Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: UK Racing Best Bets - Saturday 23 November 2019

UK Racing Best Bets - Saturday 23 November 2019

UK Racing Best Bets

Neil Morrice walks you through the front runners for Saturday's racing at Huntingdon, 
Lingfield, Ascot and Haydock, including the feature race analysis for the Christy 1965 Chase and Betfair Chase


Ascot Feature Race Analysis
Christy 1965 Chase (Grade 2) 

All roads lead to Ascot for a mouth watering clash of equine giants ALTIOR and CYRNAME that should see the course full to capacity whilst answering some unanswered questions at to which routes the respective horses will take for the remainder of the season.

Shading favouritism at 4-5 with Hollywoodbets is Altior, a four times Cheltenham Festival winner who has won 20 of his 22 career starts for trainer Nicky Henderson.

Many admirers of the 9yo felt he wasn’t at his best last season but the statistics prove otherwise. He went through the campaign unbeaten in five and if succeeding today will stretch his overall unbeaten sequence to 20. He has won all five starts over hurdles and is unbeaten in 14 chases, including an Arkle and two Champion Chases.

His jockey Nico de Boinville is unbeaten in 17 rides on the 175-rated Gelding hero and will not hear of defeat for him, a dual scorer at Ascot and unbeaten over obstacles. De Boinville said: “We know Cyrname is bound to be fit and will give us a tow round, but I won’t be riding Altior any differently. I don’t think he’s an underdog in this clash, but if things don’t work out he can always drop back to be dominant over two miles.”

Henderson is sportingly taking Altior up another level on the distance ladder to give the jumping cognoscenti the clash everyone wants to see and the trainer is only too aware that so far his career has been all about speed. However, if the gelding successfully rises to the challenge today there’s every chance he will then step up to three miles for a shot at the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day.

Henderson observed: “If you’d seen him work last week you say it can’t be the right thing to be stepping him up in trip. If he’s a stayer he’s the most remarkable horse I’ve ever seen. The way he works doesn’t tell me he’s going to stay. He has such speed, so I hope his jumping helps him relax because when he goes into attack mode that’ll be it.”

In spite of Altior’s dominance, CYRNAME was rated 1lb his superior on 176 at the end of the 2018/19 campaign. The Paul Nicholls-trained gelding is looking to give his trainer a record seventh win in this race and his jockey Harry Cobden is mindful that only a career best from his mount will suffice to beat the favourite.

Cobden said: “Altior is stepping up in trip while we are proven at it. I schooled Cyrname the other day and he was in great form. I don’t know whether he’s improved, but he felt brilliant. If he improves in excess of his current rating then God knows what he is, but he’s done plenty of work and is ready to fire.
His Ascot form when winning a Grade 1 by 17 lengths is pretty impressive and earned him his mark.”

Only three others have been declared against the ‘Big Two’ and apart from Altior’s stablemate TOP NOTCH who gamely landed a Grade 2 hurdle at Haydock both KEEPER HILL and SOLOMON GREY are hopelessly outclassed.

Prediction

Ist ALTIOR

2nd Cyrname

3rd Top Notch
Haydock Feature Race Analysis
Betfair Chase (Grade 1)

The second heavyweight clash of the day sees BRISTOL DE MAI, a dual winner of this prestigious contest, taken on by new pretender LOSTINTRANSLATION in a match up to savour. If one of the pair deliver in decisive fashion it will bring about a dramatic shortening in its price for the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March.

Given Bristol De Mai’s superb record at the course and Lostintranslation’s reputation as a champion in chrysalis, there’s no wonder they have completely dominated market exchanges on the three mile race.

Haydock’s fences proved controversial last year when taking their toll and attracting criticism from some trainer’s and jockeys. The black birch obstacles swelled when getting rained on and this has prompted a change to leaf birch obstacles, which don’t pack as tight.

But sound jumping is a hallmark of these gladiators, each of whom like to have a cut at their fences as Bristol De Mai showed in this race 12 months ago and Lostintranslation when scoring in a big novice chase at Aintree’s Grand National fixture.

Nigel Twiston-Davies alluded to this when saying: “Bristol De Mai’s jumping has always been very good except at Kempton in the King George where he was interfered with and buffeted before coming down.
“But everything has gone spot on with his build up for this, and he’s as forward as he always is for his seasonal debut. He’s been to Haydock four times and gone home a winner four times. Everything points to him winning the race again.”

In contrast Colin Tizzard and his son Joe point out that LOSTINTRANSLATION is very much the one with the greater room for progression in what is only the gelding’s second season over fences. Assistant Joe explained: “He did everything we expected he would at Carlisle which was a soft starting point for him. He’s looked sharper for it at home and has lost a bit of tummy. He’s undoubtedly fitter. He took a blow two out at Carlisle and the run has tightened him up. Three miles suits him but it was the right thing to do first time, going two and a half.”

