Merseyside’s Haydock Park plays host to the UK’s first Grade 1 race of the season. The Betfair Chase is the feature on the card on today. The race is held over three miles and two furlongs and is one of three races known as ‘The Triple Crown’.

There looks to be another small field this year, and only one of the entrants has competed in this race before, albeit a notable one.

It is hard to avoid the potential of a hat-trick in this race for Bristol De Mai. The eight-year-old is unbeaten at Haydock Park and looks for his fifth-course win today.

The grey gelding is trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies and will be ridden by Daryl Jacob. However, an upset could well be on the cards in my opinion.

Nigel Twiston-Davies with Venetia Williams as he collected from the winners’ enclosure at Aintree

A £1,000,000 ‘Triple Crown’ bonus is at stake to any horse to win all three Of The Jockey Club events. First, one being here in the Betfair Chase. The other two are the King George VI Chase at Kempton Park on Boxing Day, and then to Cheltenham in March for the Gold Cup.

So here are my selections for every race on the card on this afternoon:

First Race – 12:05

The card begins with a good Listed contest for novice hurdlers. Jamie Snowden will likely be the trainer of the favourite, through Thebannerkingrebel, where Gavin Sheehan takes the ride.

A worthy mention goes to Glory And Fortune, for Tom Lacey and jockey Robbie Power. A Listed winner at Cheltenham on New Years Day in a NHF race.
However, I think a horse at a bigger price, with more personal connections to me, has a great chance. CALVA D’AUGE.

Second Race – 12:40

This race is a valuable Class 2 contest with £31,000 awarded to the winner. Singlefarmpayment was 28lengths behind Tiger Roll in the Grand National last time out and is now three years without a win. My pick goes to CRIEVEHILL now that Lil Rockerfeller opted to go to Ascot. Under top weight for the Twiston-Davies team after an easy Class 3 Wetherby win.

Third Race – 13:15

The leaders in the market are likely to be Midnight Shadow and JARVEYS PLATE. The latter of which is a Listed winner, back down in class. A win against Reserve Tank at Chepstow sets him up very well here.
After a fall at Carlisle, when travelling well, Sue Smith will be hoping that Midnight Shadow bounces back just 12 days later. However, it’s the inform Fergal O’Brien chestnut that gets my vote.

Fourth Race – 13:50

A middle-distance handicap hurdle where Whoshotthesheriff, for Philip Kirby, will lead the betting alongside KATESON. The second horse mentioned, ridden by Tom Scudamore for Tom Lacey, is the standout for me. Beaten 11 lengths in the Mersey Novices Hurdle to Reserve Tank, Brewinupastorm and Angels Breath. These three have all won since April, I feel this will be another.

Fifth Race – 14:25

Next up is the Grade 3 Stayers hurdle, where Lisnagar Oscar goes back over the smaller obstacles after two disappointing chasing runs in the past eight weeks. Brian Hughes takes the reins for Rebecca Curtis. My pick, however, goes to ASK BEN for an each-way bet. Two wins from four so far, including a 50-1 debut victory over Beakstown, and a second-place finish to Lisnagar Oscar in February over course and distance.

Sixth Race – 15:00

The biggest race today, with the smallest field. Four runners declared include hat-trick seeking Bristol De Mai, for owners Simon Munir and Isaac Souede.

The Ryanair Chase winner, Frodon, runs for Paul Nicholls, who has Bryony Frost riding in the hope that their love affair can continue.

The Charlie Hall Chase winner, Ballyoptic, is another one for Twiston-Davies, and his son, Sam, will take the ride.

Something about LOSTINTRANSLATION makes me seriously believe that he can go close to the aforementioned ‘Triple Crown’. So definitely gets the nod this end.

Seventh Race – 15:40

A marathon event over three-and-a-half miles and my choice goes to LATE ROMANTIC for Oliver Greenall. Henry Brooke is riding here this time, instead of Paddy Brennan, who won at Wetherby last time out. A Lincolnshire National(Market Rasen) third proves his staying characteristics. Key players to oppose are Know The Score and Diger Daudaie, for David Pipe and Charlie Longsdon respectively.

Myself, Thomas Ellis and Paul Kelly did our more in-depth preview to the meeting this week on the MerseySportLive Podcast #7.

Keep following our tips throughout the week on MSL, and I hope we can continue to find you some winners.

*A note to say that some of our selections from the podcast have now been declared as non-runners

Feature image by Carine06 via Flickr through Creative Commons Licence