Ascot & Haydock Tips: Venetia Williams' yard relishing conditions

Venetia Williams
Venetia Williams is targeting two big races this Saturday

Venetia Williams has had a fruitful couple of weeks on the track, and she's targeting more success in both the Betfair Swinley Chase, as well as the Grand National Trial this weekend.

"Despite the lengthy lay-off, Achille finished half a length behind the favourite and winner, Notachance, defeating Ben Pauling's Le Breuil and Dan Skelton's Captain Chaos comfortably in the process."

Let's be honest, there's no real surprise to see Venetia Williams in the winner's enclosure, especially in the current conditions. This is very much her time of year and her horses often relish the heavy ground up and down the country.

That's once again proven to be the case over the past two weeks, returning home with six winners and four placed horses out of her 25 entries.

On Tuesday, Destinee Royale cantered clear under Charlie Deutsch in a 3m slog over at Wetherby, before Arqalina enjoyed similar conditions to come out on top over at Hereford in a Handicap Chase.

Both horses shortened in the market throughout the course of the day, and simply rewarded their respective backers.

She's also had some success on the big stages as well. Tony Calvin tipped up Gardefort in the Warriors Handicap Chase over at Sandown, where he ran very well behind Dan Skelton's ever impressive Alnadam to place. It's worth noting six horses couldn't last home in the conditions, another promising tick for Williams' horses at present.

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Williams sends two hopefuls to Ascot this weekend to compete in the Swinley Chase this weekend. Yalltari, currently 9/1, and Cloudy Glen, 16/1, are very much outsiders in the market at present.

However, Yalltari has edged closer to full fitness over the last couple of months, with three runs under his belt since a 256-day absence.

After pulling up on his return at Bangor, Yalltari found 2m7f too short next time out at Chepstow, but found his feet at Saturday's venue when last seen in January.

Back over a 3m trip, the 10-year-old enjoyed the soft ground, finishing fourth, five lengths behind the winner on that occasion and looks set to be competitive this weekend.

Cloudy Glen had a 246-day break before returning to the track to win decisively over 3m3f at Fontwell. The 8-year-old's following run was more testing stepping up in class and distance, finding 3m5f out of reach at Sandown, before finding even further at Chepstow to be far from ideal.

By Saturday, Cloudy Glen has had 42 days rest and looks likely to enjoy the step back down in trip, having travelled very well when winning at Fontwell back in November.

Both of Williams' horses are rather big prices in the market, but with both set to thrive in the conditions and back to full fitness, it's difficult to oppose each-way possibilities.

It's interesting to note, however, that Charlie Deutsch won't be riding either. That's because he's on board Achille over at Haydock in the Grand National Trial.

The 11-year-old, currently priced at 10/1, was off the track since November 2019 before competing in a Class 1 Handicap Chase at Warwick in January.

Despite the lengthy lay-off, Achille finished half a length behind the favourite and winner, Notachance, defeating Ben Pauling's Le Breuil and Dan Skelton's Captain Chaos comfortably in the process.

Seven horses pulled-up in the 3m5f slog, whilst Achille clearly enjoyed the conditions. The softer the ground this weekend at Haydock, the better for Williams' veteran.

Having performed so well after a lengthy absence, Achille will no doubt strip better for that performance and it'll be no surprise to see the 11-year-old shorten in the market before the off and add another win to her tally.

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