Last season’s Gold Cup winner Sizing John looks set to start as the second-favourite for Saturday’s Grade 1 Lancashire Chase at Haydock.
Jessica Harrington’s mount won a hat-trick of Grade 1 races towards the back end of last season but is currently behind 11/8 shot Bristol De Mai in the betting.
Bristol De Mai, trained by the in-form Nigel Twiston-Davies, was a good winner on his reappearance at Wetherby earlier this month.
The six-year-old defied odds of 6/1 to land the Charlie Hall Chase in-front of a whole host of quality names.
And he’s a course specialist too, having won twice around Haydock in the past two years.
But the question is whether he – along with the rest of the runners – can handle the expected heavy ground on Saturday.
Well, history suggests he can. In-fact the French-bred raider is two from two in such conditions.
Even so, it’ll take a monumental effort to topple 9/4 shot Sizing John.
The son of Midnight Legend enjoyed a trio of Gold Cup successes last season at Leopardstown, Cheltenham and Punchestown.
And while concerns have abounded over the fitness of the seven-year-old, Harrington remains confident of his chances.
With top-jockey Robbie Power in the saddle for the 3m 1f and a half slog around Haydock on Saturday, the impressive raider is our pick to pip Bristol De Mai at the post.
Cue Card is available at 7/2 but will need to show more consistency to challenge the front two. Colin Tizzard’s mount was a faller in both the Charlie Hall in November and the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March.
Those two showings have raised question marks over whether the 11-year-old can challenge in this one. It’ll be tough for the son of King’s Theatre. But you can’t rule out a horse who has won three of the last four runnings of this event.
Outlander comes next at 10/1. Gordon Elliott’s mount is a consistent performer at the top-level, but not in the UK. All of his black-type wins so far have come in his native Ireland. And with a 51l defeat to Sizing John at Cheltenham also on his record, it’s probably best to discount the nine-year-old here.
Tea For Two could be worth a shot at 12/1. He failed to impress in the Old Roan Chase at Aintree last month but has each-way claims based a pair of black-type successes at the end of last season. The ground should also suit.
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All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.