Best Bets for Saturday at Haydock

Our man looks ahead to Haydock’s Betfair Chase card on Saturday and has two early fancies.

Racing betting tips: Saturday November 25

1pt e.w Hugos New Horse in 2.20 Haydock at 16/1 (1/4, 1,2,3,4 William Hill, Unibet)

1pt win Famous Bridge in 3.35 Haydock at 7/1 (General)

Sky Bet odds | Paddy Power | Betfair Sportsbook

I had been pretty interested in the claims of Shishkin in the Betfair Chase for a couple of weeks now, but a couple of spanners have been thrown in the works in recent days, Nicky Henderson also entering him in the 1965 Chase at Ascot, and Paul Nicholls also stating that Bravemansgame is now an intended runner.

For all Henderson had stated previously Shishkin will likely reappear in the Betfair Chase, news has broken this morning that his is ‘almost certain’ to now head to Ascot instead over the shorter trip and on likely better ground, which is a shame, as an early-season clash against Bravemansgame and Protektorat would have been special.

It isn’t the best week for getting stuck in on a Tuesday, some of the races priced up for Saturday small-field events, and there are horses who have multiple options as to where they will run. However, the market for the Betfair “Serial Winners” Stayers’ Handicap Hurdle at Haydock has a nice look to it and is where we will start.

Crambo and Slate Lane are both well fancied for the race and it is easy to see why, the former progressive last season – notably winning the EBF Final at Sandown – and taking his form up another level when making a stylish return to action at Aintree in October.

All but one of those rivals were making their seasonal reappearance, and Crambo was clearly ready to roll given how strong he was in the market, but he did win with much more in hand than the official margin suggests, so a subsequent 6lb rise looks lenient. Crambo will need to prove his stamina on his first try beyond two and a half miles and is also entered in the Coral Hurdle over shorter at Ascot on the same day, so I’m happy to look elsewhere given he is taking up a big piece of the market.

The horse who stands out at the prices is HUGOS NEW HORSE, who interestingly has form with Crambo, having been beaten eight and a half lengths by him in the EBF Final at Sandown. He was giving Crambo 7lb that day and was still right in the mix turning into the straight, but was unable to go with the eventual winner and runner-up who broke away from the field after jumping two out.

That wasn’t the first time last season that Hugos New Horse left the impression he would relish the step up to three miles, and he again shaped that way when tenaciously resuming winning ways in a novice hurdle over two and a half miles at Ayr on his next start.

Hugos New Horse started favourite on his return in a very competitive Pertemps qualifier at Cheltenham in October but was ultimately well beaten by Hyland. That was his first start at three miles and, while he disappointed, he did race widest of all throughout (Hyland stuck to the inner) and travelled and jumped well up to a point. Admittedly, he cut out rather quickly, and quite early in the race, so that is a slight concern given how strong in the market he was.

However, he was a very reliable, progressive novice last season, so it would be unfair to judge him solely on his latest run, and he is definitely entitled to come on for it (wasn’t given a hard time once beaten). I am more than willing to put a line through that run and am of the opinion that he has even more to offer at this trip, while he is also now 14lb better off at the weights with Crambo from when they last met.

Paul Nicholls is a dab hand at quickly rejuvenating horses and, at 16/1, I think he looks too big. If he resumes his progress from last season, he has to be competitive from this mark, while the talented Freddie Gingell, who could take off a valuable 5lb, has been pencilled in to ride.

There are a few in the Betfair “Free Racing Multiple Today” Handicap Chase, the final race at Haydock on Saturday, that can have a line put through them, in my opinion, and I am keen to keep the Nicky Richards-trained FAMOUS BRIDGE on side.

He made good progress over fences last season, building on the promise of his first two starts when winning back-to-back handicaps at Wetherby in March. He jumped much better than previously when opening his account in this sphere over an extended two miles and one furlong, doing all of his best work at the finish, and he proved his stamina for three miles when following up two weeks later.

Famous Bridge won by one and a half lengths that day but left the impression he had a fair bit more left in the tank if required, well in command after jumping two from home and just dossing and hanging to his right on the run-in.

He also shaped particularly well on his recent return at Ayr, only finishing fourth, but beaten under half a length in a bunched finish. That race wasn’t run at a good pace on ground Timeform described as good, which placed the emphasis on speed and that wouldn’t have been in Famous Bridge’s favour over two and a half miles.

He was still in with every chance approaching the last, but an untidy jump there didn’t help his claims, losing some momentum and then staying on well to the line. The return to three miles in ground which should be a little softer (currently heavy, soft in places but with a dry forecast for the rest of the week) will be in the favour of Famous Bridge and he has only been raised 1lb in the weights.

Still unexposed over fences, especially at this trip, I am pretty sure we haven’t seen the best of him yet, and he is a chaser I’m keen to follow this season.

Preview posted at 1315 GMT on 21/11/2023

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