PRICE BOOSTS MAX BET £10
1.15 - greatbritishstallionshowcase.co.uk Novices' Hurdle (2m3f)
Gallyhill is the obvious starting point for the opening contest. The Nicky Henderson-trained son of Getaway cost a cool £450,000 on the back of his lone point-to-point victory and made a winning start under rules at Newbury last month on testing ground.
He didn't do anything flashy in that racecourse bow, but should come on plenty for it and will once more have the burden of the market on his shoulders here. He's the most likely winner on paper but there are dangers aplenty.
Midnight River has been most consistent thus far over timber and comes into this having finished a close-up fourth in the Grade 2 Leamington at Warwick (2m5f, heavy) in January. With the Dan Skelton team flying, he's sure to be in the mix again.
ONE TRUE KING folded tamely amid the white-heat of the Lanzarote Hurdle (2m5f, soft) last month at Kempton, a contest in which he had been sent off 10/3 favoutite after a string of good efforts over timber that included wins at Uttoxeter and Leicester either side of a brace of near misses in strong novices' contests at Cheltenham in October/November.
Nigel Twiston-Davies' charge perhaps faltered in the hustle and bustle of the Lanzarote, but it won't be a major shock to see him back to form here.
It's a long time since The Olympian beat some smart rivals winning a Newmarket maiden on the Flat in the autumn of 2018, but even allowing for that, he's a very interesting newcomer to hurdling for Alan King in the JP McManus hoops and needs monitoring, with the future in mind.
1.50 - Bateaux London Reynoldstown Novices' Chase (Grade 2, 3m)
Discounting any of the sextet contesting this Grade 2 is tough and one thing seems sure, we are unlikely to witness a repeat of the demolition administered by Copperhead in winning this race last year.
Sevarano and Hurricane Harvey set the standard on paper. The former never quite recovered having blundered at the first fence at Newbury over Christmas, a race in which he shed his unbeaten record over fences and finished fourth, with Demachine in third (getting 8lb).
Kerry Lee's charge has undergone a wind operation since that outing and could be all the better for it, while it Sevarano is very much respected in his bid to get back on track.
Fergal O'Brien's Hurricane Harvey is 2-3 over fences, with his defeat coming in a Grade 2 at Wincanton (2m4f, good) in November when Ga Law placed all the emphasis on going fast. Hurricane Harvey has since won in this grade at Doncaster in December over this sort of trip and the emphasis on stamina now will favour him, though he has to concede 5lb to baying rivals now and that rates a big enough challenge.
Full Back has picked up a couple of wins at Plumpton and Exeter over the winter for Gary Moore to earn his crack in this company, though he surely needs to improve taking on better rivals here; while Kalooki hasn't entirely convinced with his jumping in three starts and will be punished for any shortcomings in that department now.
Jumping has been the strong suit for REMASTERED in his heavy-ground wins at Carlisle (2m4f) and Wetherby (3m) since going chasing this term. Just what David Pipe's charge achieved in dismissing Baron De Midleton in a match at Christmas remains to be seen, but he did it in fairly stylish fashion and the suspicion is that this Network gelding is very much worthy of his place in this elevated company as a result. His fencing is a big asset and he can take the rise in class for the Pond House team.
2.25 - 'My Oddsboost' On Betfair Swinley Chase (Listed Limited Handicap, 3m)
Teenager Regal Encore is long-established a C&D specialist and ran another cracking race here in December, finishing just ahead of another re-opposing veteran in Sub Lieutenant, who was having his first start for new connections after arriving from Ireland. Old boys in this pack they may be, but both clearly remain capable of big efforts.
That conceded, it will be a surprise if one of their younger rivals can't produce a winning effort.
Leading owner JP McManus has a strong hand with Jerrysback, Musical Slave and Kapcorse joining the aforementioned Regal Encore.
Richard Johnson partners Jerrysback of the pair trained by Philip Hobbs, he's closely matched with Regal Encore on previous C&D form and shaped with a good amount of promise over 2m5f here last month on his first start in 13 months. The former champion jockey deserts Musical Slave, who was already in trouble when unseating him at Doncaster last month.
The Paul Nicholls-trained Kapcorse has been off the track for 644 days prior to a fair Newbury run in November and he undoubtedly remains unexposed as a chaser.
Cobolobo and Yalltari are closely matched on their C&D efforts four weeks ago, with Jonjo O'Neill's runner likely having more to offer still, while Hill Sixteen could bounce back in a first-time tongue-tie to have a say.
Kim Bailey's NEWTIDE earns the call in a tough contest. He won his first two starts as a chaser last season before finding the marathon trip against him in the National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. He travelled well for a long way on his comeback at Haydock (3m1½f, soft) in November before settling for third place in a race that has worked out quite well.
Eased 1lb and having undergone wind surgery since, he's another that retains plenty scope for further improvement as a chaser and this trip around here could prove optimal for a horse that was placed in one hurdles visit to Ascot.
