Our tipster Karl Hedley provides the odds for the weekend's races
12-45 FOUNDATION DEVELOPMENTS NOVICES’ HANDICAP HURDLE – 3 MILES
The Tourard Man seemed to relish this three mile trip at Southwell last time and that was his first win for new trainer Alan King. The front two in that race pulled some nineteen lengths clear of their rivals indicating that the form would be quite useful. He is taken to follow up now that he is fully race fit and once again renews his association with Wayne Hutchinson. He may well be an eight year old but there is very little mileage on the clock and there ought to be more improvement to come.
Rascal was allowed to dominate from the outset in a race that was also run at Southwell last time. He recorded a fourteen length victory on that occasion and will undoubtedly prove hard to catch if getting a soft lead. This race looks to have a bit more strength in depth about it though and this looks to be his toughest opposition to date. Wizards Bridge and Flintham may not appreciate this return to three miles and they are readily passed over.
Take A Bow was quite useful when trained by Nicky Henderson and comes here following a near three month lay-off. If back to somewhere near his best he could defy his likely double figure price to get involved. The Tourard Man is still not fully exposed and with Alan King back amongst the winners of late he has to be high on the shortlist.
3-00 MAPPIN & WEBBE SILVER CUP HANDICAP CHASE – 3 MILES
Houblon Des Obeaux ran a brilliant race on his seasonal debut at Newbury a few weeks ago in the Hennessy. He was headed in the last couple of furlongs but rallied gamely to regain second place behind the Oliver Sherwood trained Many Clouds. He was giving weight to all bar one rival on that occasion and whilst he has to do it all again this afternoon, he is taken to build on that effort now that the cobwebs have been fully blown away. He saw off many talented rivals on that occasion and this field whilst competitive does not look to have the same strength in depth about it. Venetia Williams has her stable in red hot form and Aidan Coleman bids for a seventh career win on board this course and distance specialist.
The Young Master won the Badger Ales Trophy at Wincanton and was then subsequently disqualified. He remains progressive and has been on an upward curve all season. Neil Mulholland has clearly found the key to him and with Barry Geraghty once again booked to ride, connections will be hopeful of another massive run.
Sound Investment was put firmly in his place by No Buts last time out and he may well be in the firm grip of the handicapper at present. Polisky has to rate as a danger off bottom weight but he tends to be his own worst enemy. If putting it altogether he has a definite each way claim. Houblon Des Obeaux should enjoy conditions this afternoon and he is taken to get a first win on the board for the season.
3-30 THE LADBROKE (GRADE 3 HANDICAP HURDLE) – 2 MILES
Bayan is a class act on his day and he has run numerous good races in recent months. He was placed at the Cheltenham Festival and then went onto win at Leopardstown before once again being placed at Galway. This is his first race back in a little over three months but he has a good record when fresh and Gordon Elliot landed this race a couple of seasons ago with Cause Of Causes. Davy Condon has ridden Bayan before and they have the class to give weight away to all bar one of their rivals to find themselves right in the mix here. Gordon Elliott has been sending out winners for fun in the last month and this five year old son of Danehill Dancer commands utmost respect.
Activial went into a lot of notebooks when he landed a Grade Two at Kempton last season. The form of that race has worked out incredibly well and the likes of Commissioned, Solar Impulse, Alcala and the re-opposing Goodwood Mirage have all come out to win subsequently. He has to be considered a serious threat here given his ideal conditions and the current form of Harry Fry’s yard. Pour La Victoire put in a fantastic front running performance at Cheltenham last month. Having won three of his last four starts he is clearly in the form of his life and should give another decent account. Bayan tends to enjoy these large field handicaps and he can make the frame at a decent price.
|SATURDAY 12-45 ASCOT
|THE TOURARD MAN
|SATURDAY 3-00 ASCOT
|HOUBLON DES OBEAUX
|SATURDAY 3-30 ASCOT