Andy Holding has two ante-post fancies on Haydock's Betfair Chase card this Saturday.
Fixed Brush Handicap Hurdle (2.25)
Following a promising return to action at Chepstow after a tendon injury, CAID DU BERLAIS (best price 9-1) took advantage of a slipping handicap mark to gain an overdue success at Aintree next time out and given the manner of his victory that day, he rates a decent bet to duplicate that stunning performance.
Clearly relishing a step up to three miles, Paul Nicholls’ charge never came out of third gear throughout that well-run contest at the Merseyside venue and although the handicapper saw fit to raise him 8lb for that romp, connections couldn’t have complained too much if he’d been dealt a more severe hike. Given another chance to race over the same trip on a flat, left handed track on soft ground while seemingly right on top of his game, the son of Westerner also has the excellent conditional, Stan Shepherd, to top off the list of positives.
Betfair Chase (3.00)
SILVINIACO CONTI (best price 8-1)has been a wonderful servant for connections over the years and although he may not quite be the force of old, he still proved at Down Royal last time out that there might be another big, Grade 1 prize left in him before he retires to the conservatory with the pipe and slippers. Racing with all his old verve and enthusiasm, Paul Nicholls’ inmate had most of his field well on the stretch at the Co Down venue and if it wasn’t for the much younger and spritelier Valseur Lido, we’d have been staring at another master training performance by the Ditcheat handler.
That said, the son of Dom Alco still finished well clear of the remainder of the field which included the likes of Galway Plate hero, Lord Scoundrel, Grand National runner-up, The Last Samurai and Gold Cup third Dom Poli, so it could hardly be described as a backward step. Furthermore, on closer inspection of the time figure the winner produced, Conti clearly bumped into a rising star capable of hitting the ball out of the park when conditions are in his favour and now returning to the scene of many of his best performances himself, the 10-year-old has a decent chance of adding to his impressive stats in this race (1312).