Daily Star

HOORAY HENRY

Friend for you

- By Mark Winstanley

IT ROCKS my boat that the in-form Ben Pauling has decided to run HENRY’S FRIEND (1.50) in the Grade Two Sodexo Live! Reynoldsto­wn Novices’ Chase at Ascot this afternoon – rather than take on the handicap later on the card.

This beast fences like Gene Kelly in The Three Musketeers, as victories at Hereford and Newbury on his last two starts have underlined.

The shrewd trainer is also sticking on cheekpiece­s for the first time, which can only aid his cause.

With five runners facing the starter, the cunning Baldrickli­ke plan is to back Henry’s Friend at 15-2 with a benevolent firm offering ¼ the odds on a place 1-2.

Having finished second of 19 in a handicap at Kempton in January, NEMEAN LION (2.05) can go one better when he lines up in the Jennings Bet Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton over a mile and seven furlongs.

MONVIEL (2.25) was found to have a fibrillati­ng heart when he disappoint­ed on his last run over fences, so it’s a cute move by the excellent Harry Derham to race him back over timber in the Thoroughbr­ed Industry Employee Awards Handicap Hurdle over two miles and three furlongs at Ascot.

This horse was fifth of 16 at Sandown n March in a race which has thrown up untold winners when rated 129 over the smaller obstacles, so he is handicappe­d to play a role in the finish running off a perch of 128. Hunt down a layer offering five places and back the well-treated creature at 8-1.

Gary Moore’s BOTOX HAS (2.40) must carry a 6lb penalty for a victory at Wetherby in November when he lines up for the Grade Two Virgin Bet Rendlesham Hurdle over three miles at Haydock Park, but this game frontrunne­r will stick carry my hard-earned around the 5-2 mark.

The mudlark showed his liking for course and distance when accounting for a dozen

opponents in November 2022, and that heat threw up seven subsequent winners.

Caoilin Quinn gets on very well with the horse and although he can’t claim his 3lb allowance in this race, I expect the in-form jockey to bounce out and make all the running.

Paul Nicholls has always stated that THREEUNDER­THRUFIVE

(3.00) is a better horse racing right-handed (his record racing going this way is 21111) so this consistent sort is begging to be backed at 6-1 each-way in the Injured Jockeys Fund Swinley Handicap Chase run over three miles.

My selection was runner-up at Cheltenham off a ledge of 150 in December for which he has been nudged up to 152.

But back racing clockwise, it’s hard to see him being booted out of the parcel with title-chasing Harry Cobden riding like a man possessed.

With the terrain at Haydock Park resembling Passchenda­ele, we need an animal with bottomless stamina in the Virgin Bet Grand National Trial Handicap Chase over three and a half miles at Haydock Park.

IWILLDOIT (3.15) was third of 19 in the Coral Welsh National ran over three miles and six furlongs at Chepstow when rated 153 so he has every chance in this easier contest running off a perch of 149.

This ultra-game beast landed the same marathon test in 2022 and also a 13-runner three miles and five furlongs handicap at Warwick last January in very testing conditions. Snap up the 7-1 each-way.

If L’HOMME PRESSE (3.36) is to take his chance in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, the 170-rated horse will have to capture the Betfair Ascot Chase run over three miles.

 ?? ?? ■ EL OF A CHANCE: Monviel can triumph at Ascot
■ ONE TO TRUST: Henry’s Friend can make the frame at Ascot
■ EL OF A CHANCE: Monviel can triumph at Ascot ■ ONE TO TRUST: Henry’s Friend can make the frame at Ascot

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