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Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Betfair Chase at Haydock 2013

Absolute cracker of a race! It's like having the Gold Cup in November.

Today's Irish Independent article:

I WAS flicking through some science magazines in the local library last week, when I came across an interesting article about handedness. Apparently, around 92 percent of men and 90 percent of women are right-handed, but scientists are still unsure as to the exact reasons why. Most agree that genetics plays a part but it's also believed that the left and right sides of the brain divide up the body's tasks in different ways - with most brains preferring to delegate manual work to the right side of the body. There's nothing too startling about that but I did find it fascinating to learn that animals too are not immune to handedness. In animals, a preference for one side of the body over the other is called laterality and it can be seen in lots of types of creatures including horses. In the betting world, people often argue whether or not it's possible for a horse to have a preference for running at a left or right-handed racecourse. I used to be sceptical about this, but scientists have shown that if a horse's laterality is on the right-hand side, he will take bigger strides with his right foreleg. And if he takes bigger strides with his right foreleg, this effectively pushes him in a slightly left direction when running. If this is true, then today's Betfair Chase (3.0 Haydock) favourite Bobs Worth may well have a dominant right side, as his record around left-handed courses is seven wins from seven races. Right-handed, he's raced five times, winning two. Coincidence? Maybe so - but it does give me that bit of extra confidence as I back him today at 9/4 around left-handed Haydock. This year's renewal is arguably the best we've seen since the race was established in 2005 so it will take a lot more than the correct laterality for Nicky Henderson's charge to cross the line ahead of his seven rivals. But in my book, he's the best staying chaser in training and the eight-year-old showed true character and grit to win the Gold Cup, having looked well beaten three out. He also goes well fresh, so there's no concerns over the fact that he hasn't been seen since Cheltenham. Paul Nicholls' Silviniaco Conti was in contention when falling in the Gold Cup but whether or not he would have had the stamina to see off Bobs Worth is something we'll never know. He has a chance to prove himself again today but with the pace likely to be strong, I have my concerns. The seven-year-old's jumping was a bit sloppy in the Betfred Bowl at Aintree last time which is a slight worry - although he did win this race last year and if he gets around unscathed, it will make for one hell of a contest. For those looking for an each-way bet, I wouldn't put you off Cue Card around 7/1. He was disappointing in the Haldon Gold Cup Chase at Exeter last time but he was giving weight all-round and an early mistake scuppered any real chance of victory. Dynaste and Tidal Bay have claims too but Bobs Worth's consistency makes him something special and I'm confident he'll kick off this season's campaign with the best possible start. 

Each-way outsider
AT 33/1 and higher, bookmakers give Monetary Fund very little hope of winning the Betfair Cash Out 'Fixed Brush' Handicap Hurdle at Haydock (2.55). With Grands Crus, Dynaste and Diamond Harry among the recent winners of this race, Monetary Fund does look a little out of his depth; yet he's consistent enough and rarely makes mistakes. A win looks unlikely but I'd be surprised if he runs as badly as those odds suggest. 

SOCCER: THE Premier League makes a welcome return this weekend and it's a big day Merseyside as Everton welcome Liverpool to Goodison Park. Second-placed Liverpool have done precious wrong this term and are now odds-on for a top four finish but the Toffees have been holding their own too, losing just once away to City. If you ask me, this one has draw written all over it (12/5).
RACING: OF those horses which have a mark, Flashy Queen has a couple of pounds in hand in the 32 Free At Stallions Maiden Stakes at Lingfield (12.20). She was a little one-paced when making her handicap debut at Wolverhampton back in September but she got herself back on track when runner-up in a maiden at Bath last time. 5lb claimer George Chaloner is a jockey to keep an eye on and early odds of 2/1 about the filly seem a little high. 

Today's selections
12.20 Lingfield: Flashy Queen
2.05 Ascot: Al Ferof
2.40 Ascot: Zarkandar
2.55 Haydock: Monetary Fund (e/w)
3.0 Haydock: Bobs Worth

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