Horse Racing Tips | 17th December 2016

RACING expert Graeme Johnston takes a look at the best bets for Saturday’s cards.

14:25 Ascot

The Long Walk hurdle is one of the top staying hurdle races of the season and this looks a solid if unspectacular renewal. In a division lacking a star it gives an opportunity for someone to stake a claim for favouritism in the World Hurdle and I’m very excited about one of these.

UknowwhatImeanharry took two seasons to break his maiden over hurdles and this time last season he was miles away from being a Grade 1 winner. Harry Fry has worked miracles with him and has seen him win six out six under his care. It’s been quite a transformation.

He won the Albert Bartlett at Cheltenham last season and returned this season with his most impressive performance winning the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury comfortably. He is clearly the best of the home team and I think he has the beating of the French challenger Alex De Larredeya. He looks a solid bet to win here.

15:00 Ascot

The Lavazza Jolie Silver Cup Handicap Chase is raced over 3 miles and this looks a typically difficult puzzle to solve. In a race mixed with youth and experience I’m backing a horse on the up to take this.

Minella Daddy is bred to make a better chaser than he was a hurdler and so far he’s proving his breeding correct. A winner of two of his three chase starts he’s well on his road to becoming a top staying chaser. Last time out he won a handicap chase over course and distance and he’s a horse very much in an upward curve.

He comes in to this with a very manageable racing weight and with conditions perfect for him I expect him to go very close here. Eduard ran a really promising return to action last time out and I think he is a danger here, but Minella Daddy is the most progressive runner in the field and I plan to back him to run a huge race here.

15:35 Ascot

The Wessex Youth Trust Handicap Hurdle is a typically strong Ascot handicap and there are any number of possible winners in the line up. Tony Martin sends over three and looks like he has a strong hand here, but I think he will come up short.

Jolly’s Cracked It was last seen winning this race and he has seems to enjoy his time at Ascot with a 75% strike rate here. It’s concerning that he hasn’t been seen since however his stable are more than capable of readying one for a big race from a break.

Golden Spear comes in to this with a feather weight and looks the most likely of the Tony Martin team and
Consul De Thaix is the most likely winner from the home team but I fully expect Jolly’s Cracked It to be a very tough nut to crack here.

Graeme Johnston’s Best Bets

14:25 Ascot – UknowwhatImeanharry

15:00 Ascot – Minnela Daddy

15:35 Ascot – Jolly’s Cracked It