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Saturday National Hunt action

Plenty more jumps racing this weekend in the UK, and stepping up to the podium is Jack Milner, @jjmsports, to cover other highlights of Saturday's programming.

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Proper racing tomorrow, competitive action, some big fields, and more importantly; National Hunt racing that is tougher than a steak cooked by Milner senior. Seriously good; tuck in.

I’ll keep Ascot brief, as it looks like “The Nicky Henderson Memorial afternoon”, with two of his heavy artillery already deployed so relatively early in the season, and are both multiple Grade 1 winners dropping down in class. Oscar Whiskey runs over the trip he loves, two and a half miles. Unfortunately, there are few of these races at the top level, bar Aintree, so he has to make do running against lesser rivals. That being said, he is still massive at around the even money mark, and should have beaten eventual Champion Hurdle second Overturn here last year bar a mishap at the last. Banker.

Finian's Rainbow is a horse I have stayed loyal to ever since seeing him win a novice chase in the winter of 2010. I did my money on him in The Arkle in 2011 when won by Captain Chris (I still have no idea how he lost the race, go back and watch the replay), however I have remained loyal, and backed him ante post for The Champion Chase at 9/1, 8/1, 7/1 and 11/2. Suffices to say, the lad paid me back in spades. Here is your turn to chip in too, when he runs in The Amlin Chase, historically won by previous Champion Chase winners, hello Master Minded! He showed he relished a long trip when winning over two and a half miles at Aintree, and given his eventual aim for the first half of the season being The King George, I can see him winning this en route to further glory over there. Super banker.

Crossing over to the infamous Lancashire surroundings of Haydock Park, where the feature is the Betfair Chase, won an incredible four times by the steeplechaser of a lifetime; Kauto Star. He will be parading, and with him not running, and only five runners taking on the short priced favourite Long Run, it isn’t really something to get excited about, and not one I fancy having a punt in. The value look to lay in the handicaps and the first one of those is where CROWNING JEWEL goes for Keith and James Reveley. He looks the least exposed and ironically the best handicapped challenger as opposed to those from ‘sexier’ stables. However he finished a good third last time out go Cheltenham winner Ifandbutwhynot, what looks like a good race on paper, and a form line through that looks rather strong.

QUARTZ DE THAIX travelled so strongly last time out for the in-form Venetia Williams stable, and I can’t see any reason why the eight year old can’t follow up next time out in the 2.00. Although up 9lb, watching the race live, I was seriously impressed with the ease of the victory, an eventual seven lengths win, and although the hike in the weights, he should be fresher and fitter for the outing.

I was tempted to get stuck into SIVOLA DE SIVOLA in the week, when double his current price, but the continued support, as well as stable form, has even further enhanced his chances in the big handicap over the infamous fixed brush hurdles. He finished a good fourth last time out in a competitive handicap hurdle when well backed on the day, and considering the third has since come out and run well, with Viking Blond performing with aplomb in the big handicap chase last Saturday.

The David Pipe team are coming off the back of a tremendous time of things, with three winners and two seconds at The Paddy Power meeting, and he can continue the trend with MASTER OVERSEER. He was a winner of the Midlands Grand National under a great ride from Tom Scudamore, in the manner of a very progressive animal. He has form on soft and also heavy going, and will take a lot of beating in the gruelling contest given he stays longer than the proverbial mother in law.

Ascot – Finian's Rainbow (2.10) & Oscar Whisky (2.45) – Nap Double

Haydock 12.55 – Crowning Jewel
Haydock 14.00 – Quartz De Thaix
Haydock 14.30 – Sivola De Sivola
Haydock 15.40 – Master Overseer
Bet advised - Each Way Lucky 15

The Yorkshireman - Jack Milner


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