What are the best bets at Ascot this afternoon?
There’s a cracking card at Ascot this afternoon and – right on cue – our resident tipster has run the rule over all six races.
12.50: Follow Ascot On Twitter ‘National Hunt’ Maiden Hurdle, 2m5f141y
There’s plenty of good recent form on offer here and the winner will have to be above average. Alan King’s Kerrow should come on for last month’s reappearance fourth at Ludlow, the form of which has been franked since, and the stable remains in form. However, it was hard not be impressed by the winning performance of FLY DU CHARMIL in a hotly contested bumper at the Newbury Hennessy meeting and the five-year-old, who is unbeaten having also won his sole Irish point start, is taken to make a winning start over hurdles. Described by his trainer Warren Greatrex as a “exciting prospect” who jumps well at home, he might just have the touch of class required to win this.
1.20: Happy Retirement Champion Court Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase, 2m192y
This is a tight handicap and none of those to have run already over fences are entirely convincing, so I’m going to take a chance on chase debutant INK MASTER. He failed to shine in five starts for Philip Hobbs last season after coming over from Ireland and injured himself quite badly on the last of those at Doncaster in January. But he looked in rude health when winning at Worcester in October and wasn’t disgraced when finishing seventh (of 20) in a hot handicap at Cheltenham last time. He’s been given a chase mark of 122 – the same as his hurdles one – and that looks very fair, so I’m hopeful this ex-Irish pointer (placed twice in that sphere) can make a winning start over fences for a stable that can’t stop training winners.
1.55: Sky Bet Supreme Trial Novices’ Hurdle (Registered As The Kennel Gate Novices’ Hurdle) (Grade 2), 1m7f152y
Alan King rates YANWORTH very highly and sees him as a contender for Cheltenham Festival honours, so the five-year-old deserves to be a short price favourite for this Grade 2. A smart bumper performer last season when he finished seventh in the Champion Bumper, he has won both his hurdle starts in comfortable fashion and, while his trainer believes he will need further than two miles in time, his class should see him through. He’s just not a betting proposition at odds-on with some decent (and possibly quicker) types taking him on. The best of these could be the Paul Nicholls-trained All Set To Go, who showed the benefit of a breathing operation when hacking up on his hurdles debut at Southwell.
2.30: Mitie Novices’ Chase (Registered As The Noel Novices’ Chase) (Grade 2), 2m5f8y
Le Mercurey impressed when winning on his chase debut at Plumpton, while Junction Fourteen is chasing a hat-trick after wins at Uttoxeter and in a Grade 2 at Wincanton. However, they are taking on a potential top notcher in the shape of the Harry Fry trained THOMAS BROWN, who looked a natural when scoring here on his chase debut. The six-year-old earned the form comment “jumped proficiently” when making all on that occasion and his in-form trainer feels he can take high rank amongst this season’s novices, making him his ‘trainer’s pick’ in a recent Stable Tour. The current 2/1 on offer is decent (won’t last) – just 5/4 in a place – and he can be combined in doubles/trebles with confidence.
3.05: Mitie Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle, 2m5f141y
I was really taken by the performance of PITHIVIER in winning on his stable / handicap debut over this sort of trip at Southwell and reckon he can go in again, despite a hefty 13lb rise. Formerly with Donald McCain for whom he showed considerable promise, he was one for several horses removed from the yard by owners Paul and Clare Rooney, with Ben Pauling being the beneficiary. The Gloucestershire-based trainer is on course for his best season yet, with three of his 11 winners coming in the last fortnight, and he rates the five-year-old highly, describing him as a “stunning horse” in the post race interview. He’s a strong galloper who will get three miles in time but this trip is fine for now and I’d expect him to be ridden up with the pace.
3.40: Neptune Investment Management Championship Standard Open NH Flat Race (Listed), 1m7f152y
This is a hotly contested bumper with several winners in the line up. They include the Warren Greatrex-trained BURLINGTON BERT and, while he’s not been seen since winning one of these at Warwick in May, it could be worth taking a chance on his fitness with 6/1 available. His Berkshire trainer has enjoyed a meteoric rise since setting up at Uplands, Lambourn three years ago and his stable is chock-full of equine talent, including World Hurdle winner Cole Harden. It’s significant then that he singled the selection as his ‘trainer’s pick’ in a Stable Tour, saying he has come on in “leaps and bounds” since Warwick and was under consideration for some of the better bumpers later I’m the season. Hopefully, he can bring up a double for Greatex with stablemate Fly Du Charmil strongly fancied to land the opener.
12.50 Fly Du Charmil @ 5/2 Paddy Power
1.20 Ink Master @ 6/1 BetVictor
1.55 Yanworth (no bet at odds-on)
2.30 Thomas Brown @ 13/8 Paddy Power
3.05 Pithivier @ 5/1 Betfair
3.40 Burlington Bert @ 6/1 bet365