TV TIPS (SATURDAY)
We begin today’s tv tips with the only hurdles races of the day, where seventeen are scheduled to go to post. Ch’tibello was only a length behind Supreme winner Altior last October and returned from a six month break with a convincing victory over some previous winners at Ayr last month, also beating a few who re-oppose here. With only four career runs under his belt there should be more to come and it would be a surprise if he was not in the mix at the business end, yet an early price of around 9/2 looks too short considering how competitive this race looks.
Paul Nicholls runs three here with All Set To Go looking the strongest of the three. He has won his last two and is partnered today by jockey Sean Bowen who has an excellent record when riding for the champion trainer and is in great form at the moment with a 62% place strike rate over the last two weeks. At an early price of around 10/1 he looks better value for an each way punt with four places available.
Wait for me has won three and placed three from six career runs and ran a cracker when fourth in the County Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March. He is another who looks to have the ability to get involved however all three wins have so far come on soft ground so he may be vulnerable to some already proven on better ground.
Other to consider include Gwafa and at a bigger price Swansea Mile, although preference is for All Set To Go.
All Set To Go (E/W)
Sign Of A Victory, who is probably better known for his hurdling career, returns to the flat for today’s first tv race here at Ascot and looks likely to go off a pretty short priced favourite. He won a maiden at Wolves over todays’ trip at the back end of 2015 and having won here previously over hurdles he should have no problems with the course, going or distance. On his handicap debut he may very well prove too strong for his rivals yet the price isn’t too tempting when he is up against some potential improvers.
King Bolete has his first run for Roger Varian and is of interest considering the yard have proved to be extremely consistent here at Ascot, posting a good winning strike rate and impressive level stakes profit figures over the last five years. He ran some solid races last summer despite just coming up short and knows how to win having won two from eight so could be a better value option to the favourite.
Of the others, Perestroika and Duratto are both previous course and distance winners so deserve respect while Classic Villager is another making debut for a new yard and could be open to further improvement.
King Bolete (E/W if 9/2+)
Just the seven scheduled to go to post for our second race from Haydock yet all could be considered in with a shout. You’re Fired steps up in class and the early odds suggest he’s unlikely to get involved, yet with two wins from two runs here at Haydock including one over todays’ trip, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him outrun his odds.
Kelinni has won three from four over seven furlongs and has race fitness on his side having won in convincing fashion at Thirsk last month, although is another stepping back in class and will likely find this tougher.
My selection in this race is the David O’Meara trained So Beloved who is a previous course and distance winner. He finished ahead of both Coulsty and Markaz on his penultimate run last year and held his form well throughout last season, winning three and placing three from ten and is taken to continue his resurgence under O’Meara.
A final mention must go to Absolutely So who hasn’t been seen for almost a year but has proven he runs well fresh previously and looks another who is capable of making his presence felt.
So Beloved (E/W if 9/2+)
Another seven runner affair as we return to Ascot for the fourth live race of the day. With many returning from a break from the track it is difficult to be overly confident in any of the runners and I would advise to tread carefully with any bets. However, we still have to dissect to here goes. Oriental Fox is of interest having missed the at Ormonde Stakes at Chester presumably to take his place here instead. He placed in his final three runs last year, including a close second in the Cesarewitch in October, yet all best runs have come over further and there is a chance the drop back in trip may go against him.
Scotland may well go off as favourite yet has tried this trip on five of his ten career runs and has only two thirds to show for his troubles, so a tentative choice is for Elite Army in the hope that trainer Saeed Bin Suroor’s patience is rewarded. The five year old won three from four in his early career including one over course and distance and returns to the racecourse after almost a full year away. He may just need the run after so long on the sidelines but if he is fit and well then his previous form would put him in with a decent chance.
Elite Army (E/W if 9/2+)
Our first trip to Lingfield sees five of the six runners arrive on the back of wins last time out. Mountain Bell heads the market and for good reason after a ten length victory last month at Windsor. Her trainer Roger Varian has won this race three times in recent years and will be relatively confident of adding another winner here.
The main danger looks to be Architecture who won at Nottingham when last seen in October, beating the John Gosden trained Snow Moon who won on reappearance just yesterday. She will need to prove she stays this extra distance but if she does then she should be right there at the business end.
Seventh Heaven improved for a step up to a mile, winning a Dundalk maiden by over three lengths last time out, however was well beaten on two previous runs on turf so will need to prove her effectiveness on this surface before seeing any of my money.
Of the remainder, Chinoiseries beat a subsequent winner on racecourse debut and although couldn’t follow up next time out she looks one capable of progressing further in future races.
Mountain Bell (WIN) – NAP
Tutu Nguru is the clear early favourite and drops down to handicap level in an attempt to return to winning ways. He has finished second in two of his last three runs but hasn’t won since last summer. Add to this the poor record of both favourites and three year olds in this race and I think there are better options elsewhere.
Pandora comes next in the market and makes her seasonal reappearance having moved over to David O’Meara. She won on racecourse debut over ten furlongs but disappointed in her final two runs so needs to bounce back to form and prove her effectiveness over this shorter trip.
At a likely each way price preference is for course and distance winner Light And Shade who ran a creditable third off today’s mark on seasonal reappearance and has a 71% strike rate for making the frame over a mile.
Light And Shade (E/W if 9/2+)
Across The Stars had twice finished second on turf before winning a twelve furlong maiden at Lingfield last month. This is an obvious step up in class but Sir Michael Stoute has a 30% winning strike rate on turf over the last two weeks and will be hoping for a big run from the See The Stars three year old.
Landofhopeandglory was touted as a possible A P O’Brien superstar of the future and just failed to get his nose in front on two occasions at listed level last summer before disappointing last month at Newmarket. He remains of interest given that the yard have started the season strongly yet preference is for Godolphin three year old Winning Story who, despite only being seen a racecourse on one occasion he ran out a convincing winner. That race is starting to look like a decent maiden as it has already produced two subsequent winners so with the promise of more to come as experience improves Winning Story is the selection here.
Humphrey Bogart has only won one from seven but was within a neck of So Mi Dar in the Derby Trial at Ascot last month so is another who commands respect.
Winning Story (WIN)
A large field handicap greets us for the final race live on tv yet with the majority of recent winners have returned prices of 14/1 or less so it seems prudent to concentrate on those at the head of the market.
Predominance has won two from three over seven furlongs and has only failed to make the frame in one of five career runs. He ran out a convincing winner at Haydock last month although runs off a mark of 96 today for his troubles.
Outback Traveller finished down the field in the same race at Haydock but was travelling strongly before getting stuck behind a wall of horses. He has been eased 2lbs for that and based on the way he travelled he should have more to come given clearer passage this time around.
Hold Tight comes next on the list having won and placed over this trip perviously. This will be just his fourth run and will be his first experience running in such a big field yet he has shown enough to suggest he can get competitive here.
Mullionheir has an excellent record on turf with three wins and two placed efforts from eight. He won on seasonal reappearance last season on his way to five wins from seven and connections will be hopeful he can continue where he finished last season.
Outback Traveller (E/W)