The Tizzard are also mindful that Lostintranslation received a form boost when Defi De Seuil won on his reappearance at Cheltenham last week, Joe Tizzard adding: “His novice firm got a big boost with Defi De Seuil on Sunday and hopefully our horse can take another step up the ladder.”

Last season’s Ryanair Chase hero FRODON and Bristol De Mai’s stablemate BALLYOPTIC complete the four runner line up. Front running tactics will probably be employed by Frodon who might have needed his comeback run in the Old Road Chase at Aintree. Ballyoptic was a clear cut winner of the Grade 1 Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby, is unbeaten in two outings this season and granted further progress could have a say.

Prediction

1st LOSTINTRANSLATION 

2nd Bristol De Mai

3rd Ballyoptic

4th Frodon

Ascot Undercard Best Bets 

Race 2: HIGHEST SUN (3)
Trainer:Colin Tizzard 
Jockey: Harry Cobden

This can go to one of the horses at the top of the weights with HIGHEST SUN marginally favoured over Pym. The selection has acquitted himself well on both starts this season and especially when getting to within just over four lengths of the very highly regarded Champ at Newbury where he put in his best work at the business end. He looks for all the world as if this longer distance will benefit him.

Race 5: CALL ME LORD (4)
Trainer: Nicky Henderson 
Jockey: Nico De Boinville
Although his racecourse visits have been infrequent CALL ME LORD remains a horse of huge potential and he’s strongly fancied to convert on this seasonal reappearance. The 6yo ran only twice in the 2018/19 campaign and carried a welter of support in the Imperial Cup, for which he started 3-1 favourite and finished third to Malaya. If he enjoys a clear run of things physically he can go a long way this winter.

Race 7: KID COMMANDO (1)
Trainer: Anthony Honeyball 
Jockey: Aidan Coleman

Former point winner KID COMMANDO made a smooth transition to racing under Rules when bolting up at Fontwell and looks the one to be on in the concluding bumper. Highly regarded by his trainer, he carries a 4lb penalty but that 18 lengths and more demolition job of his foes makes him of serious interest.

Haydock Undercard Best Bets  

Race 2: SINGLEFARMPAYMENT (2) (Each Way)
Trainer: Tom George 
Jockey: Jonathan Burke

Conditions look perfect for SINGLEFARMPAYMENT who is worth back on his first outing since finishing a creditable eighth in the Grand National in April. He was parsimoniously campaigned last season and has never quite lived up to his early potential. However the gelding has been given some tweaks in the summer and now is the time to catch him.

Race 3: MIDNIGHT SHADOW (4)
Trainer: Sue Smith  
Jockey: Danny Cook 

MIDNIGHT SHADOW carried my vote at Carlisle only to fall at the last just after taking command. This proverbial winner without a penalty has shown no ill effects from the uncharacteristic spill and remains a horse to follow. He’s getting 7lb from Jarveys Plate and 11lb from both Activial and Keeper Hill, and appears to hold all the cards.

Race 7: LATE ROMANTIC (2)
Trainer: Oliver Greenall 
Jockey: Henry Brooke 

When scoring on his return to the fray at Wetherby LATE ROMANTIC looked like a horse that had improved and it is hard to fault the way he powered clear of Renwick. Those fences take some jumping and the 9yo can make light of his 7lb penalty.

Huntingdon Best Bets 

Race 2: PERFECT PREDATOR (6)
Trainer: Alan King 
Jockey: Tom Cannon

With a solid first run back behind him PERFECT PREDATOR looks the one to beat in the second division of the maiden hurdle. He had to be stoked up a fair way out at Hereford last time but responded to beat all but Olly The Brave. He’s shown subsequent improvement in his work and should again be seen doing all his best work at the finish.

Race 5: VOLT FACE (3)
Trainer: Paul Webber 
Jockey: William Kennedy 

VOLT FACE is proving tricky to win with and has been off for more than 200 days, but his yard has posted a couple of quiet winners recently and he could be another. He likes to get on with things, and in a race devoid of pace setters may be able to establish an easy lead. He’s in good order regarding fitness levels.

Lingfield Best Bets 

Race 4: SO BELOVED (4)
Trainer: David O’Meara 
Jockey: Adam Kirby
You have to look back a fair way for his last win but SO BELOVED signalled when switched to the all-weather last time that he should soon come good. He was the only one other than winner Alrajaa to attract support and duly stayed on strongly for second. He’s on very good terms with h8mself, and should prove hard to beat.

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