Horse Racing Tips

Saturday Racing Tips: Kate Tracey thinks Charles Byrnes will scoop another British prize

Haydock
Kate Tracey thinks Run For Oscar still has mileage in his handicap mark

There are stars making their seasonal debuts on Betfair Chase Day but alongside the headline acts, there are plenty of competitive handicaps. Kate Tracey has assessed three and has plenty of ways to play the action...

  • Five selections from Kate Tracey this Saturday

  • Run For Oscar should have all factors in his favour

  • Before Midnight can win back-to-back Ascot renewals

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Byrnes on the British raid

For all we have plenty of fascinating yet uncompetitive contests at the weekend at both Ascot and Haydock, where odds-on favourites should prevail, we do have plenty of wide-open handicaps to play. One such race on the latter card is the Stayers' Handicap Hurdle which is a Premier Handicap over 3m at 14:25..

Running the trends reveals plenty of factors. The first is that this race favours younger legs so it's worth siding with a six-year-old. There are two rating bands to consider, the first is horses rated 135-139 and 147 with that being the winning mark in two of the last five renewals. It is also beneficial to have a claimer enlisted in this race to help offset weight.

Since this race was switched from being a brush hurdle contest to conventional hurdles, there has been an evident pace bias twist. This used to go to front runners however, this race has been won by hold-up performers in four of the last five years since the switch of obstacles.

The only exception was Sam Spinner who made all but proved how well handicapped he was off a mark of 139, when winning the Grade 1 Long Walk Hurdle on his next start.

Haydock jumps start 1280x720.jpg

Coming into this race on the back of one run is ideal and finishing first or second on that latest outing is another plus. The reappearance start should have come around one month ago.

Each of these trends has landed me on Run For Oscar as Charles Byrnes heads across the Irish Sea in a bid for another British raid.

We last saw this seven-year-old gelding hacking up in the Cesarewitch on the flat at Newmarket where he looked to have plenty in hand. He was also a winner of a flat handicap prior to that at Haydock and is now rated 101 in that sphere.

He is a hold up performer which may well suit again despite there being a lack of pace in this race on paper.

Importantly, however, he has the ideal rated of 147 for this race but has the addition of Daniel King's 5lb claim off his back.

He will have been freshened up but fit from his Cesarewitch success and can bring up an across discipline hattrick here at 4.03/1.

Back Run For Oscar 14:25 Haydock @

4.0

Midnight can win back-to-back renewals of Ascot handicap

One of the highlight races of the weekend for me is the Handicap Chase at Ascot over 2m 1/2f at 15:15. This is a belter of a race which is hugely competitive. Edwardstone has been rerouted here after being a nonrunner in the Grade 2 Shloer Chase at Cheltenham for his intended reappearance due to unsuitable ground.

This may be an afterthought for Alan King's charge but it's still great to see this very talented horse carrying top weight in a handicap. I hope this is a trend that continues to gather momentum with trainers more and more inclined to run their graded horses in handicaps.

The trends point to eight-year-olds being favoured as are those rated between 143-148 who are ridden with restraint. Coming into this race on the back of one start is ideal and preferably that run was a successful one. A two and a half week to a one-month turnaround is the optimal time since a latest outing.

I'm taking on Edwardstone at the head of the market firstly, with Before Midnight who runs for the Sam Thomas yard who have had plenty of success the past few Saturdays.

Ascot fence 1280x720.jpg

Before Midnight had a solid campaign last season where he won his first two starts, bringing up a belated hattrick over fences in the process. The last win of which came over this course and distance in this very race off a mark of 144- 2lb lower than he's carrying here.

It has looked a notable ploy to send him back for a repeat bid in this race following a very respectable reappearance last time out again, over this track and trip.

He was taken on for the lead on that latest outing where the reopposing Thyme White and Frero Banbou came through to pinch him heading to the last.

He is likely to come forwards for that run and off a 1lb lower mark, he can certainly make his presence felt in this race again.

