Jake's ITV Racing Saturday TipsJake Johns - 12:02, 17th February 2017
“It’s Ascot Chase day and hopefully Cue Card can put in a faultless round of jumping before taking on the Gold Cup trip and bolting up there as well – we can all dream! There’s also the National Trial at Haydock, which was covered earlier in the week, and finally some interesting graded race over in Ireland to keep an eye on.” JJ
The first race that really catches the eye is the Reynoldstown, a grade two novice chase run over three miles. Arpege D’alene ran a big race at Cheltenham last time when third of 16 behind Tour Des Champs. He was ahead of LABEL DES OBEAUX (7/2) the time before that at Cheltenham, and both were behind the excellent Singlefarmpayment, who I fancy massively for a handicap at Cheltenham. The selection appears more suited to soft ground and suffered post-race Atexia that day so there’s reason to believe he can reverse the form here. Before that third at Cheltenham he was second behind American on soft ground at Exeter. That horse has since bolted up since ahead of Champers On Ice and looks a real mud lark so he did well to get as close as he did. What’s more, he was given penalty kick last time at Ludlow but he couldn’t have done it easier ahead of Hit The Highway. He’s improving, will love the ground and prefers going right handed, it’s all set up for a big run and I can see him going off favourite.
LABEL DES OBEAUX – COMPARE THE ODDS
Next up at Ascot is this listed handicap chase over three miles. Chef D’Ouvere was mightily impressive last time, but whilst the ground is soft at Ascot this horse really needs an absolute bog to show his best and he’s unlikely to get that on Saturday. O’Faolain’s Boy is an early fancy of mine for the National but he nearly always needs the run first time and he’s been off for even longer than usual this season. So I’ve ended up going with another National prospect SAUSOLITO SUNRISE (5/1) for Phillip Hobbs and Richard Johnson. He’s been handicapped out of contention for a while now but is just starting to creep down to a workable mark, and recent runs suggest a win may not be far away. He was traveling well two starts back at Cheltenham when hampered and taken off his rhythm before staying on again into fifth. That was his best start since his superb third in the Bet365 Gold Cup last season and he’s now five pounds lower. He dotted up at this meeting last year albeit off of five pounds higher but hopefully he can put in a big run on Saturday.
SAUSOLITO SUNRISE - COMPARE THE ODDS
Agrapart took his form to a new level when edging out L’ami Serge last time at Cheltenham, but I get the impression the ground might be too fast for him here today – and as L’ami Serge is possibly the biggest bridle merchant in training it’s not hard to edge him out in a finish. Also he gives AUX PTITS SOINS (9/4) eight pounds and that could make the difference. The seven-year-old is finally being reverted to hurdles after a horrendous jumping performance at Ludlow last time. He’s never looked happy over the bigger obstacles and I expect a massive change in form now back over hurdles where he has some top form. He won the Coral Cup on his British debut before running a decent race in the World Hurdle last year when fifth of 12 behind Thistlecrack. Yes he was beaten out of sight last time but if you look at his jumping it’s not hard to blame that rather than the horse being out of form.
AUX PTITS SOINS – COMPARE THE ODDS
The final race I’ll be covering on ITV Racing on Saturday is this year’s Albert Bartlett Prestige Novice’s Hurdle, a grade two race over three miles. NO HASSLE THE HOFF is on the upgrade and has some excellent staying hurdle form this season already. He was a staying on third behind Wholestone at Cheltenham, a horse who is fancied by many to win the Albert Bartlett at Cheltenham. He then pulled well clear of the field with an unbeaten Henderson improver to go down by a head. He really got down and battled well that day and he’d be mightily unlucky to find another one too good here. He receives weight from the field and is still a decent bet at 2/1 and will likely go off shorter.
NO HASSLE THE HOFF - COMPARE THE ODDS