I’m a big fan of the Twiston-Davies beast, but it’s clear from past efforts that he needs the mud, and he has the odds stacked against him in the Betfair Chase
12:10 @ Haydock
Denmead earned rave reviews for an easy win on his hurdles bow at Huntingdon, but was seen to best effect in a race run at an uneven pace, and I think he’s flattered by the ease of that success. He tended to dive at his hurdles there, and again looked very novicey at Wetherby next time where he travelled best but didn’t find much for pressure. He’s possibly better than that form, with the longer trip perhaps stretching him, but still looks overrated, and will need to be flawless in his jumping to win in this higher class.
Recommended: Lay Denmead @ 4.3 or shorter (max liability 3.3pts)
12:40 @ Haydock
Bishops Road has the assistance of Richard Johnson and is well treated on his best form, but he’s not firing at present, and weakened tamely after travelling better at Aintree last time. His trainer, Kerry Lee, hasn’t had a winner since Cheltenham’s April meeting, and the ten-year-old has only scored on heavy ground since joining Lee from Henry de Bromhead. His record on ground quicker than soft over fences reads ten runs with just one placed effort, and that was when beaten 28 lengths in that veterans’ event at Aintree last time. That form was arguably franked when Beat That won at Warwick in midweek, but that horse benefited from a switch of tactics, and he barely jumped a fence at Aintree, and yet was still able to beat Bishops Road by 17 lengths.
Recommended: Lay Bishops Road for a place @ 2.2 or shorter (max liability 3.6pts)
15:00 @ Haydock
It’s hard to pick between the big pair in the market for this, and there’s no great angle there, but opposing Bristol de Mai looks a sound investment given the horse’s relatively poor record on similar ground. Even supposed mudlark Native River has five wins to his name on ground described (by Timeform) as good to soft or quicker, whereas Bristol de Mai has run seven times on such a surface since winning a 4-runner Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase in 2016, and has managed just two places, one of them when a 1/2 Fav. Put another way, his only two wins on such a surface from 13 lifetime starts came in 4-runner novice chases in which he was receiving weight from other horses. His trainer may claim he doesn’t need the mud, but his record says the opposite.
Recommended: Lay Bristol de Mai for a place @ 3.5 or shorter (max liability 7.5pts)
This week, Rory joined Sam Turner on the Matchbook Betting Podcast to preview the racing action from Haydock and Ascot. Listen below and search for ‘Matchbook Betting Podcast’ on your preferred podcasting app to subscribe.