Ascot Preview
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Ascot Preview

Ascot's jumps season goes up a gear on Saturday afternoon with the Berkshire circuit holding a quality seven-race card. Grade 2 action comes via the Chanelle Pharma 1965 Chase and the Coral Hurdle, with Ascot racing from 12.20pm-3.50pm on ground forecast to be Good, good to soft in places. The Racing Post previews the card.





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12.20 - Molton Brown Novices' Hurdle (2m5½f)

Four runners with mixed back stories. French import Go Sacre Go has undergone a wind op and now sports a hood on his first start since Boxing Day, where he was well held in an above-average Kempton novice in his first appearance for Nicky Henderson. He should be capable of much better.

The Strap Man twice placed in Irish point-to-points back in 2019 but has been absent since. He too has undergone wind surgery and debuts for Colin Tizzard now with the market sure to guide.

Jazz King was unfortunate to bump into a winning newcomer at Ffos Las three weeks ago, Sam Thomas' charge having pulled more than 30-lengths clear of everything else when narrowly beaten. He's an obvious contender but, with Paul Nicholls' string in fine fettle hurdling debutant FLEMENSTIDE gets the nod.

His final bumper run at Ayr in the spring was disappointing on ground perhaps quicker than ideal but his two earlier showings were sound, including a win at Exeter. Bryony Frost partners today and he's bred for this challenge.

Selection: Flemenstide

Next Best: Go Sacre Go


12.55 - Ebony Horse Club Novices' Limited Handicap Chase (3m)

The Nicholls/Frost alliance have another excellent contender in Jeremy Pass, who was second in last month's chasing bow at Chepstow and is entitled to build on that. He hasn't though always been one to relish a battle and so will potentially require all of his rider's urgings to score.

Pats Fancy made an acceptable start to his chasing carer for Rebecca Curtis when fourth in that same race and should be more competitive now.

Rapper has scope to make his mark in this sphere based on his Aintree run 13 months ago where he finished fourth. He may have needed the reappearance a fortnight ago over sticks and should be sharper here.

After good runs in defeat when second at Uttoxeter and Exeter already since switched to chasing, no surprises if ASK A HONEY BEE lands this for Fergal O'Brien and Paddy Brennan. That latest effort was advertised when Threeunderthrufive scored in a good novice event at Cheltenham last weekend and, now returned to a handicap scenario, he looks the one to beat.

Selection: Ask A Honey Bee

Next Best: Rapper

1.30 - Colts & Fillies Club Mares' Handicap Hurdle (2m7½f)

Martha Brae did the job nicely on first start for new trainer Dan Skelton at Exeter earlier in the month over 2m5½f. She was ridden patiently by Harry Skelton and quite readily came through to win her race. An 8lb rise isn't certain to prevent her following up. She's got no worries at this longer trip, though this is a stronger race.

GET THE APPEAL ran well over fences on seasonal return when second at Kempton recently. She, too, is a proven stayer and is rated 2lb lower in this sphere. Factor in the 7lb claim of Ben Bromley and the first-time cheekpieces she sports now, and this looks a very good opportunity for a mare that could be hard to peg bag if she gets her own way on the lead.

The hat-trick seeking Shantou Sunset finds herself in a stronger grade and needs more to continue winning ways, while any market support for Emmpressive Lady and Coded Message on their seasonal bows would be notable.

Selection: Get The Appeal

Next Best: Martha Brae


2.05 - Chanelle Pharma 1965 Chase (Grade 2, 2m5f)

An intriguing renewal of this Grade 2 contest, won in recent years by the likes of Master Minded, Vautour, Politologue and Cyrname. Paul Nicholls has won it six times since 2010 and he calls on Master Tommytucker today.

He's got a big engine but can often leave his followers with hearts in mouths owing to his propensity to thrown in a shocker over a fence. He couldn't overhaul C&D specialist Dashel Drasher here in February as Jeremy Scott's charge won a Grade 1 that lacked depth.

There'll be no secrets in the approach from that frontrunner, 4-4 at Ascot, and notoriously stubborn at the head of affairs. He does however have a small question-mark over his lack of a prep run for this. Bennys King twice finished behind Dashel Drasher last season and gets 6lb here, though his seasonal return last month was lacklustre.

Also getting 6lb from the top pair on the card are DEFI DU SEUIL and Lostintranslation, former Grade 1-winning chasers both. They are also both returning on the back of wind surgery and seeking to put forgettable 2020/21 seasons behind them.

