The jumps season well and truly takes over this weekend as Wetherby and Ascot hold interesting cards, whilst flat-racing fans can still get a serious fix courtesy of the Breeders Cup from Santa Anita on Saturday Night. And we’ve got five horse racing tips for the best of all the action.
Charlie Hall Chase, Wetherby, Saturday 3.15pm
The first recognised Gold Cup trial of the season is the highlight of the Wetherby card, and both of the last two winners return to do battle once more.
In 2012, current King George champion and Gold Cup 4th Silviano Conti carried 11-5 to victory under Ruby Walsh as he outstayed and outclassed his rivals to win by 11 lengths. Odds of 7/4 are probably a fair reflection of his chances as he’s rated at least 9lb higher than his nearest rival.
Meanwhile, 2013 champion Harry Topper (14/1) returns to defend his crown but must carry 10lb more than he did last year when he beat the re-opposing Wayward Prince (33/1) by a neck. However, Wayward Prince, who was also runner-up in 2012, is a stone better off at the weights with Harry Topper.
Other possibles include Gold Cup 3rd The Giant Bolster, Menorah for the in-form Phillip Hobbs, and First Lieutenant who looks especially well treated by the conditions of the race as he only has to carry 11-0 after failing to win last season.
However, whilst most of the runners are sure to have bigger targets in mind, this is likely to be Wayward Prince’s primary aim for the season and he looks an interesting each-way alternative to the favourite who is unlikely to be fully-tuned with the Betfair Chase, The King George and The Gold Cup firmly on his agenda.
1 point each-way Wayward Prince @ 33/1
Bet365 Hurdle, Wetherby, Saturday 2.40pm
World Hurdle Champion More Of That may make his seasonal debut here but, if he does, he will have to concede 8lb to most of his rivals including the 7lb lower rated At Fishers Cross. However, both horses are owned by JP McManus and may not clash.
Clear third in at the weights is Zarkandar whose connections will be hoping returns to top-form after a disappointing time last season, and the 7/1 appeals as each-way value.
1 point each-way Zarkandar @ 7/1
United House Gold Cup, Saturday 3.35pm
Last year’s winner Houblon Des Obeaux will probably defend his crown around a course he’s run many of his best races at. If he does, Standing Ovation will look very attractive carrying 10-0 as he‘s run plenty of great races at this time of year, and going right-handed. However, he does need good ground to be seen at his best and, should it turn soft, trainer Martin Pipe may rely on Gevrey Chambertin.
1 point each-way Standing Ovation @ SP (good ground or faster)
Breeders Cup, Saturday Night
If we have a good afternoon on the jumps, it will be off to Santa Anita for the Breeders Cup (well an armchair seat anyway) and I’ve got a couple of strong fancies.
Breeders Cup Mile, 23.40
Richard Hannon will be hopeful of capping a fine first season in charge with a Breeders Cup victory for Toronado, but Anodin looks to be better value at 7/1. The French challenger will love the fast ground and has plenty of pace for a race which is usually ran in a time much faster than most European Group 1 mile races.
1 point each-way Anodin @ 7/1
Breeders Cup Turf, 22.22
It must have been a tough decision for Ryan Moore to desert last year’s winner Magician for Telescope – but he has. Telescope was mighty impressive in winning the The King George and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes in July over 12-furlongs on good to firm and this will be the first time since that he has had his optimum conditions since. Stall one could prove tricky, but there’s no more astute jockey in the world than Moore.
2 points Telescope @ 7/2