3.00 - Betfair Cheltenham Free Bet Pot Builder Handicap Hurdle (2m3f)
There are Lots of chances in an ultra-competitive handicap. Gladiateur Allen doesn't boast a lot of experience but he improved to score in a 2m5f novices' contest here last month, getting there with plenty ease before seeing it out well. There's more to come from him but he faces a hardy bunch today.
Arrivederci meanwhile is another improving sort having posted an excellent second to Craigneiche in a Grade 3 contest over C&D four weeks ago. The winner looked very well handicapped there and a strong run from Jonjo O'Neill's charge is anticipated.
Stolen Silver has done well in three starts over fences this term without picking up a win, he certainly cannot be crossed off coming back over the smaller obstacles, with lightly-raced Kepagge and Good Man Pat others to monitor alongside impressive Wetherby winner Shannon Bridge for the hot Skelton team.
MALAYA is having a third bite at this race having finished fourth in 2019 and second last year when Nordano made use of a featherweight to lead the field a merry dance from the front. Paul Nicholls' charge has been running well over shorter trips this season in strong races and, as a result, is 2lb lower here than she was 12 months ago. She's more exposed than plenty of today's rivals but a repeat of last year's effort can see Harry Cobden's mare going close.
3.35 - Betfair Ascot Chase (Grade 1, 2m5f)
A race that seemingly revolves around 2019 winner Cyrname. He gained a lofty rating for hammering Waiting Patiently that afternoon and enhanced it still further when defeating a below par Altior over C&D in November of that same year. The doubters will feel he hasn't since proved his rating to be merited.
He has twice disappointed in the King George at Kempton, being pulled up by Harry Cobden in the Boxing Day showpiece in his most recent start. He had previously won the Charlie Hall at Wetherby in fine style but, on reflection, that form isn't the strongest.
He could still prove too good, but was well beaten in this contest last year when he came down at the last and, at the prices, is taken on with stablemate MASTER TOMMYTUCKER.
He's won 3-4 recently and clearly didn't relish the traffic of the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup in December at Cheltenham. He's best-suited dominating in small fields and could be good enough to win a Grade 1 in that scenario, despite some worries about his jumping.
Daryl Jacob rides for the first time here and, ideally, they'll win the battle to lead over Cyrname and Dashel Drasher. It might cost some early fuel to do that, but Master Tommytucker is at his peak when going along in front and it looks the best path to success for him here.
Dashel Drasher was gallant in fending off Bennys King from the front over C&D four weeks ago but he was out on his feet near the end and may pay for that now in this company.
Last year's winner Riders Onthe Storm has struggled in both starts this season, including when 26-lengths behind Master Tommytucker at Kempton last month, and faces a mountainous task to keep hold of his prize.
4.10 - Ascot Racecourse Supports Berkshire Vision Handicap Hurdle (2m7½f)
Another treacherous handicap for punters to try and resolve. Joint top-weights Zhiguli and Flight Deck arrive on the up following wins at Plumpton and Bangor last month and both are considered despite facing tougher assignments now.
Niall Houlihan retains the partnership on Zhiguli, with trainer Gary Moore also saddling a lively second contender in the mare Ruby Yeats, the mount of Joshua Moore.
J'ai Froid is another upwardly mobile contender after impressive scores at Ayr and Doncaster during January, though the handicapper has added 11lb for that most recent Town Moor success.
One that might come in under the radar is REPUBLICAN for Oliver Sherwood. He was progressive in novice hurdles last term, wining at Taunton before finishing second to subsequent Martin Pipe runner-up Pileon at Ffos Las and then running sixth in a hot 2m5f Kempton Grade 3 won effortlessly by strong stayer McFabulous for Paul Nicholls.
Republican posted two solid efforts over fences here and at Fontwell earlier in the season and it's intriguing that his trainer opts to go back over timber now after a break. A mark of 120 could be well within his grasp, particularly should Johnny Burke's partner take to this increased stamina-test as it has looked he might.
4.45 - Dingley's Promise British EBF Mares' Standard Open NH Flat Race (1m7½f)
A mares' bumper to round proceedings off and one in which all bar Kayley Woollacott's Whenthepennydrops have the benefit of racecourse experience.
Jersey Lady made a winning start at Ludlow in October and has gained experience since in Listed affairs at Cheltenham and Huntingdon. That most recent effort in December was underwhelming and she must bounce back under a penalty now.
Code Name Lise chased home a hot-pot from the Paul Nicholls yard in last month's debut at Warwick and should come on plenty for the run, making her a danger, while So Said I and Universal Brook were also place on debut and should do better.
MISS FAIRFAX came from an unpromising position to finish with a flourish on her introduction last month at Hereford (2m, soft) for Hughie Morrison and Tom O'Brien.
She never stood a chance of getting to the front-running winner Ballybough Mary (had benefit of a previous C&D second) but would have got up for second given another stride or two. The yard haven't had many bumper runners in recent times but, historically, have tended to do well in this sphere and Miss Fairfax looks a big player in the finale with that initial experience in mind.