Paul Ferguson has one selection for us on Saturday; Duke Des Champs in the Haydock 16:25. Compare odds and bet.
A fairly quiet Saturday from a punting perspective, with little standing out in the handicaps, but Duke Des Champs (4:25) is a very progressive novice and looks the horse to beat in Haydock’s Grade 2 Prestige Novices’ Hurdle.
Philip Hobbs’ six-year-old stepped forward on previous form when running away with a novice hurdle at Ascot last month and the step up in trip looks sure to bring about further improvement. The Robin Des Champs gelding looked better with every yard he covered last time and, with deep ground not an issue, he looks hard to oppose.
Available at odds-against overnight (best price 6-5 with Stan James at the time of writing), he can provide his trainer with a second success in this race since 2009, when the heavily backed Tarablaze obliged.
Of the opposition, the step up in trip threatens to bring about considerable improvement in the likeable Vintage Clouds and, given his position in the betting, he could be worth considering in the w/o Duke Des Champs market when that opens up.
Over in Ireland, I’m looking forward to seeing French import Townshend in the 2m4f handicap hurdle. Willie Mullins’ five-year-old, who impressed me when winning at Auteuil in June, was trading pretty short in what looks a decent heat, however, so a watching brief is called for. He could be Cheltenham bound if successful here.
4:25 Haydock: Duke Des Champs; 10/11 888Sport
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