FREDDIE’S READY TO GIVE US A PAY DAY
Ascot 1.50 - With the ground so firm, trainers are hesitant to let some of their better horses run on such a hard surface.
So I was relieved to see Nicky Henderson declare WENYER READY FREDDIE (NAP) as I think he is one of the bets of the weekend. He has always been highly rated and although he struggled for consistency over hurdles he was never over faced.
Henderson knew his future lay over the larger obstacles and, after a good break, he returned with a second placed effort at Uttoxeter against Lil Rockerfeller. At the time it looked a great run and looking at what the winner has achieved since backs that up. There was no fluke about it and this intermediate distance should be right up his street. Take your buckets down the bookies and get ready to cash in on Freddie!
Wetherby 2.05 - I’m going to throw one in here which hasn’t been getting the respect it deserves. WHATZDJAZZ is a good ground-loving mare who has some strong form to her name. When she has faced a decent surface she has performed admirably in some hot races. She is a strong travelling type so the drop back to two miles shouldn’t hinder her too much and although the two market leaders will be the focus of much of the betting, I advise you to think twice before disregarding my selection.
Ascot 2.25 - Harry Skelton’s presence at Ascot today suggests that SHANTOU ROCK is perhaps one of the stable’s better chances today and I can see why. This bold front runner seems to perform best when fresh and once in a jumping rhythm is very hard to peg back. The way Ascot is set up could suit him.
Wetherby 2.40 - I’ve tipped two Skelton runners so why not make it a hattrick? Everyone seems to be focusing on who isn’t lining up in this year’s Charlie Hall whereas they should be looking at who is running. It will be noted that a reinvigorated VIRGILIO has been declared. A horse with obvious potential 18 months ago, struggled to put his best foot forward at times but Dan Skelton has worked his magic and got this horse back to his best. He loves a decent surface and his run at Uttoxeter last time out was an impressive weight carrying performance.
Ascot 3.00 - I was very keen on Deyran De Carjac in this race but Alan King has decided to wait to cash in on his lenient mark which forced me to think again. I’ve settled on MAGIC DANCER (NB). He returned from a summer break at Cheltenham last week, on what I thought was a very good mark, being just 4lbs higher than when he hacked up at the same track in the spring. Unfortunately he met a lot of traffic as the race developed and eventually bumped into a good one. However, he remains on the same mark here and, granted a good pace to aim at, I think he can cash in. Wetherby 3.15 - OLD GUARD edges it as he has the benefit of a recent run under his belt and thrives off good ground. Paul Nicholls would have been pleased with his reappearance at Kempton as the two mile trip might just have been a bit sharp for him and he should be much more at home over three miles in a weak looking grade two. Wholestone is easily good enough to win this but I just think he could be caught out for fitness late on.
Ascot 3.35 - If you haven’t had a winner by this point in the day it might be time to PLAY THE ACE. Peter Bowen’s runner is a proper good ground horse who has rediscovered his best form in recent months and is still 5lbs below his best mark. Carrying bottom weight will certainly aid his cause and the Bowens aren’t adverse to picking up a big Saturday prize.