HORSE RACING fanatic Josh Abley (@Josh_Abley) shares his early thoughts on Saturday's action from Doncaster.
3.15 Doncaster | SkyBet Handicap Chase | Saturday 26th January 2019 | ITV
In the feature race of the day on Saturday up north, Paul Nicholls is likely to field two in an effort to win his third SkyBet Handicap Chase. Warriors Tale, who was beaten a head in this race last year is entered again but I prefer Art Mauresque who is 10/1 with Unibet at the time of writing.
Although Dingo Dollar, the current ante-post favourite at 11/4, would have a great chance if lining up, I find it hard to picture it with his trainer consistently saying throughout the week he will only take up his chance providing some rain.
With none forecast, I am prepared to ignore him and get involved before the prices are slashed. With the anticipated withdrawal of the current favourite, I make Warrior’s Tale the horse to beat and I have found numerous angles of attack to take him on with.
For starters, Art Mauresque can be forgiven for his last run. The most recent eight next to his name might put some punters off but I believe the trip, over 2m4f was inadequate and the high-class nature of the field put this genuine handicapper out of his comfort zone when trying to make all.
Also, I feel Huntingdon tends to suit pacier types and I think he might have been blown off his feet when trying to go with the searing tempo. Moreover, the winner of that race, Charbel lost nothing in defeat last time at Kempton which gives the form a little bit of substance.
The form to focus on as far as Art Mauresque is concerned is his second at Ascot over 3m. He had every chance jumping the last and I feel he was outstayed up the stiff Ascot hill by a genuine stayer, who has been touted for the Grand National by trainer Gary Moore.
Lorcan Williams rode him that day and gave him a lovely quiet ride until pressing the button, and in doing so showed he is excellent value for a 5lb claim. Given this is a competitive handicap, I fancy Paul Nicholls will employ his services again as he has proven he gets on well with the horse and will allow him to run off the same weight as when finishing well in front of Go Conquer, who had no excuses considering his record at Ascot and when fresh.
Go Conquer then went on to finish a half-length second to O O Seven next time out when running off level weights which also suggest Art Mauresque should also be able to get the better of Henderson’s only declared runner at the five-day stage.
This is also backed up by the fact Art Mauresque has finished 10 lengths in front of OO Seven at Sandown last April off level weight and they will re-oppose on Saturday under the same conditions, or 5lb better off if Williams takes the ride, as anticipated.
With all things considered, and the likelihood of the race cutting up, I recommended a one point each-way bet now so we can utilise the best prices and available placings. I will be back on Saturday with a strong view on two or three on an excellent Cheltenham card.