Matt Brocklebank tipped Paddy Power Gold Cup winner Coole Cody at 20/1 in last week's Friday Value Bet column - check out his two Haydock selections for this weekend.
Recommended bets, Saturday November 21
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Nigel Twiston-Davies, Colin Tizzard and Paul Nicholls have won the last 11 runnings of the Betfair Chase between them and it’ll be a shock if one of the trio isn’t celebrating success in Haydock’s Grade 1 feature again this weekend.
Lostintranslation made back-to-back winner Bristol De Mai (2017 and 2018) settle for second when striking as a seven-year-old last season and, after a rare blip in the King George, signed off his campaign with a big effort in third in the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
He has plenty more to offer and would be a popular winner again but with the Nicholls team humming along at an incredible rate and, more importantly, in light of the prices, the bet in the race has to be Clan Des Obeaux (5/2 generally).
His trainer has stressed that he won’t be returning to Cheltenham this season after a couple of below-par runs there and his whole campaign will be geared around a couple of early-season targets - namely this weekend and a third straight King George at Kempton on Boxing Day.
He’s been beaten in chases on his past four seasonal debuts but Nicholls will be mindful of that and, following a breathing operation over the summer, I’d be amazed if much has been left to work on in terms of the horse’s fitness.
Either way, there are significantly more appealing betting races earlier on the card, including a deep-looking edition of the Betfair Exchange Stayers’ Handicap Hurdle (2.25).
For a big-field handicap often run in testing conditions, it’s not been a great one for those in search of value over the years, Stoney Mountain becoming the first horse in the past decade to win it with an SP greater than 12/1 when striking at 16s last season.
Grands Crus was 6/4 in 2010, while Dynaste (7/1), Sam Spinner (6/1) and Paisley Park (4/1) have also been hotly-fancied and delivered here on the way to greater things.
The Jam Man is bidding to add his name to the list this year and the manner in which he exploited a relatively low chase mark in the Troytown earlier in the month suggests he could still be well treated off a British hurdles mark of 148.
The striking Navan victory came on the back of a Flat win at York the previous month and while he’s evidently not been the easiest to keep right (burst a blood vessel at Cheltenham in March), there’s no denying when he’s sound, he tends to go on a bit of a spree.
With The Shunter winning the Greatwood last Sunday it’s obvious The Jam Man is another Irish challenger who has to be respected, but his price has been pummelled all week and he’s now one to oppose given his erratic, rollercoaster of a profile.
Course experience can count for plenty when the going gets tough up the Haydock straight and unusually for a race of this nature, there are only four in the field who have been to the track before.
They are dual course winner Clyne, last month's Ayr one-two Justatenner and Highland Hunter (who was eighth in this last year and only got in this time as first reserve following I K Brunel's withdraw on Friday), plus FLASHJACK (50/1 General 1/5 1,2,3,4,5), with the latter looking fairly interesting for last year's winning trainer Henry Daly.
Flashjack clearly doesn’t fit the mould when it comes to previous winners of this race but as a grizzled, old stayer with form figures of 351 at the course there’s a pretty decent chance he’ll give a good account from a prominent pitch.
Whether he’s well handicapped enough to see off a long list of very progressive rivals is another matter, but you’re being richly compensated by his huge price which does look a little unfair given he posted a career-best effort when winning over this course and distance in the mud last December.
That was his third start of the season and he’s only had the one outing this time around but he did run very well for a long way in a strong Pertemps Qualifier won by Unowhatimeanharry at Aintree a fortnight ago.
Having his first run since January, the unfancied 40/1 shot was close to the pace throughout and briefly hit the front coming to the second-last before getting tired over the final couple of flights and finishing fifth. It’ll bring him on nicely and the assessor dropping him 2lb to 137 – just 3lb higher than last season’s triumph – should help out a bit too.
It could also be significant that Daly used Aintree as a launchpad for Stoney Mountain (who won as a 4/5 favourite in Liverpool) before coming here to win last year, while early indications are that Flashjack’s comeback form is good with the fourth, Golan Fortune, raised a couple of pounds this week having subsequently been beaten just two lengths by On The Blind Side when upped in class at Cheltenham last Saturday.
Golan Fortune emerged from a decent handicap hurdle at the Showcase meeting won by Captain Tom Cat. Several of the beaten horses from that race have run since and only fourth home Storm Goddess has won but the seventh Whatsupwithyou went pretty close to winning, while other have performed well in defeat too.
Sixth was the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained OUR POWER (10/1 General) and he looks a great bet over a trip just shy of two miles, three furlongs in the Betfair Racing On Bettor Handicap Hurdle (1.50).
He’s only had four starts for the Twiston-Davies team since moving from Alan King’s and he’s yet to run a bad race, finishing third in consecutive Kempton handicaps that produced a dozen winners between them.
Our Power was one of them as he went on to strike gold from The Butcher Said and a bunch of other form-boosters, including Thursday’s impressive Wincanton winner Tamaroc Du Mathan, at the same venue in mid-March.
A 6lb rise heading into this season looked potentially lenient and there were really promising signs in his reappearance, overcoming a mistake two out to lay down a challenge turning into the straight at Cheltenham.
He ultimately looked like he might have needed it which seems to have been the case with a lot of the yard’s runners this season and a slight drop in trip on softer ground here won’t inconvenience the five-year-old either.
The double-figure prices look plenty big enough.
Ascot's meeting isn’t the most attractive with this column’s agenda in mind, especially as I’m finding it hard to see beyond Magic Saint in the valuable handicap chase, while the value in Haydock’s Betfair Supports Safer Gambling Week Handicap Chase looks to be right near the top of the market where Secret Reprieve appeals as a very well-handicapped young horse for Evan Williams and the Ruckers, who landed a bit of a touch with Bold Plan on this card 12 months ago.
The only one I’d consider opposing him with is Commodore, who doesn’t get much slack from the assessor but was running in the Ladbrokes Trophy last November and has seemingly always been held in quite high regard by Venetia Williams.
He was stopping quite quickly in the majority of his races last term, though, and isn’t quite a big enough price (12s generally) to lure me in first time out – which could, admittedly, be the right time to catch him.
Posted at 1600 GMT on 20/11/20
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