The BBC website suggests there is heavy rain due to hit Ascot on Friday morning and conditions are likely to be on the soft side of good for today’s six-race card.
The feature race is the listed contest over 1m 6f for the classic generation and Berkshire Rocco deserves to get his head in front after a series of excellent runs in defeat so far this term including when second in the St Leger to Galileo Chrome at Doncaster last month. It will be disappointing if he cannot add to his sole success at Chester last August.
Cold Front (4.50) led at the furlong pole when runner up at Doncaster over 7f last time and William Haggas drops his colt back down in trip for the concluding 6f handicap for three-year-olds only. The each way recommendation – 5/1 with William Hill – will appreciate any rain that hits the track and this stiff track should suit.
Her Majesty’s King’s Lynn was a beaten favourite in the Bronze Cup at Ayr last month, but the weight of money suggested he was considered well treated from a mark of 94. He has been dropped 2lbs for that effort and looks a big danger for Andrew Balding.
Wind and rain forecast for Fontwell Park’s jumps card and I am looking forward to the chase debut of IK Brunel (1.00) who won at the Sussex track over hurdles last October. The selection – 6/4 with 10bet – has the scope to make up into a top-class staying chaser although I am not convinced connections would want to see too much rain despite winning form on soft ground.
Coolanly has valuable chase experience for red hot Fergal O’Brien but he did not look the most natural of fencers in two starts last term although he looks sure to have been extensively schooled by his excellent handler.
Miss Heritage will appreciate the forecast rain and she did win first time out last season. A market move would be worth noting and trainer Lucy Wadham had a winner at Warwick on Thursday.
First Lord De Cuet (1.35) is another with winning form on soft ground and the grey was beaten less than a length by the mare Ebony Jewell at Haydock at the turn of the year giving 6lbs to the winner who is now rated 126. With that in mind David Pipe six-year-old could be well treated off a similar mark this afternoon. The stable has been among the winners of late, but you would not say they were firing on all cylinders just yet. The 14s with bet365 was too big and he is into 8s at the time of posting.
In the feature handicap chase over a trip just shy of 2m 6f Erik Le Rouge – 4s from 11/2 with bet365 – has every chance of maintaining his excellent record fresh for Jane Williams although he would not want the ground to turn too soft. The six-year-old has won first time out for the last couple of seasons and the yard had a winner at Warwick yesterday, but I just give the nod to Highway One O One (2.10) who has had his wind operated on since disappointing at the Cheltenham Festival back in March.
Chris Gordon’s eight-year-old – 7/1 with bet365 – has yet to win beyond an extended two miles but ran some good races in defeat last term and has been dropped 3lbs in the weights since his last start. The yard have not had any runners over the summer, but the hope is that this has long been the target with the stable doubly represented in this valuable chase for the track.
No rain forecast for Hexham and Pagero (2.55) will appreciate the forecast good ground and can continue his progression through the handicap ranks for Jonjo O’Neill. The selection – 2s with 10bet – has won three of his last four and was just touched off at Fontwell last month in his bid for a four-timer. A 2lbs rise may not prevent him returning to winning ways.
Some Reign (3.30) has his quirks – has refused to race twice – but I feel he is well treated despite the steadier of 11st 12lbs in the 2m handicap chase. Rose Dobbin has run a couple in recent weeks, and they have run both well. The ew recommendation was 13/2 with William Hill but, at the time of posting , is 9/2 with bet365.