The other consideration for this race is the outsider of the field in Kiltealy Briggs who is a 21.020/1 shot at the time of writing. Of course, it's been well documented that the Jamie Snowden yard could hardly be in better form this season so all of their runners deserve at least a second glance.

Back Kiltealy Briggs each-way 15:15 Ascot @

21.0

Kiltealy Briggs really improved in his second season chasing last campaign where he was highly tried. He signed off in lesser form but those noncompletions can easily be forgiven in the Ultima Handicap at the Cheltenham Festival and in a Grade 2 Novices' Chase at Ayr.

He was able to get back on the up on his reappearance last time out at Market Rasen when too good for his rivals back in a handicap, up in trip.

He made all and despite idling, he was always holding the 2/1 favourite in second.

He must defy a 4lb rise for that success and, for all this isn't a step up in grade as such, this race is more competitive. It's also interesting that Snowden is dropping this gelding back down in trip, given his improvement for the step up in distance over fences.

He looked a far more mature model last time out which will hopefully stand him in good stead to build on his win.

Back Before Midnight each-way 15:15 Ascot @

17.0

Venetia can break her winless streak with Fontaine

Haydock's final race on Saturday is another wide-open contest in the form of a 0-145 Handicap over 3m1 1/2f at 15:35. This is the same course and distance as the Betfair Chase so, as ever, it will be interesting to compare times.

Once more, it's worth siding with seven or eight-year-olds for this contest. There are two rating bandwidths to consider, those being 122-126 or 139-145. It's tricky to nail down an ideal running style as previously, this race followed the usual Haydock bias of favouring front runners. However, in the past two renewals, this race has gone to hold up horses.

Coming into this race fresh is a plus but ideally, a horse should have signed off last season with a win or, at least, run well in a good staying graded handicap.

Again, there is no definite time since a last run that is overly favoured so we're left with fewer trends to guide us than usual for this contest.

Venetia Williams 1280.jpg

I was toying between four runners and narrowing them down proved very tricky. Those four were Fontaine Collonges, Truckers Lodge, The Big Breakaway and, believe it or not, Easysland.

I did have to have a word with myself over the final two names mentioned in the list despite the pair both ticking enough boxes from a trends perspective.

However, in conjunction with my own form analysis, I eventually omitted the pair from my bets for this race.

Instead, the first selection is Fontaine Collonges who has been the subject of sustained support but remains at 6.511/2.

Back Fontaine Collonges 15:35 Haydock @

6.5

This mare made a solid start to life over fences last season and signed off with an emphatic win in a Lingfield Winter Millions Mares' Novices' Handicap Chase. That was in January and we have yet to see her since for all she was a non-runner at Cheltenham in April due to unsuitable ground.

The Venetia Williams yard are still yet to get rolling this season, most likely due to the unseasonably dry weather, causing quicker ground conditions which haven't favoured her horses.

Fontaine Collonges returns on the back of a 302-day layoff and must defy a 10lb rise for her latest success but she remains unexposed and lightly raced. This step up in trip looks likely to suit her and she has plenty more to offer.

Back Truckers Lodge each-way 15:35 Haydock @

7.0

There is no doubting the current form of one yard, that of Paul Nicholls who could hardly have wished for a better start to the season. The champion trainer sends out Truckers Lodge here who is a 10-year-old but he's a stalwart of these staying handicap chases and is very consistent to boot.

Truckers Lodge won the Midlands Grand National in 2020, that was also his last career success but he's run plenty of fair races since. He has twice placed off a higher mark than that of his Midlands National success, including in the Welsh Grand National.

He was last seen running for the third time in the Uttoxeter feature when not disgraced in sixth and he's been given a real chance by the handicapper who dropped him 4lb for that run.

He remains 4lb above his last winning mark but has Freddie Gingell enlisted to take 10lb off his back. He gives his running time and time again and should be ready to roll despite the eight-month break.

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Kate's P/L

Staked: 20pts Returns: +14pts Overall: -6pts

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