Saturday's Peter Marsh Chase Preview: Yala Enki the one to beat with conditions to suit

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Yala Enki – 9-1 Skybet and William Hill

The big betting race on Haydock’s Unibet Champion Hurdle Trial card on Saturday is the three mile one and a half furlong Peter Marsh Handicap Chase at 3.15pm for which fifteen horses were entered at Monday’s declaration stage headed by Ptit Zig from the Paul Nicholls stable. Ante-post betting on the Grade 2 contest is headed by the Philip Hobbs-trained Rock The Kasbah ( 5-1 with most bookmakers including Ladbrokes, Coral, William Hill and Betfred ) who missed the Coral Welsh Grand National recently due to the testing conditions at the Chepstow venue.


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With the ground forecast to be heavy at the Lancashire course this weekend it is unlikely to suit the current market leader, a remark which does not apply to our confident selection Yala Enki who looks sure to relish conditions at Haydock Park. An easy victory on the course over 2m 7f in 2016 on soft ground was followed up three months later in March 2017 with another impressive show, this time when beating the talented Seldom Inn by seven lengths over 3m 2f in heavy conditions at Kelso.

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The eight-year-old has yet to get off the mark in three starts this season but has been running much better than the bare form would suggest. The son of Nickname ran well for a long way in Newcastle’s Rehearsal Chase until being outpaced in the closing stages and despite finishing only sixth on his most recent outing in Ascot’s valuable Lavazza Silver Cup the mount of Charlie Deutsch was bang there turning for home and possibly found the good to soft ground too lively. Yala Enki loves to race up with the pace and with no confirmed front runner on Saturday could easily get a soft lead up front and run his rivals into the ground in what is sure to be a war of attrition.

One of the main dangers may turn out to be Captain Redbeard ( 8-1 Coral ) who won a similar race at the course last month but that was over two and a half lengths shorter and the nine-year-old will be running off a 9lb higher mark. The Lucinda Russell-trained Forest des Aigles ( 9-1 Betfair Sportsbook and Coral ) is three from three this season, winning off 112 in October compared to the 133 the lightly-raced seven-year-old will have to shoulder on Saturday afternoon. The Balko gelding could still have the handicappers measure and give Yala Enki most to think about in the closing stages.

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