Second and final day of Ascot’s October meeting this afternoon and the most valuable race on the card is the totescoop6 Challenge Cup, a handicap over 7 furlongs at 3.35.
Favourite in all books is the William Haggas trained Mojito, a winner of his last three races and available at 5-1. Improving at a rate of knots, this 3-y-o by Requinto will probably run his usual honest race but, with the handicapper doing his very best to stop him, the price represents little value and he is passed over.
Two trainers have been perspiring freely in the run up to this race, waiting to see if their charges would get in and they both have, right at the bottom of the weights.
Mjjack, another 3-y-o, trained by Karl Burke, has finished second on both his trips to the Berkshire track, both in similarly competitive handicaps and both over this trip. There is little doubt that, since the re-alignment of the acreage, Ascot has become a ‘horses for courses’, er, course and Mjjack has already beaten nine of today’s rivals on his two visits. Although the handicapper has raised him 2lbs for his second to Remarkable early last month, this is offset neatly by the booking of stable conditional Clifford Lee and this horse should be backed each way at 11-1.
One place further down the list, in last place, is Raising Sand, trained by Jamie Osborne and this 5-y-o has even better course form, having already won two of his three races here. When he didn’t win, he came fourth after a slow start and finished strongly to be just over a length behind the aforementioned Mjjack. If this gelding gets away on terms today, there won’t be much between them, so we recommend an each way bet on the Oasis Dream gelding, at an attractive 12-1.
Many bookmakers are paying 5 places on this race, so make sure you pick the right one.
At 2.25, the Gigaset Cumberland Lodge Stakes takes place over 12 furlongs and this Group 3 looks at the mercy of the French raider Waldgeist. Usually plying his trade at Group 1 level, including a short head defeat in the French Derby, the price of 4-5 is fully justified and it would be a major shock if he doesn’t marmalise ‘em.
The Listed totepool British EBF October Stakes at 4.10 was won last year by John Gosden’s Eternally and she bids for a repeat this afternoon. Like Waldgeist, she takes a drop in class, having been placed in two Group 3 races in her only two starts this season. Once again, the price of 10-11 is fully justified.
With the double paying around 5-2, we think this is a decent bet.
Stuck in the middle of a pretty humdrum card at Newmarket today at 2.40 is the Group 1 Kingdom of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes over a mile of the Rowley.
Persuasive, trained by that man Gosden again, is favourite at 7-2 and this lightly raced 4-y-o fully deserves to land a Group 1, having already been second in two. With no ground or trip worries, the price looks reasonable and a win bet is suggested.
If there is a danger, it could come in the shape of the rapidly improving Aljazzi, which we recommended last time, when she took the Group 3 Atalanta Stakes at Sandown, and at 6-1, this daughter of Shamardal should be backed each way, for safety.
Mjjack 3.35 Ascot e/w @ 11-1
Raising Sand 3.35 Ascot e/w @ 12-1
Waldgeist 2.25 Ascot/ Eternally 4.10 Ascot win double @ 4-5 & 10-11
Persuasive 2.40 Newmarket win @ 7-2
Aljazzi 2.40 Newmarket e/w @ 6-1
Crossed fingers for an instant return on our PGA 3-to-follow Preview.
Chasson Hadley fired in 10 birdies and an eagle on his way to beating the course record last night, and sits handily in 3rd place at the halfway stage.