With some star names on show for Betfair Chase day at Haydock, Alan Dudman is hoping to bounce back after a disappointing day with a pair of bets in the north west for a stellar fixture...
"He shaped like a proper stayer at Doncaster last season when scoring over 3m, so it was testament to him that he travelled so well when winning at Catterick. He is still lightly-raced with just five runs over fences to go with his prolific record between the flags."
Last year's winner Baby King is back to defend his title here, but the verdict goes to Verni in a tight little handicap.
He runs in the Paul and Clare Rooney colours and is most certainly maturing and getting his act together. He scooted in when landing a maiden hurdle in soft ground back in April, and came back to win after six months off when collecting a novices' handicap at Newton Abbot last time (from a mark of 120). That was somewhat of a messy race, and he was worth more than the three length official margin. He done well to out-sprint his rivals.
His trainer Philip Hobbs believes he'll be better in a more strongly run race. And whilst this field are unlikely to go mad in the ground, there's more to come from a 5lb higher mark - and he's already proved that he handles soft.
Plus he has race-fitness on his side, and he can put in a sharper round of jumping too.
This staying handicap over 3m4f looks a crackerjack of a contest, and the progressive Gonalston Cloud looks my idea of a bet at 13/2 on the Sportsbook.
He makes his seasonal reappearance here, and I have no worries backing him first time out, as he won fresh from a break at Catterick last term. And what a season it proved to be; he landed three races and shot up in the ratings by 32lb. He ended his campaign with a fine staying on second at Haydock over 3m, and that came on good ground. His best surface is soft, and there could be even more improvement to come.
The grey looks the ideal sort for these marathon races, especially with the mud flying about, and he's extremely genuine.
He shaped like a proper stayer at Doncaster last season when scoring over 3m, so it was testament to him that he travelled so well when winning at Catterick. He is still lightly-raced with just five runs over fences to go with his prolific record between the flags.
Saturday's Recommended Bets
Weekly P/L: -1.50
Previous week: -5.25