A veritable plethora of top class jumping action on ITV4 today, with coverage of the meetings at Ascot and Wetherby.
Highlight of the Ascot card is the Sodexo Gold Cup Handicap Chase at 3.20, which has a field of 16, headed by Vinndication, named by someone who clearly can’t spell.
Kim Bailey‘s horse lost its way somewhat after an opening two victories and it is a bit of a leap of faith to expect this 6-y-o to take a race of this nature first time out.
We prefer another leap of faith in selecting the Nicky Henderson trained On The Blind Side, which is available to back at 11-2.
This 7-y-o looked a potential world-beater when slamming our very own Bob Mahler by no less than 24 lengths at Kempton at the end of January. An injury curtailed its season thereafter, making just two more appearances, but that hasn’t done the handicap mark any harm at all and you betcha bottom dollar the master trainer has OTBS absolutely spot on for this.
An each way bet is recommended.
Coverage starts at 1.35 with the Ascot Underwriting Chase and we give a strong shout to On The Slopes in this event.
A win and four placed efforts from 7 starts in its novice hurdle season, Chris Gordon‘s 5-y-o made a sparkling chase debut 4 weeks ago in a Uttoxeter novice chase, leading over the last before lack of a recent run tool its toll and Tom Cannon brought it home kindly in 4th, just beaten 4 lengths.
With the first three all rated considerably higher and the last fence faller winning a handicap next time out off 128, On The Slopes, off that same mark, must be the one to be with at 6-1.
The Byrne Group Handicap Chase at 2.10 is a Listed event over 2m 1f has a field of 12, which means we can get ¼ odds about our each way selection Caid Du Lin, trained by the Good Doctor.
A course and distance winner last season, CDL made a really good reappearance when second at Chepstow 3 weeks ago and looks primed to take this at 9-2.
The only hurdle on the telly is at 2.45, when the Sodexo Handicap Hurdle takes place over the minimum trip.
The time to catch Adjali is first time out and that’s today, so we recommend an each way bet at 9-2 and leave the rest to Daryl Jacob.
Also we suggest an each way bet on Jacamar at a juicy 28-1. Just 7 races over hurdles and none on the Flat, Milton Harris‘s 4-y-o is improving leaps and bounds and should outrun its somewhat insulting odds.
Over at Wetherby the main event is the bet365 Charlie Hall Chase at 3.40, won last year by Definitly Red, clearly named by the same guy who named Vinndication.
This time round, DR is saddled with a penalty, as is La Bague Au Roi, Aso and Elegant Escape. There are occasions when it is impossible to come to a definitive view of a race and this is one, so we just watch this one.
The bet365 Handicap Chase at 1.20 has a field of 9 and our fancy in this is the Dan Skelton trained West To The Bridge, fresh from a pipe opener at Carlisle 16 days ago. That was a chase debut and this dual hurdles winner can break its duck over the larger obstacles this afternoon. Have an each way bet at 5-1.
The Listed bet365 Mares’ Hurdle at 1.55 sees a rematch between Lady Buttons and Indefatigable, who were separated by a neck when they met at Doncaster in January. With the benefit of a recent run, we give the nod to Paul Webber‘s runner and suggest a win bet at 2-1.
Finally, the bet365 Hurdle at 3.05 sees Ballyandy try three miles for the first time in its 21 race career, and there is little doubt that if it gets the trip it will win. Yes, it’s ‘Trust The Trainer’ time, folks and a win bet at 6-4 is recommended.
Happy jumping, everyone.
On The Blind Side 3.20 Ascot 1.5pts e/w @ 11-2 (5 places)
On The Slopes 1.35 Ascot 2pts e/w @ 6-1
Caid Du Lin 2.10 Ascot 1pt e/w @ 9-2
Adjali 2.45 Ascot 1.5pts e/w @ 9-2 (5 places)
Jacamar 2.45 Ascot 1pt e/w @ 28-1 (5 places)
West To The Bridge 1.20 Wetherby 1pt e/w @ 5-1
Indefatigable 1.55 Wetherby 2pts win @ 2-1
Ballyandy 3.05 Wetherby 4pts win @ 6-4