Colin Tizzard's runner had more opportunities last season but appeared to have completely lost his mojo. He was winning the Betfair Chase on this weekend in 2019 at Haydock and would be third in a Cheltenham Gold Cup the following spring, but he's a long way from there now.

Philip Hobbs' Defi Du Seuil is given the nod. He has come back from the doldrums before and he twice defeated Lostintranslation at Sandown and Cheltenham in the spring of 2019 over 2m4f. The following season he looked every inch the best two-miler around only to flop in a Queen Mother Champion Chase that appeared his for the taking.

He was disappointing in two runs last season but is a dual Cheltenham Festival winner and, lest it be forgotten, still just eight-years-old. He's got a point to prove but this seven-time Grade 1 winner is the class act and his Minehead trainer suggests things have gone well ahead of his return.

Selection: Defi Du Seuil

Next Best: Master Tommytucker

2.40 - Coral Hurdle (Grade 2, 2m3f)

Last month's Cesarewitch winner Buzz returns to hurdling with a clear chance on the back of that Newmarket success. Nicky Henderson's charge was clear of Song For Someone when second in an Aintree Grade 1 over 2m4f in the spring and that form puts him right in the mix.

Song For Someone won a three-runner renewal of this contest a year ago. He followed up in Cheltenham's International Hurdle soon after - much better form - and he typically goes well fresh. On the back of a wind operation, he's not one to discount for Tom Symonds and Aidan Coleman.

As with the previous race, Goshen is a bit of a conundrum. A hugely promising juvenile in the 2019/20 season, things didn't go his way last season. He was well behind Song For Someone at Cheltenham in December, then routed the same rival in the Kingwell at Wincanton on heavy ground in February (was receiving 6lb, off levels now).

Gary Moore's charge would then come up short in Grade 1s at Cheltenham and Punchestown won so well by Honeysuckle. Nothing of that ilk awaits him now and, after missing the Elite Hurdle at Wincanton recently on account of drying ground, his trainer is hoping for plenty give underfoot. At his best, he could readily land this.

MOLLY OLLYS WISHES easily dispatched a field of mares at Wetherby in Listed company three weeks ago for Dan Skelton and Bridget Andrews. She stays beyond this trip and an Ascot test of stamina should be to her liking. She is developing all the time as a hurdler and could have a leading role again this afternoon. At the prices, she's perhaps being underestimated.

Selection: Molly Ollys Wishes

Next Best: Goshen


3.15 - Gerard Bertrand Hurst Park Handicap Chase (2m1f)

Amoola Gold got up late over C&D to thwart the re-opposing Monsieur Lecoq three weeks ago, the pair are likely to get amongst it again now, with the Dan Skelton inmate sporting new cheekpieces in a bid to improve still further. Sully D'oc Aa was well held behind them on his first start of the season and has plenty to work on.

Diego Du Charmil is a C&D winner in the past - taking the same race in 2019 that Amoola Gold won this month - but he's spent two years hurdling since finishing second to stablemate Capeland in this race soon after.

He didn't figure on his comeback over hurdles at Ffos Las and has questions over him, though it is noteworthy champion trainer Paul Nicholls aims him at this contest a second time - in the same colours as Dolos, the mount of Bryony Frost.

Sky Pirate was one of last season's success stories, excelling himself with three wins at this sort of trip including the Grand Annual at the Cheltenham Festival off a mark of 152.

He was six-lengths adrift of BEFORE MIDNIGHT at Cheltenham on his comeback four weeks ago. Sam Thomas' charge had won at Chepstow in April despite what could have been a show-stopping mistake four out and he clearly has progressed again based on that all-the-way Cotswolds victory, where his fencing was exemplary.

He was very strong in the run up the hill and the stiff finish here should again be to his liking. He's up 8lb but might have the answers again under Sam Twiston-Davies.

Selection: Before Midnight

Next Best: Diego Du Charmil

3.50 - Box4Kids Open NH Flat Race (1m7½f)

Our Jester was second-best in two bumpers at Newbury and Ludlow back in the spring and Hughie Morrison has snapped up Nice de Boinville for the ride here. They set the standard on form and should be going close.

Point-to-point winner Another Mystery is one to note on bow for Lucy Wadham with Bryony Frost on board, as is Dan Skelton's filly Emily's Star, while Monviel debuts for Philip Hobbs and Scarface should be wiser for the run at Chepstow five weeks ago.

Emma Lavelle's DREAM IN THE PARK was second at Uttoxeter last month on debut despite getting a bit short of room in the closing stages. With his rider again taking off 10lb, he should get in the shake-up.

Selection: Dream In The Park

Next Best: Our Jester



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