Get set for the next round of the Defi Du Seuil v Un De Sceaux match up at Ascot today, off at 3.25.

The Matchbook Clarence House Chase has a field of just 5, with the market dominated by the ‘big two’. Defi is shading favouritism at 5-6, with the Irish challenger at 11-8 and, at those odds, this is not an appealing betting proposition, so we just watch. We have a sneaking suspicion, however, that Janika will get closer to the principals than the nine lengths it was beaten last time in the Tingle Creek. Just thought we’d tell you.

TV coverage of the Berkshire meeting starts with the bet365 Mares’ Hurdle at 1.50, in which Magic Of Light attempts to repeat her victory of last year and is 5-2 so to do.

However she is saddled with a penalty today and we also have the sneaking suspicion that this 9-y-o is a better horse over fences, so we are happy to take her on with Papagana, which can be backed at 9-4.

Oliver Sherwood‘s girl has already pouched a Listed hurdle at Kempton and, last time out, finished a close third in the Grade 1 Long Walk on this track in December. That looks the best form on offer and we suggest a win bet.

The Matchbook Holloway’s Handicap Hurdle at 2.25 is a ‘dead eight’ race, which also features last year’s winner in Ballymoy, this time off a 2lb higher mark. Trouble is, Ballymoy has been plying its trade over fences in its three runs this season, whereas it came here last year fresh from a hurdles win at Haydock.

Our idea of the winner of this is the Nicky Henderson trained Soul Emotion.

Somewhat plagued by injury after a stellar start over hurdles, this 7-y-o looks completely restored to good health, finishing a close third at Newbury at the end of December. Strong in the market this morning, we recommend a win bet at 7-2.

The bet365 Handicap Chase at 3.00 sees the return to action of our old friend Happy Diva and we will not desert her now – have an each way bet at 7-1.

We also like the look of Sam’s Adventure from the Brian Ellison yard, a potential improver with no weight, so we’ll back this one each way too, at 11-2.

Over at Haddock, the Sky Bet Supreme Trial Rossington Main Novices’ Hurdle at 2.05 has a select field of 4, headed by the penalised Thebannerkingrebel at 6-5.

Regular readers will know our aversion to penalised runners and we think that Stolen Silver will cause a minor surprise here, by winning at 4-1.

The Peter Marsh Handicap Chase at 2.40 has only ten runners, but it’s 6-1 the field, so we hope our two each way darts are the right ones.

Prime Venture at 6-1 and Champers On Ice at 8-1 are our hopeful picks.

The final race on our screens is the 4-runner The New One Unibet Hurdle at 3.15 and, with every runner in with a chance, we revert to a watching brief.

Hasta la proxima semana, amigos.


Papagana 1.50 Ascot 4pts win @ 9-4

Soul Emotion 2.25 Ascot 2pts win @ 7-2

Happy Diva 3.00 Ascot 1pt e/w @ 7-1

Sam’s Adventure 3.00 Ascot 1pt e/w @ 11-2 (4 places Paddy Power)

Stolen Silver 2.05 Haydock 2pts win @ 4-1

Prime Venture 2.40 Haydock 1.5pts e/w @ 6-1 (4 places)

Champers On Ice 2.40 Haydock 1pt e/w @ 8-1 (4 places)

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