Good to soft ground at Ascot for the first of their two-day meeting and Doctor Ken (12.20) looks sure to have been extensively schooled since a poor round of jumping when beaten 6L at Aintree on his hurdles debut. A Market Rasen Bumper winner he is held in some regard by the Olly Murphy yard, and he can get off the mark at the second attempt. The 6/5 with 10Bet looks fair with the early money for Nicky Henderson’s Southwell Bumper winner Kincardine.
Faivoir made mistakes at a crucial time when fourth at Cheltenham last time, but I would be surprised if he did not reverse the form with the third home Torn And Frayed who meets the selection on the same terms.
Cascova (12.55) has the stamp of a chaser and receives 11lbs from the top-weight. His record on good or good to soft ground reads 1221 including a course win here over hurdles back in the spring. The selection – 3s with William Hill – is 1lb wrong at the weights and lacks chase experience, but this valuable prize is likely to have been targeted by Nicky Henderson for some time given the selection cannot cope with soft or heavy ground.
I am sweet on the chance of Guy (2.05) in the 2m 5f handicap chase for Nigel Twiston-Davies whose string are in such good form of late. The selection finished runner up to Senior Citizen in a valuable Market Rasen chase last month and the winner ran a cracker in the Grand Sefton over the National fences earlier in the month.
The selection won first time out last season and may not improve a great deal for the outing, but he is only a 6-y-old and the stable were quiet when he bucked the trend on his reappearance. He can confirm placings with the third home Red Risk who is 1lb better off for the 3/4L he was ahead of the Nicholls inmate in Lincolnshire. The 3s with William Hill at the time of writing looked about right – the 9/4 best price at 6.30 on Thursday evening is surely too short in suc h a competitve heat. He looks sure to drift on raceday.
The mare Pink Legend is considered the main danger and her stablemate Fontaine Collonges – who will be better again on softer ground going right-handed – landed the midweek nap at Warwick.
Induno (12.35) has been off the track since finishing fourth in a hot 2m 5f Cheltenham handicap 12 months ago when he might not have quite got home having travelled well to two out. He has had his wind operated on ahead of return to the track and he drops back in trip to an extended 2m 3f.
He went off a well backed 15/8 market leader on that occasion and has been dropped a couple of pounds. His subsequent absence from the track suggests something was found to be amiss and first time out may be the time to catch him. Tom Scudamore’s record on the horse reads 211 and he returns to the saddle this afternoon. The selection is 5/2 with William Hill.
Millbank Flyer (1.10) was no match for a couple of useful sorts over hurdles at Stratford on his reappearance and he begins life in novice handicap chases off what looks a decent mark. He failed to cope with heavy ground on his penultimate start but finished runner up at Hereford on good to soft ground this time last year.
He is bred to be better than his current mark – half-brother to Chantry House – and he can leave his opening mark behind. He will get further in time but this big galloping two miles should suit on his chase debut. The 11/4 with William Hill looks fair.