME Saturday racing tips: NAPS for today’s racing as Matt Chapman and Templgate lock horns
We Have A Dream was fancied for the Triumph Hurdle after notching up four wins following his switch from France. He didn’t make it to Cheltenham but he ended the season unbeaten after romping home in the Grade 1 Juvenile Hurdle at Aintree.
His supporters are banking on him taking a big step forward for his return to action.
Old Guard doesn’t get much rest. He was third in the Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham last Sunday and finished runner-up on his two previous starts this season.
The first of those came at Kempton when second behind Verdana Blue and he’s held by If The Cap Fits on that form.
If The Cap Fits (left) should be too strong for his rivalsGetty Images – Getty
TAKE a chance on GARDEFORT.
He’s not run for a year but he has won fresh in the past and has the form to take a big hand. His second in the Grand Annual at the 2017 Cheltenham Festival gives him the edge on third-placed Theinval. If he’s fit enough – and Venetia Williams has been among the winners – he should not be an outsider.
There’s plenty of early pace in this race. Cyrname, Ozzie The Oscar and Speredek all like to make the running and that should help Modus.
He’s not looked the bravest at times but there was nothing wrong with his attitude when returned to 2m at Cheltenham last month. If he has clicked into gear he could easily be ahead of the handicapper.
Caid Du Lin had a distant view of Wenyerreadyfreddie at Ascot last time but that was still an improvement on his Cheltenham comeback effort. He likes decent ground and he has got a nice weight.
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GRAB a bargain on Black Saturday.
BLACK MISCHIEF was throwing down a strong challenge to Jersey Bean when crashing out at the last at Market Rasen last month. The winner went in again so the form looks good and Harry Fry’s hope has only been nudged up a couple of pounds.
He’s still nicely weighted and decent ground looks important to him.
Cliffs Of Dover was a progressive juvenile a couple of years ago. He’s done well on the Flat this year and he could easily be competitive.
Harry Fry has a big chance with Black MischiefGetty Images – Getty
Cyrus Darius is interesting. He won a stack of races for Malcolm and Ruth Jefferson and he switched to Colin Tizzard in the summer. Top weight shouldn’t stop him running well.
Ch’Tibello has some smart form behind the likes of Yanworth and The New One but he’s been miles below his best in two starts this season. He needs to come down in the weights a fair bit more.
Last year’s Imperial Cup winner Mr Antolini made a promising return when fifth behind well-weighted First Assignment at Cheltenham last month. He’ll win more races when the ground softens.
Chti Balko is another more at home on testing conditions.
Templegate's TV tips
2.05 Ascot – Charbel
2.40 Ascot – If The Cap Fits
3.15 Ascot – Gardefort
1.50 Haydock – Black Mischief
2.25 Haydock – First Assignment
3.00 Haydock – Might Bite
3.35 Haydock – Captain Redbeard
FIRST ASSIGNMENT should get top marks.
He looked a mile ahead of the handicapper when bolting up at Cheltenham last week having struck at the previous meeting as well.
The 3m trip was just what he wanted and I’m confident he can land a hat-trick of wins. He’s due to go up another 8lbs so he’ll clearly be hard to beat.
Theo’s Charm has been placed in this race in each of the last two years – including when third behind smart stayer Sam Spinner 12 months ago. He’s fairly weighted and trainer Nick Gifford has his team in fine form.
There was a lot to like about the way Paisley Park won at Aintree. He had some good form as a novice last season but he does have stamina to prove over today’s 3m trip.
Captain Cattistock made a promising return to action at Chepstow last month. He looks to be fairly weighted but he will probably come into his own on softer ground.
SMALL BUT MIGHTY Your in-depth preview to Saturday’s Betfair Chase at Haydock
SINK your teeth into MIGHT BITE in the Betfair Chase.
It’s a mouth-watering early-season clash with Gold Cup hero Native River trying to confirm Cheltenham form with Nicky Henderson’s King George winner.
But conditions will be vastly different from the Festival bog that saw Native River grind out glory.
Today’s ground favours Might Bite much more. He was running all over his old rival in the Gold Cup but the testing surface just took its toll in the closing stages.
His subsequent Aintree victory was most impressive and I’m confident he’ll be able to get his revenge today.
Might Bite and Native River are set for a rematchPA:Press Association
Don’t be fooled into thinking Native River needs deep ground to be at his best. He’s a tremendous jumper and a strong stayer with plenty of form on decent going.
I just think this is likely to be more of a speed test and that will undoubtedly suit Might Bite.
Conditions are more of a negative for last year’s winner Bristol De Mai. They had to remeasure the official distance of a ‘country mile’ when he bolted up in this race 12 months ago. The ground was atrocious that day and there’s no doubt he handles it far better than most horses.
He was blown away by Might Bite in the Betway Bowl at Aintree – when Clan Des Obeaux was back in third – and that leaves him plenty to find.
Native River’s stablemate Thistlecrack would have been a real player on his best form. It’s only two years ago he won the King George as a novice but injury has hampered his progress since then.
Thistlecrack makes his long-awaited comeback in the Betfair ChasePA:Press Association
CAPTAIN REDBEARD should sail away with this prize.
He did really well last season. After winning the Tommy Whittle at this track he returned to finish second behind The Dutchman in the Peter Marsh. Those efforts saw him go off just 20-1 for the Grand National but he unseated fairly early on.
He’s far from a slogger and he doesn’t need deep ground. A hurdles spin should have put him spot on for today.
Vintage Clouds has a fine chance on the book but he is creeping up the weights. His third in the Scottish National shows he has a decent prize in him but whether he’ll be ready to go first time out is another matter.
Braqueur D’Or – fourth in last year’s Ladbrokes Trophy – landed a three-runner race at Taunton last week. This is far more competitive and even today’s ground might not be fast enough for him.
Buywise has been a tremendous horse over the years. He showed he still had a bit of life left in him when winning at Sandown in January. I’m sure he’ll run an awful lot better than he did on his comeback run at Aintree.
12.20 Stoney Mountain
12.55 Cresswell Legend (treble)
1.30 Petticoat Tails
2.40 If The Cap Fits (nb)
12.40 Red Infantry
1.15 River Wylde (nap)
1.50 Black Mischief
2.25 First Assignment
3.00 Might Bite
3.35 Captain Redbeard
12.00 Espoir De Loire
12.30 Rebel Yeats
1.05 Cervaro Mix
1.40 Snapdragon Fire
2.50 Pray For A Rainbow
12.15 Feel The Noize
12.50 Chica De La Noche
2.00 Red Impression
3.10 Ban Shoof
5.45 A Sure Welcome
6.15 Barnaby Brook
6.45 Foxy Locks
8.45 Freebe Rocks