Four races on ITV4 this afternoon from Ascot but the good news is that reruns of Dempsey & Makepiece are aired in the morning – 9.20am. They remain a televisual feast.

Soft ground at Ascot and further significant rain forecast on Friday evening ahead of tomorrow’s feature card. The form of Everglow’s (1.25) second at Chepstow last time was given a boost when the winner followed up in a Sandown Grade 2 earlier in the month. The selection hung right last time and gave the impression today’s track would suit as would the slight rise in trip. The opening 10/11 was too big and the gelding is 8/11 with 10bet at the time of posting.

The form of market rival Nickelsonthedime’s second to Here Comes McCoy at Uttoxeter last time was let down by the winner who was beaten almost 20L at Wincanton earlier in the week. His previous second to Bobhopeornohope is decent form, however, but I favour the chance of the Philip Hobbs runner.    

Five of the six runners in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle Trial won last time but it is the exception Soaring Glory (2.20) who gets the vote. The selection fell two out when going best – as a 1/8 shot should – at Wetherby last time but had previously finished second to Nicky Henderson’s newcomer Dusart when given plenty/too much to do by jockey Jonjo O’Neill.

His success on his hurdles debut when beating the Paul Nicholls’ trained Bravemansgame is top notch novice hurdle form with the second now rated 143. The selection – 3s from 9/2 with Boylesports – won a soft ground Bumper here last November and he gets the vote ahead of impressive Newbury winner My Drago who may need further than the minimum trip going forward.

I was disappointed with the form of the Colin Tizzard runners last weekend but Molineaux ran a cracker for the stable at Ludlow earlier in the week and I think Fiddlerontheroof (3.05) bumped into a very good horse in Caribbean Boy at Newbury on good ground last time and today’s softer ground should see him in a better light.

The selection – 9/4 with William Hill – is three from four going right-handed in Britain and I thought he jumped very well at Newbury. He is not the quickest horse in the Tizzard stable, and will get further than 2m 3f in time, but he gets a narrow vote in a terrific G2 Novice Chase.

At Uttoxeter Donald Dux (12.37) has been raised a stone for winning at Newcastle last week but can race from the same mark this afternoon. The selection has won two of his last three starts and, with talented conditional Joe Williamson taking off 7lbs, you could argue that Andy Crook’s 6-y-old is 4lbs better off than for his win at Gosforth Park. The 11/8 with William Hill looks fair.

I think a 5lbs rise is fair for Diamond Brig (1.45) following his recent C&D success and he can follow up with Jerry McGrath keeping the ride for Henry Oliver. I remember the selection winning a poor Hunter Chase at Kelso, but he was a big disappointment for his previous connections. It is possible that first time out was the time to catch him, but chief market rival Kilbrew Boy would prefer better ground. Duhallow Boy looks a bigger danger.

Saint Dalina (2.20) was a fluent winner of a conditional jockey’s event 10 days ago and, as with Donald Dux, is 8lbs “well in” with the rise in the handicap not coming into effect until tomorrow. He could be called the winner a long way out here last week and, if in the same mood, the mare will take plenty of stopping with her talented jockey excellent value for his 5lbs claim. The selection was odds against when betting opened but is is 10/11 at BetVictor at the time of posting.    

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