Today’s FREE Horse racing tips: The Betting Spy’s top picks for Saturday’s racing at Ascot and a Boxing Day fancy
TAKE a Park in the Walk at Ascot on Saturday.
Emma Lavelle’s rapidly-improving PAISLEY PARK is the one to be with in the JLT Long Walk Hurdle (2.25).
Paisley Park (right) has been improving fastPA:Press Association
He defied top weight to win at Haydock last month, needing every yard of that extended three miles, only getting up to win close home.
He will relish this stiffer track and, after just six starts over timber, almost certainly has more to offer.
The same is true of likely favourite Call Me Lord but he has to prove his stamina, having raced at two miles for most of last season until winning easily over 2m5f at Sandown on the last day of term, a result that may have flattered him.
Last year’s winner Sam Spinner is back to try again and, if in the same form, he would be hard to beat.
GET ON TREND Who will win the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot this Saturday?
But he was very disappointing at Newbury on his reappearance, already beaten when parting company with Joe Colliver two out.
That followed two below-par runs to close last season and Sam may be best watched for now.
The Newbury race went to Unowhatimeanharry, who was favoured by the weights, and is probably not the force of old.
Agrapart may be a bigger threat, having shaped well on his return over shorter.
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Thursday February 13, 2020
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For those of us who think ‘cold turkey’ is not the post-Christmas menu but what we go through over the three days without racing, Boxing Day cannot come soon enough and there is some fantastic sport in prospect.
The patient wait will be worth it for me if WAITING PATIENTLY lands the King George at Kempton (3.05).
He has not been out since winning the Grade 1 Ascot Chase impressively over 2m5f in February, beating Cue Card by outstaying him, with binoculars needed to find Frodon and Top Notch, the third and fourth.
He is unbeaten in six starts over fences and there could be still more to come. He will stay three miles and has a terrific record fresh so the lay-off is not a worry.
Politologue has a similar progressive profile and is race-fit but when winning last time at Ascot over 2m5f, though the form is rock-solid with Charbel second, he did not look as if he wanted much further.
Last year’s winner Might Bite faded fast in the Betfair Chase at Haydock and the opposition this season looks stronger.
The Haydock race was won by Bristol de Mai but he is well-nigh unbeatable there and was trounced in this event 12 months ago. Gold Cup hero and Haydock runner-up Native River may also find this too much of a speed test.
He won the Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham in January but the ground was very heavy that day and he probably needs the mud. If he gets it, he is a major player.
Gold Present defends his crown in the Garratt Silver Cup (3.00) over three miles.
He shaped well on his return when third to Politologue here and, off just 5lb higher than 12 months ago, should be in the mix.
But BENATAR, behind Gold Present last time, can reverse that form over this longer trip, as he has shaped as though further is needed these days.
Benatar should relish this tripGetty Images – Getty
He goes well at this track and is well handicapped on his novice form.
With Thomas Patrick, such a disappointment last time at Newbury, likely to go on there should be plenty of pace which will suit Benatar’s hold-up style.
Minella Daddy let his backers down here last time but may have needed the run and he has run well here often enough to make him appeal to each-way backers.
The best bet at Haydock is UBALTIQUE in the two-mile handicap chase (1.35).
His overall record is modest but he comes alive over this track and trip, loving the combination of sharp track, stiff fences and testing ground – his course and distance form figures read 314111.
Given how results have gone at the last two Cheltenham Festivals – mostly they have gone to Messrs Mullins and Elliott – a breathtaking performance in a competitive 21-runner maiden hurdle by an Elliott-trained Gigginstown-owned runner must be noted.
And that is exactly what BATTLEOVERDOYEN produced at Navan on Sunday. On his first run over obstacles he jumped like a buck and powered away from his rivals after the last to win by 13 lengths.
He will stay further than the two miles he tackled last week and looks sure to be a major player in one of the novice hurdles at Cheltenham in March.
He made a pleasing enough return over hurdles at Sedgefield and this race will have been circled on trainer Donald McCain’s calendar since the summer.
Venetia Williams’ new arrival from France, Elixir du Gouet, is worth a market check while Zalvados and Ontopoftheworld are in decent form but this is Ubaltique’s patch and he will be hard to beat.
Lingfield host a decent all-weather meeting and the best bet may be FINAL in the 1m4f handicap at 2.50.
He ran well when coming back from a break last time when third at Chelmsford and is nicely weighted on his best form.
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He has won round here and this is probably his ideal trip.
That is not the case with Lord George, who prefers further and Primero, who is better over shorter.
Zubayr is hard to win with and Curbyourenthusiasm has certainly curbed his! Redicean, for in-form Alan King, is the biggest danger but he is up 4lb for winning in lower grade last time.