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She Ranks Me to land Haydock prize for McCain and Maguire

Channel 4 cameras are at Haydock on Saturday to screen two live races. The feature race is the Tommy Whittle Chase at 2.05 which has attracted a field of 12.

This race has been won by some smart chasers over the years but this looks like a fairly modest renewal. The weights are headed by the inconsistent Solix who was running on at the end at Newbury last time but has it all to do with 11st 12lb.

No Planning won at Wetherby before finishing second at Kelso and must have a chance with Jonathan England taking off 5lbs. Venetia Williams saddles Emperor’s Choice who will need to step up considerably on his seasonal debut when sixth at Fontwell in the Southern National.

Loch Ba and Tartak have won better races than this in the past but have not been showing that much of late. The winning run of Night Alliance came to an end when he fell last time whilst Ballytober and Balinroab are others with chances.

Donald McCain and Jason Maguire rarely leave a Haydock meeting without a winner and they can land the opener with Smadynium. The grey is not one of the stable stars but lacks nothing in courage as he showed when winning at Catterick last time.

Paul Nicholls can take the novices’ chase with the hat-trick seeking Valco De Touzaine. The French-bred tended to jump to his left when winning at Leicester and should be better suited by this track.

The Mares Novices’ Hurdle at 1.00 has attracted some promising types and the pick of them could be As I Am. The daughter of Old Vic has won six of her last eight races and was particularly impressive when winning by nine lengths at Newbury.

McCain and Maguire team up again with She Ranks Me in the handicap hurdle at 2.40. She won here and at Newbury last season and may strip fitter for her first outing of the season at Taunton.

The danger is Keith Reveley’s Special Catch who finished less than four lengths behind More Of That in a competitive handicap here. The winner has since gone on to win a Grade 2 at Cheltenham and a repeat of that form would give him a clear chance.

Selections: 12.00 Smadynium, 12.30 Valco De Touzaine, 1.00 As I Am, 1.30 Tornado In Milan, 2.05 Ballytober, 2.40 She Ranks Me, 3.15 Cross Kennon