Andrew Mount provides his analysis and best bets and for Saturday’s top jumps action at Ascot and Haydock (the latter is subject to a morning inspection)
QUITE BY CHANCE has a 0-25 record when racing on left-handed or figure-of-eight tracks but is five from 22 when racing right-handed (22.7% strike-rate) for a profit of £7.58 to a £1 level stake at SP. If we discard his runs at Exeter where the very stiff track doesn’t suit, and those on heavy ground, his right-handed chase record stands at 214111312F23P (5-13), including Ascot figures of 1223 (1-4). Last year’s wind operation didn’t make a hugely positive impact and he returns from another one here, but he still looks worth a small interest at a huge price in the 2m5f bet365 Handicap Chase (3.00), especially with some firms paying four places.
Haydock’s Peter Marsh Handicap Chase (3.15) looks typically competitive and I’m going to throw a couple of each-way darts at BALLYDINE and DAKLONDIKE. The former goes best after a recent outing, recording form figures of 1112 (3-4) when returned to the track within a month, with the defeat by three-quarters of a length. The application of a tongue-tie and cheekpieces could eke out some improvement, as trainer Charlie Longdson has a 14-52 record when using cheekpieces on a chaser for the first time (26.9% strike-rate, +£31.35 to a £1 level stake).
Daklondike won gamely over a slightly shorter trip here last time and has always seemed happiest on flat tracks, recording form figures since last season’s reappearance of 1111 (4-4).
UBALTIQUE is one of my ‘January Jumpers’ that I’ve highlighted on William Hill radio recently, with form figures in this month of 13111211 (6-8). He’s won Haydock’s Cheltenham Preview Here In March Handicap Chase (3.45) in each of the last three years and runs off the same mark as he did 12 months ago. The form of the Donald McCain yard is of some concern but he’s still worth a very small bet.
Haydock’s finale – the 3m Old Boston Handicap Hurdle (4.15) - has a very open look to it but Skybet and BetVictor are paying four places despite only 11 running and I’m going to back two horses each-way. First up is top weight GOODBYE DANCER. He’s on the small side to be carrying big weights but was a winner under 11-12 at Sandown the last time he ran in a Class 3 handicap hurdle and his full hurdles record below Class 2 level stands at 11101F42221 (5-11) for a profit of £35.49 to a £1 level stake at SP. He was up against a pace bias when keeping on into sixth at Cheltenham last time and the form has received several boosts.
The other one of interest is in-form Phil Kirby’s COURTOWN OSCAR. I’d normally look to oppose horses switching from fences to hurdles (or vice versa) as he is but swapping between the two disciplines really seems to wake him up. His record when switching from chasing to hurdles reads 141 (2-3) and he has figures of 11P2 (2-4) when transferring from timber to the larger obstacles. He was last seen finishing second in a 3m4f handicap chase here in November 2017 but has won when fresh and is attractively priced.
Quite By Chance – Ascot 3.00 (0.5pts each-way, 25-1 Unibet)
Ballydine – Haydock 3.15 (1pt each-way,, 17-2 Unibet)
Daklondike – Haydock 3.15 (1pt each-way,, 13/2 Unibet)
Ubaltique – Haydock 3.45 (0.5pts win, 13/2 Unibet)
Goodbye Dancer – Haydock 4.15 (1pt each-way, 17/2 Unibet)
Courtown Oscar – Haydock 4.15 (0.5pts each-way, 16/1 Unibet)
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