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Racing has been at the mercy of the bizarre weather this week. Saturday’s card at Ascot was abandoned on Friday morning because of a waterlogged course. In
the extraordinary circumstances, the staff at Haydock deserve plenty of credit if, as seems likely, the course and card survive a final inspection on Saturday morning.
The Peter Marsh Chase is the feature and Wild Cane Ridge looks the one to back. He loves the course and the conditions, as his impressive second to Kandjar D’Allier in the Tommy Whittle Chase last time out demonstrates. The winner that day is a decent benchmark, as is the third home Gallant Approach. Wild Cane Ridge deserves a decent prize and on Saturday he has an ideal chance.
There are also two interesting trials with Cheltenham in mind. The Bonusprint.com Champion Hurdle Trial has very few genuine contenders for the big race. One exception is Nicky Henderson’s Afsoun. He was an impressive juvenile last term and won well first time out at Newbury. He fell in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton and, though it is hypothetical, he would have played a hand in the finish, so well was he travelling. The rest of the field are basically exposed and short of class, but one sure to relish the ground in Torkinking.
In the Bonusprint.com Novices’ Chase, it is hard to see what will beat My Way De Solzen. The winner of the Ladbroke World Hurdle at Cheltenham has won three of his four starts over fences. He will relish the conditions and get every yard of the trip. Phar Bleu, re-routed from Ascot, is next best.
1:25 Afsoun (win)
1:55 Wild Cane Ridge (win)
3:00 My Way De Solzen (win)