It’s got the feel of a real proper jumps racing weekend with top-class action at Ascot and Haydock headlining our horse racing tips this Saturday.
When the mud starts to fly it’s helpful to do your research, so we’ve done exactly that thanks to this week’s edition of the Racing Post Weekender, and pulled together a tasty 167/1 acca for some of Saturday’s biggest UK races.
Papagana (1:50 Ascot – Saturday)
The likeable Papagana will not have things her own way against Grand National runner-up Magic Of Light in Saturday’s bet365 Mares’ Hurdle at Ascot but can come out on top.
Trained by Oliver Sherwood, the seven-year-old is set to be retired at the end of the season and connections are keen to make hay.
In Papagana, they have a talented mare who is thought better than ever – something her last two efforts demonstrate. She bolted up in a mares’ Listed race at Kempton in November and backed that up with a fine third against the boys in the Grade One Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot before Christmas.
Versatile with regards to ground, she has massive claims if repeating those performances.
Midnight Tune (2:40 Haydock – Saturday)
Heavy ground looks to be the order of the day at Haydock on Saturday and the bottomless conditions will be just what the doctor ordered for the Anthony Honeyball-trained Midnight Tune.
All along the trainer has targeted the mud-loving nine-year-old at the Grade Two Peter Marsh Chase in the hope that the rain would come at the Lancashire course.
Midnight Tune has made every yard of the running to land her last two races, including over two miles at Exeter last time out, a distance that would have been the bare minimum for her.
She moves back up to three miles and one-and-a-half furlongs at the weekend and her front-running style will mean that she is clear of any trouble that may unfold.
Cornerstone Lad (3:15 Haydock – Saturday)
Cornerstone Lad can prove his victory in the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle was no fluke by following up in the Grade Two New One Unibet Hurdle at Haydock on Saturday.
Runner-up Buveur D’Air was not at his best at Newcastle and Cornerstone Lad enjoyed an easy lead, but it was still an impressive performance and the expected testing conditions will once again suit Micky Hammond’s six-year-old.
Defi Du Seuil (3:35 Ascot – Saturday)
Defi Du Seuil got the better of Un De Sceaux at Sandown last month and a similar result is much the likeliest outcome in this Grade One.
Philip Hobbs’s seven-year-old has proved to be a real money-spinner for connections down the years and has looked in the form of his life this season, winning the Shloer at Cheltenham before his recent Tingle Creek success.
He had only a neck in hand at the finish that day, but he had the race in safe-keeping before idling on the run-in and he is clearly the one to beat on that evidence.