Saturday racing: what's on TV and who to watch

Un De Sceaux

Un De Sceaux: bidding for back-to-back Clarence House Chase wins

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (  

 By Mark Scully 5:05PM 20 JAN 2017 

IF YOU are reading this in Britain and have been outside at all in the last 24 hours or so, you will not need to be told that it is quite chilly.

The forecast is for more of the same over the weekend, so what better way to spend your Saturday than in the warmth of your living room enjoying some top racing action?

Cold could be a problem

While the cold makes for the perfect day inside watching sport, it could partially scupper those plans because Ascot faces a 6.30am inspection and things do not look good.

Taunton are also having a look later in the morning at 9.30am but hopefully temperatures will stay a few degrees warmer than forecast and we can enjoy a full programme.

Assuming all meetings are on, what is happening?

We have an excellent day of jumps racing to look forward to if the weather allows so make sure you head out to get your Racing Post or download it on your iPad if you would prefer to stay warm.


With that sorted, settle in for The Opening Show on ITV4, which starts at 10am and is scheduled to feature the always illuminating Ruby Walsh, who will be hoping to be able to partner Un De Sceaux at Ascot later in the day, if the meeting gets the green light.

You then have a couple of hours to sort yourself some lunch and get ready for the main broadcast, which begins at 1.30pm, again on ITV4. The show features four races from Ascot, including the Grade 1 Clarence House Chase and a further three contests from Haydock, where the Peter Marsh Chase takes centre stage.

In the unfortunate event that Ascot does not thaw out in time, ITV4 will still carry racing, with four races from Haydock and a couple more from Taunton, so long as the Somerset venue also gets the go ahead.

Ar Mad (Joshua Moore,nearside)

Ar Mad: out to lead the home defence in the Clarence House Chase

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (  

Who can we look forward to seeing?

The aforementioned Un De Sceaux has been dispatched to Ascot by Ireland’s champion trainer Willie Mullins in a bid to land back-to-back Clarence House Chases (3.00) but faces stiff competition in his quest to do so from the Gary Moore-trained Ar Mad.

While the market suggests the race is between those two, Top Gamble, Royal Regatta, Dodging Bullets and Eastlake are no slouches, so the race should be full of Cheltenham Festival clues.

Earlier on the card, the Grade 3 Keltbray Holloway’s Handicap Hurdle (2.25) looks set to be competitive betting heat, while Nicky Henderson’s Kotkikova looks likely to go off favourite for the Grade 2 Mares’ Hurdle.

Up at Haydock, we finally get to have a look at Alary. This French import will have to do something very impressive indeed in the Grade 2 Peter Marsh Chase (3.15) if he is to justify the hype surrounding him, but he is trained by Colin Tizzard so you would not put it past him.

In the race prior, L’Ami Serge, The New One and Irving are among those locking horns in the Grade 2 Champion Hurdle Trial (2.40).

Anything happening in Ireland?

Absolutely. At Navan on Saturday, the 2014 Champion Hurdle winner Jezki makes his first start in 632 days in the Race Displays Event Signage Hurdle (1.05), a race that also features Carlingford Lough and can be seen on At The Races.

Jezki (Mark Walsh)

Jezki (Mark Walsh)

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (  

It is also worth keeping an eye on the same channel on Sunday, when there is an excellent card from Leopardstown. In the Hurdle (3.10) Melbourne Cup runner-up Heartbreak City makes his return to action in a race that is often a stepping stone to the County Hurdle.

Earlier on, in the Leopardstown Handicap Chase (2.40), a competive field of 19 runners is set to compete for the €100,000 prize with Gordon Elliott’s A Toi Phil the market leader.

Will any frost affect the Scoop6?

Ascot and Taunton races have been kept out of this week’s Scoop6, which should hopefully see the bet go ahead as normal.

This week’s win fund starts at £113,517 after a pair of tickets won a bumper £444,071 each last week. Those two anonymous parties will get a shot at a bonus of £283,793 in the Peter Marsh Chase.

Those hoping to bag the prize this week will need to find the winners of the following: 12.55 Haydock, 1.30 Haydock, 2.35 Lingfield, 3.15 Haydock, 3.50 Haydock and 4.20 Haydock.

Horse Racing News | Racing Post

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