Today’s free horse racing tips: The Betting Spy’s top picks for Saturday's racing at Ascot, Haydock and Wincanton
STORM DENNIS could be the menace tomorrow and will surely be the only obstacle that may prevent Cyrname winning the Ascot Chase again.
He is not a betting proposition but CAPTAIN DRAKE in the Swinley Chase at 2.25 definitely is.
He was also entered for the Grade 2 Reynoldstown Chase earlier but that looks red-hot, so connections have opted for the easier – and, strangely, much more valuable – handicap.
Captain Drake has only had three starts over fences and looked (as much as could be seen through the fog!) like one to follow when a well-backed winner at Exeter on New Year's Day.
He has been hiked up a hefty 13lb but the runner-up has since run a blinder against fast-improving Worthy Farm (a big player in the 4.32 at Wincanton) and the first two were miles clear.
Domaine De L'Isle deserves to be favourite as he chases a four-timer as track and trip will be fine. But he is 26lb higher than when his run started.
Valtor is back to a decent mark and should go well while Regal Encore's excellent track record makes him of interest.
At Haydock it can pay to give EMITOM another chance in the Rendlesham Hurdle (2.05).
He flopped at Cheltenham on his return but he was a top novice last season, the only one to get anywhere near Champ in a Grade 1 at Aintree's Grand National meeting.
He stays the trip and is fair value to beat the favourite The Worlds End, who has to concede a 6lb penalty as a Grade 1 winner.
That success came in Ascot's Long Walk Hurdle in December but only four ran and L'Ami Serge seemed to throw the race away. The winner may have been flattered.
West Approach is unreliable and Clyne is probably better at shorter so if Emitom returns to his best he clearly holds a massive chance.
YALA ENKI can win the feature, the Grand National Trial (3.15), for the second time.
He took the prize two years ago when trained by Venetia Williams and his defeat 12 months ago can be put down to the good to soft ground as the 10-year-old is a real mudlark who stays forever.
He looks set to have his ideal conditions this year. He won at Taunton last month and his earlier Welsh National third, with Elegant Escape, The Two Amigos and Pobbles Bay behind, is top handicap form.
This looks easier and, if all goes to plan, it will be next stop the National where he will hold strong claims IF he gets his ground.
Vintage Clouds won very easily here last month but the race fell apart a bit and he has been smashed with an 11lb rise.
A bigger danger could be Lord Du Mesnil, who has won his last two starts here and, although up in the weights and in class, as a seven-year-old could be up to defying the handicapper again.
I spy an eyecatcher…
The form of Saturday's Betfair Hurdle at Newbury invariably proves strong and that looks certain to be the case again.
Paul Nicholls won it with 33-1 shot Pic D'Orhy, and also saddled the fifth home, TAMAROC DU MATHAN.
The five-year-old stayed on well on just his fourth career start and has plenty of improvement in him, especially when he is stepped up in trip.
The unlucky horse of the race was probably MACK THE MAN, who was making good progress through the field when brought down by last-flight faller Lightly Squeeze.
This effort proved that Mack The Man can handle better ground and showed how well handicapped he is.
His Sandown win in December has worked out superbly and a return to that track for next month's Imperial Cup will surely be on his agenda.
QUEL DESTIN looks like a solid favourite in Wincanton's Kingwell Hurdle (2.45).
He has won seven of 11 starts since joining Paul Nicholls and looked better than ever when beating Call Me Lord at Sandown last month on testing ground. He is still only five and may yet do even better.
Elgin won this in 2018 and would be a danger on that form but his trainer has indicated that he will be better for the run after his long absence.
Ch'tibello chased Elgin home two years ago and was second in 2017 as well. He could well notch an unlikely hat-trick!
Song For Someone has done well in handicaps and should run his race although his front-running style may set this up for the closers.
On Sunday ENTANGLING can land the 3.25 at Kempton.
He was unsuited by a muddling pace at Lingfield last time but still looked as though he was ahead of the handicapper. He is proven in this grade and over course and distance.
Sky Defender and Stamford Raffles should ensure there is no hanging around which will suit Entangling's fast-finishing style.
All Yours and Kyllachy Gala both have good track records but are up in grade and are much more exposed.
Deal A Dollar has been racing over further and Calling The Wind has been raised 6lb for winning last time on Fibresand at Southwell, a very different test.
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