Horse Racing Tips

Antepost Tips: Take 6/1 Batman to be a hero at Ascot on Saturday

Horse racing at Ascot
Mark Milligan has a pair of selections at Ascot on Saturday

Mark Milligan has taken a look at several of Saturday's ITV races and is hoping the weather relents so that the cards at Ascot and Haydock can go ahead...

  • Mark Milligan stands in for Tony Calvin

  • Mark has an each-way selection at 10/111.00

  • He's backing Batman Girac win-only at 6/17.00

As I'm sure everyone is aware, the country is currently in the grip of the first proper cold snap of the winter, and as I write this column (Tuesday morning), both of the day's jumps meetings have been abandoned due to frozen tracks.

Depending on which forecast you look at the, the prospects for racing at the two big national hunt meetings on Saturday (Ascot and Haydock) range from positively bleak to largely optimistic, with Ascot looking the more likely of the pair to get the go ahead at this stage.

With excellent action at both venues, I'm hoping that they can get the green light, particularly Ascot, where we will likely get another clash of the top 2m chasers El Fabiolo and Jonbon in the Clarence House Chase at 15:37.

With the Sportsbook currently going 4/71.57 El Fabiolo and 5/42.25 Jonbon, this is clearly not a betting heat, but it's a clash for the purists to savour, and one of the few times outside of Cheltenham that we get to see a couple of genuine big hitters knocking heads.

Ascot Saturday 14:25 - Back Triple Trade

As is far from unusual at this time of year, we've got clutches of double and even triple-entered runners across the cards this weekend, which makes selecting ante-post bets a touch tricky. And that's without factoring in the frigid weather conditions and the potential to lose a meeting or two.

This 2m 5f handicap chase is one such race, where plenty of the runners have got options elsewhere, ranging from Market Rasen on Friday right through to Lingfield on Sunday, which stages the third day of its Winter Millions meeting.

Obviously, the race has the potential to cut up given how many are entered elsewhere, although with the weather set to remain icy cold until probably at least Friday, there is at least some hope that the field will remain competitive.

Betfair ambassador Paul Nicholls' Brave Kingdom is currently prominent in the market at 4/15.00 on the Sportsbook, and it's easy to see why given his upwardly-mobile profile.

A low-mileage eight-year-old, he's taken to fences with aplomb in both starts this season having not been out for the best part of 700 days, before returning with a win on chase debut at Plumpton in November.

He followed that up with a smooth success at Newbury and it remains the case he could make his mark at Graded level before too long. He's an exciting prospect, but is one of those aforementioned horses that holds several entries.

Looking down the field to those at bigger prices, Triple Trade is the one that caught my eye, and there's every chance he'll run here with Brendan Powell already jocked up at the five-day stage (he also holds an entry at Lingfield on Sunday).

Yes, he was a touch fortunate to win at Ascot last time, with the monkey that is Harper's Brook essentially throwing the race away after idling at the last, but Triple Trade is a gutsy trier and he did well himself to recover from an error at the third last that could have put to paid to his chances.

His revised mark of 138 is still workable and while there may be more progressive horses than him in the line-up, his attitude is such that he'll always be in there pitching and there appears to be a strong chance that he'll actually run, something that seems a doubt with many of the other entries.

His current price of 10/111.00 seems fair from an each-way perspective.

Back Triple Trade each-way @ 10/111.00

Bet now

Ascot Saturday 15:00 - Back Batman Girac

This 2m 3f+ handicap hurdle has attracted a fascinating field, though once again many of the current entries have potential engagements elsewhere.

One who doesn't hold an alternative entry is Willie Mullins' lightly-raced four-year-old Batman Girac, who will be getting plenty of weight from his older rivals, set to carry just 10st 3lb.

A winner at Compiegne when trained in France in the 2022/23 season, it's probably fair to say much more was expected of him than he's currently shown in two starts since joining the Closutton outfit.

Both his starts for the Mullins yard have come in Graded novice hurdles, where he shaped as if amiss on his first outing, before performing with more credit to finish fourth to Kale Conti at Leopardstown over Christmas.

The tongue tie he wore in France was back on there and that clearly aided Batman Girac, who was running on late in the style of one who'll appreciate this longer trip.

There remains a strong feeling that he's better than he's been able to show since joining his current connections. The handicapper may well have taken a chance in letting him in here off a perch of 133, a mark that looks even more favourable when you factor in the big chunk of weight-for-age he receives from his older rivals.

I'm hoping Batman Girac gets the green light to turn up, and he could well go off shorter than the currently available 6/17.00 if that's the case.

Back Batman Girac win-only @ 6/17.00

Bet now

Haydock Saturday 15:15 - No Bet

I'll briefly touch on the Peter Marsh Chase at Haydock before closing the column, though obviously didn't want to go into too much depth given Clerk Of The Course Kirkland Tellwright sounded less than optimistic about the meeting going ahead when contacted yesterday.

Royale Pagaille at 5/23.50 and Monbeg Genius at 11/43.75 currently head the betting on the Betfair Sportsbook, and if I had a preference between that pair at this stage it would probably be for the latter. He looks the type to land one of these big staying handicaps before too long.

His run in the Hennessy (yes, I know) was an absolute cracker and I'd have serious doubts about whether a now 10-year-old Royal Pagaille could give lumps of weight to him in what could well prove a real slog in testing conditions, for all that Venetia Williams' charge handles deep ground very well.

Hopefully the weather relents and Haydock gets the go ahead, but it's hard to recommend a bet on that card as things currently stand.

Tony Calvin will be back this weekend.

Now Daryl Carter's Tips: 9/2 Mondammej must be backed returning to Newcastle

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