Victoria Cup day at Ascot plus the Classic Trials from Lingfield make up the bulk of ITV‘s racing coverage, together with the Swinton from Haydock.
3.40 is the time for 27 runners to career down the straight 7 furlongs at the Berkshire track and we are going to hope that history repeats itself when the going is soft and the high numbers are favoured.
Our main pick is the Hugo Palmer trained Acquitted, hurtling from Trap 20 under Tom Marquand.
As a 2-y-o, Acquitted gave weight and a beating to the mighty Mishriff (current rating 122) and on seasonal reappearance as a 3-y-o ran second to Palace Pier (current rating 125).
True to say that Acquitted hasn’t progressed as much as the aforementioned two, but, off 92 it doesn’t have to. A pleasing second to Artistic Rifles at the end of March will have teed up the nag for today and it should be backed at 13-2.
Given the seeming impossibility of this contest, we will throw in smaller each way bets on Jumaira Bay at 10-1 and dear old Escobar at 16-1 and that should cover it.
Televised action starts with the Tote Fillies’ Handicap at 1.55 which did have eight but now has seven runners.
The market has this as a two horse race, one of those being Dreamloper, trained by Ed Walker, which is available at 11-4.
Already a course and distance winner from last season, Dreamloper made a very encouraging return to action when an unlucky-in-running 4th in a hot handicap at Haddock over a furlong shorter. This looks better form than the favourite Lights On can boast and we suggest a win bet.
We also advise an each way punt on Separate which finished 3rd to Lights On at Nottingham last time out and has a seven pound pull this afternoon. With soft ground form on its CV (unlike the favourite) odds of 11-1 could well be outrun.
The Buckhounds Stakes at 2.30 has an open look about it, but we are keen on the chances of Without A Fight from the Crisford Pere et Fils team.
Three wins from five as a 3-y-o, WAF put up its best performance last time out at Newbury when second in a Group 3 with three of today’s rivals well behind and will almost certainly come on for that first run for 6 months.
At 5-1 this has the look of an each way steal, so nick it.
The Tote Handicap at 4.15 completes the Ascot coverage and in this we take Nuits St Georges to uncork its best form and have the bottle to come home in front. (“Stop it” “Sorry”)
David Menusier‘s 6-y-o won first time out last season and also won on the only occasion Rossa Ryan clambered aboard, so at an attractive 7-1 we recommend an each way bet.
Over at Leafy, the Novibet Oaks Trial is first up at 2.15 and we don’t quite understand why Divinely is not favourite for this.
Aiden O’Brien‘s raider has already pouched a Group 3 last year on testing ground and will surely benefit by today’s step up in trip.
We are down to the ‘dead eight’ in this race but, in the hope that they all stand their ground, we recommend an each way bash at 6-1.
It’s the turn of the colts at 2.50 in the Novibet Derby Trial Stakes and, although we are unlikely to see an Epsom hero on show, there is a stand out runner in the shape of Adayar.
Charlie Appleby‘s charge looks head, hooves and shoulders above today’s opposition and is just about backable at 11-10 – so we will.
The Group 3 Novibet Chartwell Fillies’ Stakes at 3.25 is also on t’telly and we give a good chance in this to the German raider Axana.
A warm up win in a Listed contest last month should have blown away any cobwebs and this dual Group 3 winner is well worth a slightly wimpish each way bet at 9-2.
Oop at Haddock, where the ground is likely to have gone completely by 3.10, when the Swinton Handicap Hurdle is scheduled we suggest a modest each way investment on one of the Irish runners, Politicise, which is available at a juicy 28-1. Could be a plot – let’s hope so.
Acquitted 3.40 Ascot 1.5pts e/w @ 13-2 (6 places)
Jumaira Bay 3.40 Ascot 1pt e/w @ 10-1 (6 places)
Escobar 3.40 Ascot 0.5pts e/w @ 16-1 (6 places)
Dreamloper 1.55 Ascot 4pts win @ 11-4
Separate 1.55 Ascot 1pt e/w @ 11-1 (2 places)
Without A Fight 2.30 Ascot 2pts e/w @ 5-1 (4 places Hills/Skybet)
Nuit St Georges 4.15 Ascot 1pt e/w @ 7-1
Divinely 2.15 Lingfield 1pt e/w @ 6-1
Ayadar 2.50 Lingfield 6pts win @ 11-10
Axana 3.25 Lingfield 1.5pts e/w @ 9-2
Politicise 3.10 Haydock 1pt e/w @ 28-1 (4 places)