2-40 - WEATHERBY’S PRIVATE BANKING HANDICAP - 1 MILE
Grand Inquisitor shed his maiden at the second time of asking when landing a race at Nottingham over this trip with the minimum of fuss. He then dropped back in distance to contest a decent looking handicap at Sandown last month and dug deep to repel a late challenge from My Dream Boat. The form of that race is beginning to work out nicely as the third placed Go Dan Go has gone to win twice subsequently as too has the Mark Johnston trained Denzille Lane.
Mutasayyid looked more like his old self when finishing third to Western Reserve at Newmarket. That effort came off the back of a bitterly disappointing run at Haydock the time before. Paul Hanagan has gotten the best out of him recently and the combination could well prove the biggest danger to the selection. Rocket Punch is a fast improving sort for Andrew Balding. He has won his last two but this will need further progression as it is the toughest race of his short career to date. He deserves his place in this line-up and he certainly has an each-way claim.
There should be more to come from Sir Michael Stoute’s Grand Inquisitor though and he has to be high on any shortlist this afternoon with Pat Smullen replacing the injured Ryan Moore.
3-15 - GIGASET INTERNATIONAL STAKES (HERITAGE HANDICAP) - 7 FURLONGS
Heaven’s Guest remains of interest given his decent record at this track. He has run here numerous times in the past and has been placed on multiple occasions. He has even recorded a victory over the course and distance when landing a similar event back in October 2013. He is versatile regarding ground conditions, so even if the rain arrives and he should still be able to cope. He is still well handicapped on the best of his old form and provided his draw in stall two is not disadvantageous, he should put in another good account.
Bushranger looks to have plenty going for him given that he has won five of his seven career starts to date. He continues to go from strength to strength and Ed Walker has placed him to good effect. This is his toughest race to date but he is still only a four year old and there should be more to come with Graham Lee retaining the ride following their recent Newcastle win. Mark Johnston runners always command respect in events such as this and Enlace sneaks in at the foot of the handicap. The trainer has won the last two renewals of this race with massively priced runners so he has is worthy of respect and could figure amongst the places.
Heaven’s Guest is well used to these cavalry charges and Richard Fahey has his team in excellent shape. Jack Garrity takes a more than useful three pounds off his back and the combination look sure to go well.
3-30 - SKY BET DASH (HANDICAP) - 6 FURLONGS
See The Sun was a good second to Bushranger at Newcastle last time and seemed to indicate that he was coming back to somewhere near his best. The two most recent winners of this race have come up the centre of the track and he looks well drawn in order to try and do something similar. He is weighted to reverse recent form with Piper’s Note and can confirm form with the likes of Tangerine Trees and Kimberella now that the cheek-pieces finally seem to doing their job and are making him concentrate.
Tanzeel finished just in behind the selection at Newcastle when fourth to Bushranger. That was his first outing of the year and with him bound to improve for that he looks the biggest threat yet again. The Charlie Hills yard are in good form but Tanzeel’s unfamiliarity with big field handicaps is the only thing that is slightly off putting. Bogart has dropped back down to a winnable looking mark and is a previous course and distance winner. Neil Callan was the last person to get a win into Kevin Ryan’s charge and if in the mood, the six year old could well make the frame yet again.
See The Sun can enhance the good record that four year olds have in this particular race and with him representing a local trainer he is likely to prove popular on track. If repeating the effort he showed at Newcastle last time, he has the ability to go very close here.
SATURDAY 2-40 ASCOT GRAND INQUISITOR
SATURDAY 3-15 ASCOT HEAVEN’S GUEST
SATURDAY 3-30 YORK SEE THE SUN (E/W)