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A SUPERB day of racing is headlined by the huge nine race card at Ascot including the feature Ascot Chase at 3.55.
Last year WAITING PATIENTLY (nap) saw off Cue Card in a memorable tussle with a career best effort and it was no shock to see him out on his feet at the end against such a high-class opponent, a hard race to come out of.
His only subsequent start was when unluckily unseating in the King George at Kempton Park, but I thought that was the wrong pathway to take. Here is a horse with a very classy cruising speed which means that three miles at an end to end gallop will always find him out at the business end.
I thought he was actually a good bet for the Game Spirit Chase at Newbury in deep ground last week before racing was called off but as long as there is a bit of give in the ground at Ascot, he should get a lovely tow into the race from both Aso and Cyrname and put them both to bed down the home stretch and 7/4 or thereabouts looks a very fair offer from the bookmakers.
The Denman Chase (2.45) should go the way of King George hero CLANS DES OBEAUX with Terrefort the obvious danger. I am not quite sure what to conclude with the latter’s run at Cheltenham. Did he need the outing or did he simply not stay the stamina-sapping trip. I am leaning towards the former so make him the biggest danger to the Paul Nicholls’s charge.
The rearranged Betfair Hurdle at 3.20 has only attracted a field of 14 which is a shame, but offers a really good chance to novices Al Dancer and Getaway Trump to make their marks before moving onto the Cheltenham Festival.
However, the bookmakers have got them covered and with good to soft ground the going port of call I thought that the one remaining piece of value available was WILLIAM H BONNEY.
The lightly raced eight-year-old has turned over a new leaf since having wind surgery and rattled up two wins in lesser company at Hereford and Huntingdon.
But he has only gone up 8lbs for those two victories and I have always been of the opinion that racing right-handed would be his port of call.
My one slight worry is that Ascot is of course a more searching track than either of those two venues so there has to be a doubt as to whether he will get home in a truly run race, but that is somewhat compensated by a top-price available of 20/1 so he looks the each-way play against the younger brigade.
Former Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Coneygree would bring the house down should he defy top-weight in the three mile handicap chase at 2.10, but his freewheeling style may just set this up for something else.
Black Corton may finally have been caught by the handicapper which means that bottom-weight REIKERS ISLAND (nb) could prove the value here.
He was just outstayed by a back to form Carole’s Destrier at Newbury last time out when perhaps Richard Johnson could have held onto him for a bit longer.
He should get a nice tow through from Coneygree here and I will be hugely disappointed if he isn’t involved in the finish here for this valuable prize.
There are a whole host of dour stayers in action for the Grand National Trial at Haydock Park (3.35) headed by Yala Enki.
There is a possibility the top-weight would ideally want more give in the ground, but he is dangerous nonetheless despite running off a career high mark, but his third in the Welsh National was an outstanding effort and I make him the biggest danger to former winner VIEUX LION ROUGE.
The 10-year-old is set to run off the same mark as when winning this event in 2017 and this sort of ground is right up his street and maybe plays against several of his rivals. An 11lbs penalty for winning here in testing ground last time out is a big anchor for Chef D’Oeuvre to carry but he was mightily impressive that day and could still go well off bottom-weight in one of the most competitive renewals of this contest in a long time.
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