Saturday ITV Racing best bets – TV tips for Wetherby, Ascot and Down Royal
There’s plenty of classy horse racing action to look forward to with Saturday’s TV schedule featuring nine live races. We’ve picked out our Saturday ITV Racing best bets for all the day’s TV racing action.
The ITV Racing cameras are back in action on Saturday with a nine-race line-up of racing over the sticks from three of the day’s meetings across the UK and Ireland.
Featuring the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby, one of the early season highlights of the new jumps campaign the Grade Two contest headlines four races from the Yorkshire venue; while at Ascot the competitive Grade Three Sodexo Gold Cup dominates four races live from the premier Berkshire venue as they kick off their jumps season.
Completing the day’s nine race line-up is a Grade One at Down Royal where the Ladbrokes Champion Chase takes centre stage and features the likes of Delta Work, Chris’s Dream and Presenting Percy in what promises to be a cracking renewal of that top-class prize.
Ed Chamberlain and the team will have their usual expert horse racing tips, insights and analysis on all the day’s live TV racing and we’ve looked through the day’s TV racing to give our Saturday ITV Racing best bets for all nine races going to post.
SATURDAY ITV RACING BEST BETS – TV TIPS FOR WETHERBY, ASCOT & DOWN ROYAL
1:20 Ascot – Ascot Underwriting Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase (GBB Race) Cl3 (4yo+ 0-140) 2m3f
A case can be made for each in this field but DR SANDERSON won well latest on his return at Plumpton twelve days ago and looks worth sticking with to follow up despite a 7lbs rise in the weights.
The Jeremy gelding won three times over hurdles but didn’t always convince over fences last term although he did manage to finish runner-up at Ludlow in February. A shorter trip and sharper track might not have played to his strengths at Kempton on his final start but he appeared to appreciate more of a test when last seen scoring by eight lengths from Enrichissant.
He won readily that day although perhaps he’d have had more of a race had Mason Jar not fallen when getting into contention four out; but he did win well nonetheless and with most of his rivals far less experienced over fences he could put his own chasing experience to use and follow up that success.
1:35 Wetherby – bet365 Handicap Chase (Challenger Middle Distance Chase Series Qualifier) Cl3 (4yo+ 0-125) 2m3½f
MINELLA FOR ME won twice in the 2018/19 season which included over this course and while last term was one to forget for Tom George’s charge he could be worth chancing to build on his promising reappearance at Warwick at the beginning of the month.
The King’s Theatre gelding found only Court Master too strong by three-parts of a length and he should strip fitter for that outing which has seen the winner do little harm to the form with a solid runner-up effort on his next start.
He can compete here from just 2lbs higher and he can step up for his return where this drop in trip shouldn’t prove an inconvenience; he can go well in an open-looking contest and no surprise to see him in the mix.
1:55 Ascot – tote.co.uk Handicap Chase (Listed Race) Cl1 (4yo+ 0-150) 2m1f
CAPELAND likely would have won this contest twelve months ago but for being bumped and carried out by the eventual winner; Paul Nicholls’ charge then gained some compensation on his next start over course and distance although he made limited impact in a trio of Graded runs including at the Cheltenham Festival.
The Poliglote gelding could nevertheless be worth chancing to land this prize twelve months on from that mishap despite being 7lbs higher in the ratings.
The Ditcheat runner has a decent record when fresh and while he’s not managed to win on his seasonal reappearance he has posted a string of in-the-frame runs when returning from breaks so can continue to make his presence felt and he’ll appreciate this drop back in class where he can deliver a big performance for his in-form stable.
2:10 Wetherby – bet365 Mares’ Hurdle (Listed Race) Cl1 (4yo+) 2m
Verdana Blue sets a solid standard but the ground might be against her and WHITEHOTCHILIFILI is taken to make a winning return to action.
Harry Fry’s lightly-raced Milan mare showed a decent level of ability in bumpers before switching to hurdles last term where she won twice in softer ground at Wincanton and Exeter either side of a lesser run at the aforementioned Somerset venue where she may have been stretched by the trip.
Subsequently far from disgraced at the Cheltenham Festival when finishing sixth behind Concertista in the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle she can do better this campaign where she is open to considerable improvement as she gains further experience.
This is no easy task she takes in and she gives up race-fitness to Nicky Henderson’s standard-bearer; but she could be worth chancing to make her mark this season and no surprise to see her in the mix at the business end.
2:25 Down Royal – Ladbrokes Champion Chase (Grade 1) (5yo+) 3m
Gordon Elliott has a very strong hand in this contest with Delta Work, The Storyteller and PRESENTING PERCY amongst the quintet from the County Meath handler’s top yard. Narrow preference though is for the Sir Percy gelding who can stage a revivial under the care of his new yard having left Pat Kelly.
