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Ladbroke Hurdle betting preview

December 21st, 2013

There are two big handicaps to focus on today, one at Ascot and one at Haydock, with one over hurdles and one over the larger obstacles.

The Ladbroke (Handicap Hurdle)   

The richest race of the day, and one of the most valuable of the season, is The Ladbroke Hurdle at Ascot and the ground at the Berkshire track remains soft after a relatively dry night.

As you would expect, all of the big yards are well represented with Willie Mullins even bringing one over from Ireland. Given the form of his yard at the minute, it isn’t surprising to see City Slicker at the head of the market and the bookies generally seem to have priced this contest up about right, so it would be surprising to see a really big priced winner.

Rather than Mullins, we think it is the champion trainer on this side of the Irish Sea who holds the key to the race, with Rolling Star and Chatterbox both looking to have big chances.

The former reportedly thrived over the summer after disappointing in last season’s Triumph and that improvement seemed to have translated to the track given his facile success at Haydock first time out. It is interesting that Barry Geraghty chooses him over Chatterbox here, but we think he may have got it wrong.

It was well publicised that Chatterbox would badly need his re-appearance run at Newbury recently, so he did really well to take second in a competitive renewal of the Gerry Fielden, especially given that the winner got first run on him that day. Chris Pea Green (a horse we really like) was just behind him and had the benefit of an outing so Chatterbox should confirm the form here and he looks a very solid each way option.

Of those at the foot of the handicap, Totalize really stands out, but he has been backed accordingly in the build up to the contest and the big prices have long since disappeared. He can still be supported at double figure odds though and he gets a big weight swing with both Flaxen Flare and Ptit Zig following their clash in the Fred Winter at the Festival in March. Any further rain would only increase his chance.

Chatterbox (ew) 3.35 Ascot 9/1 Bet365
Totalize (ew) 3.35 Ascot 11/1

Tommy Whittle Handicap Chase

With rain forecast overnight, there was chance the Tommy Whittle might turn into a real slog, but Haydock thankfully missed the worst of the weather and the ground has actually dried out slightly. 

We were tempted to tip Solix again after he ran well for us at a massive price at Newbury recently, but preference is for Loch Ba and Tartak.

Conditions should be ideal for Loch Ba and Mick Channon continues to do well with his jumpers. The horse ran better than his finishing place suggested in the Hennessy and he should be more at home in this less competitive heat.

Tartak has yet to prove he stays 3 miles, so the drying night will aid his chances here. He changed yard yet again in the summer and is extremely well handicapped based on his best efforts a few seasons ago. Hopefully, Victor Dartnell will find the key to him and he can get his head in front for the first time since January 2011.

Loch Ba (ew) 2.05 Haydock 9/1 Bet365
Tartak (ew) 2.05 Haydock 11/1 Bet365

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