HORSE RACING fanatic Josh Abley (@Josh_Abley) shares his favourite fancy from Saturday's action at Haydock.
Saturday 19th January 2019 | 3.15 Haydock | ITV
The ground at Haydock currently reads good to soft, but I will be surprised if there is soft in the going description on Saturday, let alone good.
It is a well-known fact in racing that Haydock doesn’t have a great drainage system and conditions this time of the year are usually very testing. The rain that has fallen on Friday, and the forecast throughout the night is enough for me to think it is genuine soft ground, or even heavy, either way it will take some getting.
Considering the forecast rain, Otago Trial (6/1 Bet365) stands out for me in the very open feature, The Peter Marsh Handicap Chase. Otago Trial is getting on, turning 11 this year however Venetia Williams’ horse showed he still has all his ability with an excellent third in the Rehearsal Chase at Newcastle after a significant absence on the sidelines.
I am very happy to draw a line under his next run, which was simply too bad to be true and I expect a much better showing here. What is eye-catching is that, in 2017 when Otago Trial was second in this race on heavy ground, he won the Rehearsal Chase on his reappearance before being pulled up on his next start. This shows he can bounce back to form and that was when the handicapper probably had hold of him as well.
When he won the Rehearsal Chase in 2016, Otago Trial ran off 146 and beat Definitely Red and Bristol De Mai in the process. Taking that into account, his reappearance this year when running off 152 is completely acceptable considering he had every chance at the last in a bold attempt to make all and the winner has gone in again which gives the form substance.
Another factor that gets me exited is the very capable Hugh Nugent takes the ride and takes 7lb off his handicap mark. I have been impressed with the way Nugent rides, especially from the front which is surely how Otago Trial will run his race.
The 7lb claim means Otago Trial runs off 146, the same mark when winning the competitive Rehearsal Chase and 2lb lower than his 2nd in this race two years ago, which was won by Bristol De Mai, who seems to be unbeatable round Haydock.
At the current price of 6/1 I think it is the Bet Of The Day and I will be disappointed if he doesn’t get his head in front. Otago Trial is therefore a two-point selection to win.
Saturday 19th January 2019 | 2.40 Haydock | ITV
My next bet of the day comes in the race before the feature, The New One Unibet Hurdle, run over two miles.
Earlier in the week I was bullish about Silver Streak’s chances of reversing the form with Brain Power around Haydock. However, Brain Power has not been declared and I cannot go anywhere near the 7/4 around for Silver Streak considering the deluge of rain forecast combined with Silver Streak’s patchy soft ground form.
As a result, I am recommending a one point win bet on Western Ryder (7/2 Ladbrokes), who finished two lengths behind Silver Streak at Cheltenham. I thought it was a good run that day and he will thrive under today’s conditions, coming up against opponents who seem to enjoy proper good ground.
Global Citizen is another who should enjoy the going but he’s been a little bit too inconsistent for me and I was disappointed with his latest effort at Kempton on Boxing Day, even if he can find his best form he still has 4lb to find on official ratings.
Also, Mohaayed has to concede 4lb to Western Ryder despite only finishing three lengths in front of Western Ryder last time out. I think the winner benefitted from a very savvy ride that day from Harry Skelton and I find it hard seeing him confirming that form on ground that is likely to be plenty soft enough.