With less than eight weeks to go until the Cheltenham Festival, Champion Chase favourite Altior will step up his preparation in the Clarence House Chase this weekend.
The 4/9 Cheltenham favourite is heavily odds-on to prevail against just two rivals at Ascot. So it’s the Warfield Hurdle and a nice fat Handicap that get the bulk of our attention.
We’re also interested in the Champion Hurdle Trial from Haydock, where If You Say Run, Culture De Sivola, Jester Jet and Magic Of Light are all vying for favouritism.
We’ve covered all of the televised action from the North and the South in our ITV Racing Tips.
Connections will be doing a rain dance for Silver Streak at Haydock. And so are we.
The six-year-old does most of his best work on good-to-soft ground, which means any more tread underfoot could be a problem for Evan Williams’ raider.
Luckily, the forecast looks good – much like the form. The Dark Angel gelding ran a brilliant race behind Brain Power to finish second in the International Hurdle at Cheltenham last month.
He had the likes of Western Ryder, Vision Des Flos and Summerville Boy behind him that day. A similar performance here from the pacey part-time flat horse should see him come home in-front.
Vroum Vroum Mag and La Bague Au Roi are among the names to have won the Warfield in years gone by. Progressive sort Culture De Sivola can add her name to that illustrious list here.
Nick Williams’ star has won three of her last four starts since defeat at Warwick in December 2017. That includes a very classy success over Molly Childers at Kempton in last month.
The trainer has a 21% strike rate in mid-season, and with the mare only going up 6lb from her last win, we reckon there’s further improvement to be had in the seven-year-old.
Mr Medic left punters feeling sick as a parrot after rolling home sixth in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup at Cheltenham in December. But there’s still something to be gleaned from that run.
The eight-year-old travelled well into the race and had every chance heading towards the finish, only for a blunder four from home to curtail his chances and leave him tailed off out the back.
His run prior to that blunder gives us great confidence here. As does his record at Ascot.
The Dr Massini gelding is two from two at the Berkshire course, with both of those runs coming inside the last 13 months. He’s a nice price and has every chance once again this around.
ITV Racing tips:
1:50 Ascot – Culture De Sivola (NB)
2:05 Haydock – Mister Fisher
2:25 Ascot – Ballymoy
2:40 Haydock – Silver Streak (NAP)
3:00 Ascot – Mr Medic (Lively Longshot, each-way)
3:15 Haydock – Captain Redbeard (each-way)
3:35 Ascot – Altior
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All Odds and Markets correct as of date of publication