A misquote from Casablanca provides our headline today, a misquote which may be corrected As Time Goes By.
Top class jumping action from Ascot and Wetherby make up the televised programme and we will start in a somewhat damp Berkshire.
Seven runners contest the opening Ascot Underwriting Chase at 1.35 and our confident selection is Sam Barton. From the yard of Emma Lavelle and running in the colours of the late Trevor Hemmings, this 6-y-o had a successful hurdling season as a prelude to its real job, which it tackles for the first time today. A potential big improver over the larger obstacles we recommend a win bet at 3-1.
We also suggest a ‘cover’ bet on the other Sam in the race, this one being the Sizable version. Jeremy Scott‘s charge looked a bit of a monster when pouching a couple of Wincanton hurdle races and is another likely to relish the new discipline. Take the 9-1 on offer.
At 2.10 we get the Bateaux London Handicap Hurdle, with a field of 14, headed by Harry Fry‘s Boothill, which made an impressive hurdling debut at lowly Taunton back in December last year and has not been seen since. This clearly gives the handicapper a problem and he has settled on a guess of 135, which could severely underestimate the ability possessed – the trainer certainly thinks so. Our first bet, therefore, is a win bet on Boothill at 5-2.
Our other pick is Megan, trained by Stuart Edmonds and available at 11-2.
This 4-y-o filly was coming to win her race at Chepstow three weeks ago before going rump over fetlock at the third last and competes off the same mark today. Barring another mishap, she should be in the firing line and we recommend an each way bet.
Up next is the Byrne Group Handicap Chase at 2.45 and, in this, we are very keen on the fragrant Venetia‘s runner Frero Banbou.
A dual winner over fences in France, this 6-y-o made a mockery of a mark of 124 when winning at Sandown without coming off the bridle and ran a really good race off 137 when fourth at Aintree when last seen in April. Now 2lbs lower and likely to appreciate every drop of rain that falls, we suggest a win bet at 4-1.
The Bateaux London Gold Cup Handicap Chase at 3.20 completes the Ascot coverage and, despite the presence of a host of usual suspects, we go for two slightly ‘outside the box’ selections.
One More Fleurie at 11-1 and Captain Chaos at 25-1 are the two unfortunates saddled with our picks and may fortune smile on them.
Oop at Wetherby, we start with the bet365 Handicap Chase at 1.20 and an each way bet on Corran Cross at 11-2.
Richard Bandey‘s pet won a chase in Oirland before making its stable debut at Worcester three weeks ago. Jumped and travelled really well there but patently failed to get the trip and the drop back of 3.5 furlongs could be just the ticket.
The Listed bet365 Mares’ Hurdle at 1.55 is a competitive looking affair and, although with a bit to find on official ratings, we are going to plump for Her Indoors, trained by Alan King. A fitness advantage following a good Flat spin will help and this 4-y-o should give us a run for the hard-earned. 6-1 are the available odds.
Stayers take centre stage in the bet365 Hurdle at 2.30 and, again, we will go for a horse fit from the Flat, name of Indefatigable, which is available at 6-1.
Paul Webber‘s mare has some good back form in the book and won at Pontefract earlier this month, proving her well-being.
Main event in Yorkshire is the bet365 Charlie Hall Chase at 3.05, won last year by Cyrname who has another go. With a rating of 168, this horse is a shoo in if you trust it but we’re not sure we do.
Bit of a flyer, but we go for the rapidly improving Kitty’s Light to cause a surprise and recommend an each way bet at 12-1.
Finally to the bet365 Handicap Hurdle at 3.40 and we’ll cover this with a win bet on Rattle Owl at 3-1 and an each way ‘steal’ on Haafapiece at 11-2.
Hope England v Australia doesn’t disrupt your racing enjoyment too much.
Sam Barton 1.35 Ascot 4pts win @ 3-1
Sizable Sam 1.35 Ascot 1pt win @ 9-1
Boothill 2.10 Ascot 3pts win @ 5-2
Megan 2.10 Ascot 1pt e/w @ 11-2 (5 places)
Frere Banbou 2.45 Ascot 2pts win @ 4-1
One More Fleurie 3.20 Ascot 1pt e/w @ 11-1 (5 places Betfair/Skybet)
Captain Chaos 3.20 Ascot 1pt e/w @ 25-1 (5 places Betfair/Skybet)
Corran Cross 1.20 Wetherby 1pt e/w @ 11-2 (4 places)
Her Indoors 1.55 Wetherby 1pt e/w @ 6-1 (3 places Ladbrokes)
Indefatigable 2.30 Wetherby 1pt e/w @ 6-1
Kitty’s Light 3.05 Wetherby 1pt e/w @ 12-1
Rattle Owl 3.40 Wetherby 2pts win @ 3-1
Haafapiece 3.40 Wetherby 1pt e/w @ 11-2 (5 places Skybet)