Soft ground expected at Ascot ahead of their two-day December meeting.
In the 2m novices’ handicap chase I am surprised to see Amarillo Sky is again going right-handed having jumped consistently out to his left when scoring at Wincanton last time. A 3lbs rise is fair given I feel he would have won by ten lengths had he jumped straight but this is a better race, and he might be best served by better ground. He is reluctantly overlooked.
The vote goes to Red Rookie (1.45) even though he has been raised 6lbs for finishing second at Chepstow on his chase debut for Emma Lavelle when he had Amarillo Sky – 4lbs better off – 8L back in fourth. The selection – 9/4 with MansionBet – is unbeaten in two starts going right-handed and his neck Chepstow defeat was the first time he had lost at today’s trip of two miles.
The market is headed by Brave Seasca who was beaten over 30L at Chepstow by the selection but was a different proposition when winning by 10L at Warwick on soft ground last week. He carries a 7lbs penalty today but is 5lbs well-in having been raised 12lbs by the handicapper. This is a much better race, but he looked well ahead of his mark last time and he did jump slightly to his right in the midlands. This track should suit.
The Grade 2 Novices’ Hurdle is an absolute belter with all five runners having won last time out by an aggregate of twenty-five lengths. Douvan’s brother Jonbon currently heads the market for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and is a shade of odds on at 8/11 to maintain his unbeaten record having impressed when winning a maiden hurdle at Newbury on debut.
I Like To Move It should ensure a decent gallop, but he carries a penalty as does the mare Elle Est Belle who would have been the selection had she not picked up 5lbs extra for winning a listed contest at Newbury last month. A fascinating race and no bet for me but it promises to be a most informative contest.
If the G2 Novice Hurdle is a vintage renewal the same cannot be said of the Novice Chase which may not take that much winning. Pic D’Orhy (2.55) would have won a similar contest at Newbury last time but for coming down four out and this slight drop back in trip should suit. He is likely to get his own way up front and, if his jumping holds up, he will be tough to peg back. The selection is 11/10 with 10Bet.
Earlier in the card I hope to see Complete Unknown (1.10) go one better than when second at Chepstow earlier in the month. Connections paid £115,000 for this Irish import at Cheltenham’s horses-in-training sales after he landed a Thurles Bumper back in March and he has not had too much luck in two starts for Paul Nicholls – meeting interference at Warwick on debut before a mistake at the last cost him dearly in south Wales. The gelding is 15/8 with 10Bet.
I hope it is a good day for the Emma Lavelle stable as Eureka Creek (11.40 is taken to land the opening Mares’ Novices hurdle at Uttoxeter. The selection – 5/4 with Boylesports – won her sole point in her native Ireland and travelled well for a long way when runner up at Leicester on debut for the yard last month. That run should put her spot on for today and leading conditional Joe Anderson takes off a valuable 7lbs.
Not a great card at Uttoxeter but nice to see Bryony Frost return to the saddle for the first time since the weekend. She has two rides for Lucy Wadham.