Delta Work appeared to need the run in this race twelve months ago and that may be the case again, but the selection had mixed chasing and hurdling to very good effect and he took top honours at the Cheltenham Festival in 2018 when beating Monalee in the RSA Chase and the Galmoy Hurdle the following season prior to having a crack at the Gold Cup where his jumping let him down in finishing eighth.
He failed to win in four starts last term, again let down by his jumping in a series of premier events and he fell back at Cheltenham behind Al Boum Photo on his final start for Kelly prior to joining this yard. Now making his seasonal return it is chanced that Elliott has ironed out the wrinkles in his jumping and he could be worth siding with on his first start for his new yard given his record when fresh is impressive.
He’ll need to be back at his best in a strong renewal of this Grade One prize, but he might well find some old sparkle for his new yard and there’d be no shock in seeing him deliver a big run.
2:45 Wetherby – bet365 Hurdle (Grade 2) (Registered As The West Yorkshire Hurdle) Cl1 (4yo+) 3m
Fitness for most of these needs to be taken on trust but a chance is taken on COPPERHEAD who went from strength to strength last term over fences with a trio of successes which included the Reynoldstown Chase prior to falling in the RSA Chase at the Cheltenham Festival although he was beaten when coming down.
Colin Tizzard’s rising star had enced the 2018/19 season over hurdles with a brace of wins at Exeter and Sandown respectively before stepping up in trip over fences last campaign and he could go well reverting to hurdles for his return to action.
There is a slight worry that the Sulamani gelding will need this first run and he’s been well-beaten on his seasonal debut in each of the last two seasons; but fitness could be an issue for most of his rivals also and having looked a strong stayer over fences last term he can make his presence felt if fully tuned up.
3:05 Ascot – Sodexo Handicap Hurdle (Listed Race) (GBB Race) Cl1 (4yo+) 1m7½f
SEBASTOPOL didn’t do too much wrong last term over hurdles, winning twice and Tom Lacey’s charge could be up to the task of making a winning reappearance just as he did twelve months ago.
The lightly-raced Fame And Glory gelding has shown useful form over timber to date, latterly winning at Musselburgh in February when taking the Scottish County Hurdle from Ashington where he sported a tongue-tie for the first time.
He has 6lbs more on his back ahead of his return to action, but there may be more to come from the six-year old who is relatively unexposed still after only five starts over timber and open to further improvement for all this is a deeper race.
Softer ground should prove no issue he should be capable of posting a big run given his record fresh so it would be no surprise to see him involved here under Richard Johnson.
3:20 Wetherby – bet365 Charlie Hall Chase (Grade 2) (GBB Race) Cl1 (5yo+) 3m
SAM SPINNER hasn’t been the most convincing of jumpers over fences yet he remains unbeaten in three starts and Jedd O’Keeffe’s charge could go close here if his jumping holds up again in a stronger race.
A Grade One winner over hurdles he’s an enigmatic yet very capable performer with a 2-2 record at this venue from last term and he won the Grade Two December Novices’ Chase at Doncaster when last seen out last winter.
The Black Sam Bellamy gelding was subsequently ruled out of the Cheltenham Festival and the season following a setback but still a relatively lightly-raced sort he could be worth chancing to continue on his upward curve back from a break given he’s gone very well when fresh in the past with two wins coming on seasonal debuts as well as making the frame on another occasion.
His jumping will be put under a much sterner examination in this contest compared to the small-field events he won last term; but if he’s able to put in a clear round then it wouldn’t come as a surprise to see him in the mix.
3:40 Ascot – Sodexo Gold Cup Handicap Chase (Grade 3) (GBB Race) Cl1 (4yo+) 3m
VALTOR has won each of his last two seasonal debuts and Nicky Henderson’s charge could be worth chancing to get off the mark again on his first run of the campaign.
The veteran has been lightly raced since joining this yard from France, winning a Listed course and distance contest on his first run for the Seven Barrows maestro following seven months off the track although he struggled to back up that win in two subsequent outings although those runs did come in the Cotswold Chase behind Frodon and in the Aintree Grand National last April.
He returned last season from eight months off with a success over hurdles before failing to fire in the Bristol Novices’ Hurdle after which he returned to chasing. Third in the Taunton Portman Cup behind Yala Enki he found only Ballyoptic too good over course and distance when last seen.
Racing from the same mark on his return to action his record fresh affords him respect and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him exploit this rating with a big run.