Ascot & Haydock Tips for 23rd December 2023

Result: £-1.50 Results for Ascot & Haydock Tips for 23rd December 2023

Just one Saturday remains before the Christmas festivities and the Boxing Day sporting bonanza, and the ITV crew won’t let it pass by without beaming another quality afternoon of jumping action into our homes. Ascot and Haydock provide the stage for this week’s six-race salvo to keep the juices flowing through to King George Day at Kempton.

The Grade 1 Long Walk Hurdle from Ascot tops the bill as Champ and Paisley Park renew old rivalries. It’s handicapping fair all the way elsewhere on the TV card but a notch above your standard fair, with highlights including the Tommy Whittle Handicap Chase from Haydock and Ascot’s Silver Cup.

So we have a sextet of contests to potentially get the Christmas party started a little early, and here we pick out our best betting options in this week’s Saturday Racing Tips.

1:30 Betfred Tommy Whittle Handicap Chase

Class 2, 3m1½f


Having finished first and second over this course and distance last time out, Famous Bridge (5/2) and Credo (4/1) lock horns again. Just a length separated the pair at the line that day, and Credo gets a three-pound pull in the weights here. The mare appeared to be finishing the stronger of the two last time, but Famous Bridge may simply have been easing off a little with the race in safekeeping.

The Dr Richard Newland and Jamie Insole runner, Enqarde (13/2), is another to consider, having won the most recent edition of this in 2021. He then went completely off the boil but returned with a cosy win at Warwick in November, which suggests a recent wind-op may have worked the oracle. We find it very tough to split the trio mentioned, but, as the only one of the three to have previously won on heavy ground, Credo just gets the vote.

1:50 Howden Handicap Chase

Class 2, 2m3f

Black Gerry

Seven go to post in the opening handicap from Ascot in what looks like a cracking little contest. The two atop the market finished behind the talented Boothill last time out; Cap Du Mathan (3/1) was beaten by more than six lengths when in receipt of 19lbs, and Triple Trade was three lengths adrift when receiving 20lbs. Triple Trade concedes two pounds to Cap Du Mathan here, which brings the two very close together – particularly as Cap Du Mathan may come on for his first run of the season.

At his best, Grade 1 winner Shan Blue (6/1) would be the one to beat. Unfortunately, the Dan Skelton runner arrives with rather uninspiring form figures of PPP – with hopes of a revival pinned on first-time cheekpieces. Harper’s Brook (11/2) has the talent to win but has a box of punter-unfriendly tricks up his sleeve, including pulling himself up when in front.

Overall, the one we like best is the course winner, Black Gerry (5/1), from the yard of Gary Moore. This one was pulled up in the red-hot Paddy Power Gold Cup on his seasonal return, but he also failed to complete first time out last season before rebounding with an excellent five-length win at this track on his next start. He’s eight pounds higher here but is the only runner in the field with the assistance of a claiming jockey, which may prove pivotal in what looks like a very tight affair.

2:05 Betfred Supports Jack Berry House Handicap Hurdle

Class 3, 1m7½f


The JP McManus runner Jagwar (11/4) is the most interesting contender in this event. He’s yet to get his nose in front but has finished second in his two career starts to date – latterly when going down narrowly to the highly regarded Inthewaterside from the Paul Nicholls operation. There’s a decent chance that an opening mark of 119 underestimates him, but, on the downside, Inthewaterside gave that form a knock when last of four on his next outing. At a relatively short price, that’s enough for us to look elsewhere.

Bois Guillbert (11/2) also finished behind a Nicholls runner on his previous outing, this time in the shape of Blueking D’Oroux. However, that form looks more solid, with Blueking D’Oroux going on to score in Grade 2 company next time. He shouldn’t be far away, but the one we like best is the Donald McCain representative Goobinator (15/2). This seven-year-old boasts a record of 151212F at around this trip on soft or worse going, is now four pounds lower than for his most recent success – which is effectively seven pounds once the three-pound claim of Peter Kavanagh is factored in – and goes for a trainer who won this in 2020 with the smart Chti Balko.

