THE CAP WILL FIT PERFECTLY AT ASCOT
Haydock 1.50 - I doubt the ground will be soft enough for Mr Antolini, although if we do receive late showers, bear him in mind. I was taken with GARO DE JUILLEY’s win at Chepstow last month in the Silver Trophy, a race which normally works out well and is already doing so (2nd place Whatmore has hacked up since).
He was one of only a few runners that came from off the pace that day and it looked a much improved performance compared to some of his runs when under the care of Paul Nicholls. If Sophie Leech has found the key to him then he could have more to offer off his new mark. Ascot 2.05 - Politologue is going to be a warm order and with the defection of Shattered Love it looks like he is the one to beat. His dead eye jumping makes him hard to catch on the front end and this looks to be his ideal trip. Although he has outstanding claims, at 11/8 he offers no real value in a race which has a few young improvers lurking.
BENATAR’s price has contracted during the week and I will be interested to see how he performs. I fancied him for the BetVictor Gold Cup before his late withdrawal and interestingly enough his lesser fancied stable mate won the race. I’m sure he is up to this grade and with match fitness to his advantage, I’m hopeful he can give the jolly something to think about. Haydock 2.25 - I’ve backed FIRST ASSIGNMENT in both his wins so far this season and I’m not stopping now. This is a poor turnout for a race usually so competitive but the better ground could be the reason for that.
Ian Williams’ charge looks firmly on the upgrade and connections have made the right decision allowing him to take his chance under a penalty as his main rival, Paisley Park, has to give him a fair lump of weight. Ascot 2.40 - I was, initially, disappointed with IF THE CAP FITS (NAP) on his seasonal debut at Wincanton. However, looking back at the race I am willing to concede that it might have been a fair return to action. Verdana Blue is a different animal on decent ground and the conditions of the race suited her better than my lad. I’m sure Harry Fry left a little bit to work on as well so I’m confident we will see a better horse today. The extra four furlongs should bring about further improvement. Haydock 3.00 - If the £1m bonus wasn’t on offer I doubt we would see MIGHT BITE and Native River clash this early into the campaign. The Gold Cup first and second look set for another gruelling duel and it’s the horse that came off second best in March that I fancy today. I was a keen admirer of Might Bite going into the Gold Cup and I think he was beaten by the rain softened ground more than anything else, so on a better surface I’m hopeful he can turn the tables. The pair pinged from fence to fence in what was one of the better Gold Cups of recent times and if we get a similar battle today I will be most satisfied.
Ascot 3.15 - I was a doubter of OZZIE THE OSCAR (NB) until his run in the Haldon Gold Cup where his showed class and determination. I always thought he was fortunate to be rated as high as he was but he clearly has plenty of ability and has certainly improved over the summer. Haydock 3.35 - Today is the last chance I give to BRAQUER D’OR to cash in on his lenient mark. The form he has shown suggests he should be rated a lot higher than mid 130’s but he hasn’t quite catapulted himself just yet. The ground should be in his favour and this could be his last chance to win a big pot before the ground turns.