Carberry can see Irish raider home
While the Grade One Victor Chandler Chase at Ascot is the glamour event on what will be a busy afternoon's racing if the weather allows, it is the Peter Marsh Chase at Haydock that appeals most from a betting perspective.
A field of 13 is set to go to post for what is traditionally one of the better three-mile handicap chases and there has been support in recent days for the outsiders Madison Du Berlais and Atouchbetweenacara. Madison Bu Berlais was tailed off in last week's King George, while Atouchbetweenacara ran a similar sort of race when he couldn't cope with Imperial Commander over today's course and distance in November.
Given that the latter tends to produce his best on good ground, it's hard to see him justifying the market confidence, though the case for Madison Du Berlais is interesting, given that he has been dropped 13lbs since he finished fourth in his last handicap a year ago. All the same, he didn't exactly set the world alight last week.
Maktu, which ran freely before taking fifth in the Welsh National a fortnight ago, will be a far more interesting proposition now. He should settle better today, he goes well at Haydock, and he is favourably weighted with the in-form King Fontaine, the horse that beat him by a head on his reappearance back in November.
At 6/1, Maktu is a solid each-way option at least, but Becauseicouldntsee, the sole Irish challenger, is also a cracking proposition at around the same odds. Noel Glynn's horse continues to improve and is slightly less exposed than Maktu.
Having got off the mark over fences at Fairyhouse last February, Becauseicouldntsee was an excellent second to Poker De Sivola in the National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham. This term, following a pipe-opener over hurdles, he kept on well to again be second to Majestic Concorde in the Paddy Power Chase, drawing six lengths clear of Pomme Tiepy, the favourite for today's Thyestes Chase at Gowran Park.
The son of Beneficial remains on the up, then, and it will be a surprise if he doesn't figure prominently under Nina Carberry. Granted, Becauseicouldntsee has plenty of weight on his back with 11st 3lb, but, on a line through a number of the horses that finished behind him at Cheltenham, his English rating of 144 looks justified.
Donald McCain and Jason Maguire, a potent partnership around the Liverpool venue, are expected to feature prominently throughout the programme. Aside from Peddlers Cross, which should have no trouble landing short odds in the Champion Hurdle trial, Wymott appeals strongly in the novice chase.
Robinson Collonges and Cape Tribulation are two smart horses bidding to get their seasons back on track here, while Wishfull Thinking is already a Grade Two winner over fences. Wymott doesn't have such a high profile, but he has won both his chase starts, beating two subsequent winners into second and third at Exeter last time.
Down at Ascot, the unstoppable Nicky Henderson and Barry Geraghty axis looks to have an even stronger contingent on display than McCain and Maguire do at Haydock.
Having trained five winners at Kempton last Saturday, and 18 in the past fortnight, Henderson is putting it up to Paul Nicholls in the trainers' championship.
With that form being factored into the market, it is worth trying to find value among the opposition. Bygones Of Brid, luckless when unseating at Kempton last week, appeals at a big price in the Grade Two handicap hurdle. Henderson's Triumph Hurdle winner Soldatino is the one to beat, but Graham Lee's mount has fair form behind Peddlers Cross, and he could make the frame in what is, admittedly, a hot race.
Closer to home, The Midnight Club is also put forward as a speculative option in the rescheduled Thyestes Chase. Willie Mullins' 10-year-old has plenty to do off 11st 3lb on his seasonal reappearance, but he will handle the conditions, and he was beaten only five lengths in a Grade One on his most recent start at Punchestown in April.
Best bet: Becauseicouldntsee