2:25 Howden Long Walk Hurdle

Grade 1, 3m½f


The feature race provides a classic match-up between the established stars of the staying division and the younger, up-and-coming stamina-laden talents. Going for the old boys, we have the admirable trio of Champ (11/2), Paisley Park (13/2) and Dashel Drasher (13/2). All into double figures now, they are regulars in events such as this and have tasted their fair share of success. Dashel Drasher hung on by a head to deny Paisley Park last time out in the Long Distance Hurdle, but Paisley Park goes particularly well around here, having won this race in 2018, 2020, and 2022. One more win will see the Emma Lavelle star draw level with the great Baracouda as the most successful horse in the history of the event. Champ, meanwhile, makes his seasonal return, but often runs well fresh and won this in 2021.

As much as we would love to see one of the old-timers come home in front, the challenge from the youngsters looks particularly strong this year. Dan Skelton’s West Balboa (10/3) benefits from the mare’s allowance, arrives seeking a four-timer and was most impressive at Aintree. Blueking D’Oroux (12/1) has made huge strides following a wind-op and suggested he may be up to this when scoring in Grade 2 company at this track in November. However, he is up over four furlongs in trip here, which raises a doubt.

The one to be on is the Fergal O’Brien-trained six-year-old Crambo (7/2). This son of Saddler Maker has long looked like a Grade 1 performer in the making and put in a mighty effort on his first crack at this trip in a quality handicap at Haydock. Enjoying no sort of run from the halfway stage, he flew home for third, finishing just over two lengths adrift of Slate Lane when conceding 12 pounds to that rival. Granted a clear passage, we fancy he may well have won that day, and the long straight at Ascot should suit him down to the ground.

3:00 Howden Silver Cup Handicap Chase

Premier Handicap, 3m

Larry EW

The handicappers are up next as we stick to the trip over three miles, with a whole host of these arriving in tip-top form. Blackjack Magic (4/1) was backed as though defeat was out of the question in the Badger Beers Trophy and duly stayed on best of all to score by three lengths. He’s up six pounds, but runner-up Threeunderthrufive did his bit for the form when running a cracker behind Broadway Boy last weekend. Victorrino (6/1) also boasts solid claims, with his recent win coming over course and distance. A four-pound rise looks fair but does leave him shouldered with 12st, which could prove a tall order.

Looking at the past nine editions of this, no winner has carried more than 11st6lb on the day, suggesting there may be a touch of value lurking a little lower down the list. Flash Collonges (10/1) is interesting for Paul Nicholls, having travelled well for a long way in the Scottish National, but has improved for his first run in recent years. Yeah Man (11/2) may well have given Victtorino something to think about last time, but for a clumsy fall at the last, and should go well. However, the best bet for us is an each-way punt on the Gary Moore runner, Larry (12/1). A six-length course and distance winner on this sort of ground in November 2022, he’s only a pound higher here and has the benefit of a recent spin at Sandown to blow away the cobwebs.

3:35 Betfair Exchange Trophy

Premier Handicap, 1m7½f

Iberico Lord

The finale from Ascot has all the makings of a sizzling contest, with a host of intriguing contenders amongst the final field of 11. Welsh Champion Hurdle winner Nemean Lion (12/1) goes for Kerry Lee, County Hurdle champ Favoir (25/1) represents Dan Skelton, and Moveit Like Minnie (25/1) bids to make it four in a row for Nigel Twiston-Davies. The fact that they are all available at a double-figure price illustrates just how competitive this is.

Altobelli (11/2) is proving popular in the lead-up to the race and can go well if stepping forward from his runners-up finish on his seasonal return at this track, whilst Hansard (15/2) bounced right back to his best when winning in good style at Newbury. Onlyamatterofyime (6/1) is probably well-handicapped off 116, but he will need to complete the course rather than running out (as he has done the last twice) to prove it.

We fancy Nicky Henderson may hold the ace in the pack here, as we were hugely impressed by the manner in which Iberico Lord (3/1) put the Greatwood Hurdle to bed. Travelling smoothly throughout, Nico de Boinville oozed confidence as they moved into the straight before forging clear. He looked like a Grade 1 performer in the making to our eyes that day and can defy a mark of 134.