Haydock Park stages an exciting eight-race card tomorrow, Saturday, February 16, including the feature £100,000 G3 William Hill Grand National Trial Handicap Chase (3.35pm) and a pair of G2 contests over hurdles.
Top class hurdler Yanworth (Alan King/Aidan Coleman) makes his seasonal reappearance in the £40,000 G2 William Hill Rendlesham Hurdle (1.55pm, seven runners) over an extended three miles.
Nine-year-old Yanworth, winner of the G1 32Red.com Christmas Hurdle at Kempton Park and the G1 Ryanair Stayers Hurdle at Aintree during the 2016/17 campaign, has not raced since coming home sixth in last year’s G1 Sun Racing Stayers’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March.
Clyne (Evan Williams/Leighton Aspell) has been knocking on the door in races like this and ended last season with an excellent third in the G1 Betway Aintree Hurdle during the Randox Health Grand National Festival in April.
The nine-year-old finished second in the G2 Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury on his comeback in November, though was slightly below that level when fifth in the G2 Dornan Engineering Relkeel Hurdle over an extended two and a half miles at Cheltenham on January 1.
Trainer Evan Williams said: “Clyne is in good form.
“If the ground had been softer, he would have run in the Champion Hurdle Trial at Haydock last month, but instead we have had to wait for this race.
“The good ground at Cheltenham on his latest start did not suit and that is why I won’t run him on good ground again.
“There is soft in the going description at Haydock – we are looking forward to running.”
Last year’s William Hill Rendlesham Hurdle victor Donna’s Diamond (Chris Grant/Callum Bewley) is aiming to become the first dual winner of the race since French raider Kasbah Bliss captured back-to-back renewals in 2008 and 2009.
Another interesting runner is 10-year-old Kilcooley (Nicky Richards/Ryan Day), a two-time G2 scorer in his pomp for Charlie Longsdon, who is having his for start for 1,066 days.
William Hill Rendlesham Hurdle, William Hill prices: 5/4 Yanworth; 11/4 Clyne; 6/1 Kilcooley; 8/1 Shades Of Midnight; 10/1 Petticoat Tails; 12/1 Donna’s Diamond; 25/1 Man Of Plenty. 1/4 Odds Place 1, 2
There should be Grand National clues aplenty in the £100,000 G3 William Hill Grand National Trial Handicap Chase (3.35pm) over an extended three and a half miles.
Nine of the 16 runners tomorrow have entries in the £1-million Randox Health Grand National at Aintree on April 6 including Welsh Grand National second Ramses De Teille (David Pipe/David Noonan), Royal Vacation (Colin Tizzard/Paddy Brennan), Yala Enki (Venetia Williams/Hugh Nugent (7)), Impulsive Star (Neil Mulholland/Mr Sam Waley-Cohen), Red Infantry (Ian Williams/Tom O’Brien) and Carole’s Destrier (Neil Mulholland/Aidan Coleman).
The 2018 William Hill Grand National Trial Handicap Chase victor Vieux Lion Rouge (David Pipe/Tom Scudamore) is also entered in the Aintree spectacular, as are the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained pair of Ballyoptic (Tom Bellamy) and Ballyarthur (Jamie Bargary).
William Hill Grand National Trial, William Hill bet:
13/2 Ramses De Teillee; 15/2 Impulsive Star; 8/1 Yala Enki, Robinsfirth; 10/1 Wakanda; 11/1 Royal Vacation, The Two Amigos; 12/1 Ballyoptic, Vieux Lion Rouge; 14/1 Red Infantry; 16/1 Ballyarthur, Carole’s Destrier, Chef d'Oeuvre, Pobbles Bay; 18/1 Ah Littleluck, 20/1 Bishops Road, 1/4 Odds Place 1, 2, 3, 4
The other G2 contest on tomorrow’s excellent card is the £30,000 G2 Albert Bartlett Prestige Novices' Hurdle (4.10pm, 10 runners) over an extended three miles, a recognised trial for the G1 Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival next month.
Kateson (Tom Lacey/Tom Scudamore) sets the standard with a rating of 141, following his good third behind Champ in the G1 Challow Novices’ Hurdle at Newbury on December 29.
Others to note include Rockpoint (Colin Tizzard/David Noonan) and Lisnagar Oscar (Rebecca Curtis/Sean Bowen), who were first and second in a G2 contest over this distance at Cheltenham in December, plus G2 Ballymore Leamington Novices' Hurdle second Stoney Mountain (Henry Daly/Andrew Tinkler) and the dual hurdles scorer Ask Ben (Graeme McPherson/Kielan Woods).
Britain’s leading juvenile hurdler so far this season, Quel Destin (Paul Nicholls/Sean Bowen), runs in the opening £20,000 William Hill Victor Ludorum Juvenile Hurdle (12.50pm, four runners) over two miles.
Quel Destin has won his last four starts over hurdles and defeated Ajdali by a neck in the G1 Finale Juvenile Hurdle at Chepstow on December 27. That followed G2 triumphs at Cheltenham and Doncaster.
The opposition is Torpillo (Nigel Twiston-Davies/Tom Bellamy), who has won his two starts on these shores at Sandown Park by an aggregate of 45 lengths, Newcastle maiden hurdle victor Fanzio (Richard Hobson/Paul O’Brien) and Ludlow winner Capone (Charlie Mann/Gavin Sheehan).
Classy mares Jester Jet (Tom Lacey/Tom Scudamore) and If You Say Run (Paul Nicholls/Sean Bowen), both rated over 140, re-oppose in the £20,000 Listed OLBG.com Mares’ Hurdle (1.25pm – five runners) over just shy of two miles and three furlongs, which has been re-routed to Haydock Park following the abandonment of racing at Warwick last weekend.
Jester Jet and If You Say Run were separated by a length and a quarter when second and third behind Magic Of Light in the G2 OLBG.com Mares’ Hurdle at Ascot on January 19.
Tomorrow’s line-up also includes promising Wetherby scorer Mega Yeats (Ruth Jefferson/Jamie Hamilton), Sensulano (Noel Williams/Leighton Aspell) and unbeaten four-year-old Laskadine (Nicky Henderson/Aidan Coleman).
Randox Health Grand National contender Blaklion (Nigel Twiston-Davies/Jordan Nailor (7)) heads the weights on 11st 12lb for the Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle (2.55pm, 13 runners) over an extended three miles.
The Haydock Park racing is completed by the £16,400 William Hill Leading Racecourse Bookmaker Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase (2.25pm, eight runners) and the £15,000 Walrus Open Hunters’ Chase (4.45pm, eight runners), which sees the seasonal return of Pacha Du Polder (Paul Nicholls/Miss Harriet Tucker), winner of the St James’s Place Foxhunter Chase at the Cheltenham Festival for the last two years.
The going is Good to Soft on the Hurdle course and Good to Soft, Soft in places on the Chase course.