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Ascot’s ITV Preview

Hi all,

In today's main piece, I'm focusing on the highlights of the action at Ascot, which you can catch live on ITV.

Without wanting to jinx things but I’m entering the weekend in a good vein of form.  Even providing two winners for this column.

I had two selections yesterday and both won. I managed to get 7/1 about yesterday’s selection Cracking Rhapsody. Granted there were two non-runners which resulted in a 25p Rule 4 deduction, but I can take that as I thought he was a 9/2 shot even before the non-participants.

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I also backed Empire Steel and was pleased to see him returned 2/1 for the Kelso feature race. It was great to see the old grey horse return to winning ways, at his favourite venue, after wind surgery.

Granted Friday wasn’t as profitable as Thursday. However, winners are winners and its good news for those who took up the Victor Value offer for February and March’s selections. The offer remains good value and is still available here for just £19.99 and that includes all my Cheltenham Festival previews.

Onto Saturday’s action.  

Ascot

It’s set to be mostly dry and breezy at Ascot on Saturday which means it shouldn’t be worse than the advertised good to soft going.

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Ascot presents a good day of racing, featuring a mix of competitive fields and top-quality Graded contests. Despite a small field in the Grade 2 Sodexo Live! Reynoldstown Novices' Chase, the race promises excitement with several standout contenders. As the day progresses, the Thoroughbred Industry Employee Awards Handicap Hurdle offers a strong field vying for a good prize.

The Injured Jockeys Fund Ambassadors Programme Swinley Handicap Chase sees a competitive lineup, while the Grade 1 Betfair Ascot Chase has just four runners but is an intriguing race nonetheless.

Let's take a quick delve into the details of each of the ITV races.

1:50 – Sodexo Live! Reynoldstown Novices' Chase (Grade 2) – 3m

Despite a small field, the race promises to be competitive, with four of five runners having claims.

Apple Away, a Grade 1 hurdle winner, leads the betting, with Brave Kingdom and Kilbeg King as her main market rivals. The mare gets weight from her rivals and could be a Grade 1 chasing mare. Both Brave Kingdom and Kilbeg King have strong claims. The former has plenty of upside whilst the latter will probably need a good test of stamina. Henry’s Friend, has won his last two over fences, is going the right way and the first time cheekpieces make of him interest.

2:25 – Thoroughbred Industry Employee Awards Handicap Hurdle (Class 2) – 2m 3 ½ f

A strong field of 16 competes for a contest with £50,000 in a guaranteed prize money.

Rare Edition and Bad are top contenders, albeit both have stamina to prove. Last year’s winner Irish Hill, 3lb lower today, and recent Wetherby scorer Santos Blue are both worth considering. Hyland boasts stamina and form to be competitive and will appreciate the drying ground.  

3:00 – Injured Jockeys Fund Ambassadors Programme Swinley Handicap Chase (Premier Handicap) – 3m

Nine runners are set to compete for this valuable handicap chase. Victtorino and Shan Blue among top choices. The former is a dual C&D winner and will be suited by the return to 3m back here. Shan Blue is a frustrating horse but he was back to form here last time when runner-up over shorter. He's very well treated on his back form. Top weight Threeunderthrufive wouldn’t be winning out of turn but is edging up the weights without winning and might be better over a bit further. Revels Hill was third in last year’s race and makes his belated seasonal return. He’s another who might need further than 3m. Dual C&D winner Larry was back to winning ways at Plumpton last time. He’s back up in class but has each way claims.

3:36 – Betfair Ascot Chase (Grade 1) – 2m 5f

I covered this race in Thursday’s column. Four are set to meet the starter.  L'Homme Presse is the one to beat and he probably needs to win this to still be considered a serious Cheltenham Gold Cup contender. He’s a former C&D winner but I think he might be better going the other way around but remains the one to beat. Trainer form has to be a concern if you’re taking odds on.  Pic D'Orhy, a previous C&D winner and is fairly solid option, and Ahoy Senor, known for a strong second half to the season, should go well, although the latter is another might be more suited to going left-handed.

Saturday Selection:

For Saturday’s selections I’m going for one in a race not on ITV. Loup De Maulde faces 14 rivals in the Ascot Racecourse Supports Box4Kids Handicap Hurdle (4:10). The 7-year-old returned from a 9 month to finish an encouraging 3 ¾ length 2nd of 13 at Huntingdon 23 days ago. He came up against an improver last time and with the cheekpieces returning I think he’s the one be with.

Ascot

4:10 – Loup De Maulde – 5/1 @ Bet365.

There’s a good card at Punchestown on Sunday featuring the Listed QuinnBet Grand National Trial Handicap Chase (2:35). If I have the time, I might do a preview of the Punchestown race. If not, I’ll be back on Monday with my review of Saturday’s action.

Good luck with your Saturday bets.

John

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