Megan Nicholls Racing Tips – Ascot & Haydock

BetMGM ambassador Megan Nicholls offers her insight into the world of horse racing as she brings her first-rate knowledge exclusively to our blog every week.

In this entry the former jockey, who rode more than 110 winners before turning her hand to television punditry, casts her eye over Saturday’s meetings at Ascot and Haydock.

Saturday Racing Tips

Haydock 1.30 – Tommy Whittle Handicap

I think Credo, Famous Bridge, and *Eleanor Bob (11/2) all meeting again after their rendezvous at Haydock last month means it will be these three fighting it out. On that day, Famous Bridge (1st) and Credo (2nd) had the best of her, but I think she gets her revenge here.

Famous Bridge is up six pounds from winning last time and Credo is up 3lbs after finishing second on her most recent outing – she ran on pretty well towards the end and was definitely doing her best work late on.

Eleanor Bob was the opposite, she tired late on, but it was her first run back this season so she was a bit keen and a bit fresh. I am actually going to go for her. She has 5lbs off her back with Lucy Turner and her mark was not adjusted by the handicapper.

Technically she is 8lbs better off with Credo and 11lbs better off with Famous Bridge on their last run and, if she can settle that bit better early on, then she has a massive chance of reversing the form.

The difference could be the weight and the fact she will be a bit fitter and not so fresh. Eleanor Bob for me.

Megan’s Tip: Eleanor Bob WIN

Ascot 1.50 – Howden Handicap Chase

Having seven runners for a Class 2 is a bit disappointing, and it lacks much strength in depth, but I’m going to go for Triple Trade (3/1).

He’s a horse that was good to me when choosing him at Cheltenham a few weeks ago. He backed that up with a decent third at Ascot next time, where I thought he travelled into it a bit too well and maybe hit the front too soon. It was still a massive run behind Boothill.

He seems to have returned in great form this season and a slight step up in trip to the 2m 3f distance does not concern me.

There is not loads of pace in the race – Cap Du Mathan could be the one to take them along but Triple Trade seemed to travel OK at the two-mile mark the last two times. The step up should only help him travel that bit better.

To be honest, he is the most consistent in the field. The others have plenty of question marks by their names.

Megan’s Tip: Triple Trade WIN

Haydock 2.05 – Handicap Hurdle

Jagwar (11/4 fav) was only narrowly beaten at Aintree on his stable debut by Inthewaterside. It was pretty much on the nod.

He was held up throughout but showed a nice turn of foot to draw upsides the eventual winner before being slightly outbattled in the run-in. However, Inthewaterside is a horse held in very high regard. He ultimately did disappoint at Ascot next time but had excuses, so we can put a line through that bit of form.

Jagwar is looking to get off the mark and is running in a handicap for the first time – it could be a gift. The yard are unconcerned by the slow going and he's an exciting horse for Ollie (Greenall) and Josh (Guerriero) as well as owner JP McManus.

I think Jagwar can do them justice. He looks a very promising prospect and, with the mark of 119 he's on, he should be very hard to beat if he runs here.

Megan’s Tip: Jagwar WIN

Ascot 2.25 – Long Walk Hurdle

Champ (5/1) is my selection for this one – he is a proven horse at Grade 1 level.

I cannot believe he is not the favourite, he goes really well fresh and he has won this race before. I just think the main thing is that he is proven at this level. He has also had a wind operation, which won’t do any harm. He has had plenty of time to get fit and ready.

We have handicappers that might be improving – the likes of Crambo, but is he this good? Not in my opinion.

Blueking D’Oroux is another but it’s been really tricky for four-year-olds to win this race stepping up in trip, while he may not be a Grade 1 performer.

I just think it is absolutely bonkers that Champ isn’t the favourite. I am really strong on his chances and nothing is going to change my mind.

Megan’s Tip: Champ WIN

Ascot 3.00 – Handicap Chase

I’m going with Yeah Man (5/1). He was closing and looked like he was going to put up a proper battle against Victtorino last time when falling at the last, which was unfortunate as he was running nicely.

He’s 2lbs better off in the weights this time around and he seems to be fine on any ground so drying ground won’t be a problem for him whatsoever.

He’s potentially a horse that’s still open to improvement over fences, he’s nicely weighted and I feel he’s got a nice chance. Blackjack Magic would be the one to serve it up to Yeah Man. He was impressive in the Badger Beer Handicap at Wincanton but he had a relatively hard race that day and he’s up 6lb so is going to need another career-best performance.

Because of that, I’m sticking with Yeah Man.

Megan’s Tip: Yeah Man WIN

Ascot 3.35 – Handicap Hurdle

This is a really competitive hurdle. Onlyamatteroftime is clearly quirky, having run out the last two times, but there’s no doubt this horse must be showing ability for the team to return to another big handicap and out of the weights. There’s clearly ability, but it’s hard to trust.

Of the two JP McManus horses, I was really impressed Iberico Lord with at Cheltenham when he won the Greatwood in pretty impressive style but my concern would be the ground drying out. I think he did enjoy the soft conditions that day and all his form has been with soft or heavy conditions.

I’m going to go with Altobelli (5/1). He was unexposed over course and distance last time, his first time in a handicap, where the tongue tie was a help. He looked a bit tired but can improve on that run. This will likely be a big run again.

An each-way chance at is Luccia (9/1), who will enjoy the drying ground. She wasn’t a million miles behind Iberico Lord in the Greatwood and she’s fairly consistent.

Megan’s Tip: Altobelli WIN, Luccia EW

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