Top class action on our screens today with coverage from Ascot and Haydock.
Centrepiece at the Berkshire course is the Grade 1 Betfair Ascot Chase at 3.35, which sees the return to duty of the enigmatic Cyrname.
Officially rated 172, Paul Nicholls‘ 9-y-o resembles either Pegasus or Dobbin depending on its mood and was well beaten in this race last year when falling at the last. In between the failures have been some spectacular successes, three of which have come over today’s course and distance, so, come 3.46pm, the even money on offer may seem like manna from heaven.
However, we quite simple don’t trust this horse to get the job done and have to advise just a watching brief.
First race on screen is the Reynoldstown Novices’ Chase at 1.50, which is a tight knit and competitive affair, despite a field of just six.
With just a few pounds between all the runners on official ratings, our pick is the lowest rated of the lot, but hopefully the biggest improver.
Remastered has won both its chases to date and proved its stamina for today’s trip last time out at Wetherby. All this horse’s four wins have been in ground similar to that which it will encounter this afternoon and, at 4-1, could be the value bet. Back it.
The Betfair Swinley Chase at 2.25 is next up and, although we are not In The Summertime and the weather isn’t hot, we have no hesitation in plumping for Jerrysback to take this prize.
Philip Hobbs‘ 9-y-o invariably needs its first run of the season and excelled four weeks ago when a fast finishing 3rd behind Dashel Drasher on this course. Runs off the same mark today with Dear Dickie to do the steering and we recommend a fair whack at 3-1.
The Betfair Handicap Hurdle at 3.00 completes the Ascot fare and we select two against the field of 15 for your entertainment.
Potential big improver is Gladiateur Allen, trained by Jane Williams.
Just three races in its life, GA came good at the third time of asking by scooting home on this track in a Class 3 Novice event and now makes its handicap debut off a mark of 131.
While that opening mark is no ‘gimme’, this is a fast improving gelding and should get the job done. Have a decent each way bash at 4-1.
Our other pick is Kepagge (pronounced ‘Kepagge’) from David Pipe‘s yard.
On its Novice form of last season, this 7-y-o is potentially thrown in and today’s drop in trip to its previous winning distance may do the trick. At 9-1 we must recommend an each way tickle.
Oop at Haddock, just the two races are being screened, starting with the Rendelsham Hurdle at 2.05.
With a ‘dead eight’ field, we think an each way bet on Itchy Feet could well be the answer. Although a Grade 1 winning chaser, Olly Murphy‘s 7-y-o has never really taken to it and a return to hurdles today, combined with the step up to 3m may do the trick. 5-1 are the odds of reward.
The William Hill Grand National Trial Handicap at 2.40 is the other race on telly and this looks a good opportunity for The Two Amigos to get its head in front.
Nicky Martin‘s 9-y-o has twice seen the backside of Secret Reprieve in its latest two races, most recently in the Welsh Grand National and fully deserves to land a decent prize. Take the 15-2 each way.
As a Brucie Bonus ITV are also showing the Betway Kingwell Hurdle from Wincanton at precisely 3.18pm.
This race witnesses an attempt by Goshen to restore its previously stellar reputation, but we think enough is enough after three dismal recent failures and we recommend a bet on the fav, Song For Someone at even money.
C’est tout, mes amis.
Remastered 1.50 Ascot 2pts win @ 4-1
Jerrysback 2.25 Ascot 4pts win @ 3-1
Gladiateur Allen 3.00 Ascot 2pts e/w @ 4-1 (5 places Paddy, Betfair, Skybet)
Kepagge 3.00 Ascot 1pt e/w @ 9-1 (5 places Betfair, Paddy, Skybet)
Itchy Feet 2.05 Haydock 2pts e/w @ 5-1
The Two Amigos 2.40 Haydock 1pt e/w @ 15-2 (4 places Hills, Skybet)
Song For Someone 3.18 Wincanton 6pts win @ evens
* ‘In The Summertime’ by Mungo Jerry (1970)