1.30pm Haydock Tips & Betting Preview 21/01/2017

Quite an inspiring contest with some high-class winners over the years including Diamond Harry, Our Mick, Taquin De Seuil, Wakanda, and most recently the very class Bristol De Mai who is engaged later here in the Peter Marsh Chase at 3.15pm. Eight runnings in the last ten years have seen four winning favourites and Champion trainer Paul Nicholls ought to make that favourite number five thanks to Politologue (11/8) who is yet another successful French import for the Ditcheat yard. Decent enough over hurdles he looks even better over fences with two wins from two starts over two furlongs further, one here at Haydock and the other at Ascot. He beat Vintage Clouds by ten lengths on his debut over fences before comfortably accounting for the useful Rock The Kasbah which suggests he is well above average, and he already has five pounds or more in hand on these rivals on official ratings with more improvement likely to come with experience. Pula obviously thinks a lot of him and was quoted straight after his last race saying as much “Next season Politologue will be ready to take on the big boys, but we won´t do that this season. We will get some experience into him. I am not that mad about going too far with him this season. Two miles four, five or six is about as far as he needs to go….”. It appears the RSA at Cheltenham is currently off the agenda so regardless of how well he does here antepost bets are not advised, but he is a useful tool and can win this as he goes up through the ranks over the years ahead.

The Malcolm Jefferson trained Waiting Patiently (4/1) looks to be his main danger and has a similar profile with a two wins from two runs record over fences. Lightly raced over hurdles he was always seen as a chaser in the making and so it has proved so far with victories at Sedgefield (by seven lengths), and Newcastle (by two and a quarter). Both were over two miles and half a furlong so this is a step up in trip, but he hasn’t looked as if he was stopping in either race and has a hurdles win over two and a half miles to his name already. This is a step up in class on paper at least but he seems to be improving race on race and certainly looks the biggest danger to the selection here even if the stable are lacking recent winners with eight losing runners in the past two weeks.

Its ‘afreebie 5/1) represents the popular Dan Skelton yard but even they are struggling for winners lately with one from their last twenty runners and a very poor 5% strike rate. That is hardly the fault of the seven-year-old gelding who has contributed two wins from his three starts this season with a seven-length beating of World Hurdle winner Cole Harden at Wetherby last time out. He likes to make the running and may well go on here given the chance, but others look to have that little bit more class about them and a place may be the best connections can realistically hope for here this afternoon.

Those punters who follow the statistics will note that trainer Tom George is in good form of late with a 24% strike rate and as Bun Doran (7/1) has won half of his starts over fences, (one out of two), he is not without a shout here. Last time out he put five lengths of daylight between himself and Ash Park over two and a half miles at Newcastle, landing the odds for favourite backers at 11/8 with a good deal left in the tank if needed. This is clearly a lot tougher and he will need to improve again to take a hand in the finish but he is inexperienced (as are his rivals), and seems sure to go well despite having to find seven pounds on official ratings to get close to the selection.

Two outsiders left in this small field and the many followers of trainer Colin Tizzard will be happy to see the price of Solatentif (14/1) for a horse receiving weight from four of his five rivals. So far he has only had the one run over fences when a two and a half-length runner up to Baron Alco at Plumpton, keeping on strongly and suggesting a step up to this sort of trip may bring further improvement. The winner is well regarded at the Gary Moore yard so the form may be better than it looks at first glance, and with a 13% strike rate in the last fortnight the stable are ticking over better than most, and he could yet be the surprise package.

Lastly we have Maximiser (16/1) who represents the Simon West yard but has a bit to prove having pulled up at Newbury on his return this season at Newbury behind Unnowhatimeanharry over hurdles. He has been over fences with a second to Silsol at Carlisle and a fall behind Three Musketeers at Newbury in a decent race and may well take on Its’afreebie for the lead here which will at least make life interesting

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