Ascot Race Preview, 02/11/19

Saturday November 2nd

Ascot 2.10
Byrne Group Handicap Chase Class 1 Listed
2m167y – Going: Good to Soft (Good in places) – 13 runners

* = Shortlist or Alternative: ** = Selection

Best run last season on reappearance when 2nd to Caid Du Lin in the good handicap over this c/d in November, made most, ridden 2 out, was closed on going to last, headed and no extra run-in, went down with honours; nothing else near that last season, but that tells you what you’ll get from him here – a strong pace, and if he’s on it, every chance at the last
Diego Du Charmil*
Rather wasted his time chasing Altior round but did okay in Desert Orchid at Kempton over Christmas, 4 lengths when carried left 3 out, pushed along, outpaced going to 2 out as Altior went clear, kept on into clear 2nd approaching last, some 20 lengths 2nd jumping, no further impression. With his mark down a bit, has a realistic chance
Imperial Presence
Usually seen in the Summer; tried to make all (did so at Stratford in June 2018) but lightly raced of late. Best recent run at Cheltenham in April in Silver trophy, narrow advantage after 3 out, mistake and headed 2 out, faded, ridden, kept on approaching last, no extra under pressure up the hill, stuck to task, 6 lengths 4th to Mister Whitaker. On softer ground, pulled up behind Romain De Senam when last seen at Newton Abbot in May. Usually races over 2m4f these days and not certain to be suited by the drop in trip: will be up with the pace
Three chase wins last season with best effort coming at Ludlow in March, prominent, keen, lost ground back straight, couldn’t go with 1st 2 from 9th and firmly pushed along, stayed on and closed on them by home turn, took 2nd and pecked on landing 4 out, ridden, no impression on leader approaching 2 out, stayed on approaching last, carried head to one side, sustained effort and challenged last 175 yards, led close home, ridden out, stayed on well final strides. Didn’t look straightforward and the runner-up rather curling up helped at Ludlow: unexposed though
Caid du Lin*
Beat Speredek to win here last November, held up and gradually reeling him back in the last half mile. Shaped well on reappearance at Chepstow on October 12th, midfield when in close to 11th, made ground home turn, at most nudged along approaching 5 out, niggled along when not fluent 4 out, pushed along after it, began to stay on 3 out, put under pressure approaching 2 out, stayed on into 2nd, chased The Bay Birch going to last when 4 lengths to find, hard driven run-in, no extra, kept on, drew clear of 2nd, no chance with winner though closed up late. Yet to run out of the first two over fences at Ascot, a good run looks on
Clondaw Castle
Two novice chase wins last season, making all: ran well to a point in Arkle at the Cheltenham Festival last season, raced close up and travelled comfortably, chased Duc Des Genievres from 3 out,  firmly pushed along as winner asserted on straightening, looked held 2 out, hard ridden, faded, driven after last, looked heavy-legged and tired, weakened and was closed on, lost 2nd then 3rd 150 yards out, no more, but a better run than his finishing position suggests, having travelled like the second best horse in the race. Probably feeling the effects when below form bhind Ornua at Aintree. Something to find but could easily find it
Three chase wins in a busy novice chase season, shaping as though 2m was short enough at Sandown in January when runner-up to Darebin, making up 5 lengths from 2 out having been off the bridle a long way out; appeared to run to form despite finishing last behind Eddiemaurice at Ascot in March, reluctant leader, still in narrow lead when in close to 3 out, nudged along home turn, moved the strongest till in close and headed 2 out, hard ridden, checked out quickly and soon last, well held jumping last, ridden and kept on a little run-in, closed on the 3rd last 75 yards. Form chance, but often a weak finisher
Champagne At Tara
In this race last year (only five ran) had a chance 2 out, hard ridden and stayed on going to last, every chance, the worse jump, looked held early on run-in, stayed on and closed on Vosne Romanee late but always held. Other best effort was 2nd to Double W’s at Stratford in June, held up  and making headway on the final circuit, but no extra from the last. Was okay with big fields over hurdles but not over fences up to now
Free-going front runner won two chases in small fields before finding handicap company too tough at Ludlow in May, joined up front 8th and weakening from the home turn when 4th to Capital Force. Tends to come back to the field in races this competitive
The Last Day
Sound debut run for Henry Oliver-yard when 2nd to Ballyhill at Aintree over 2m4f in December, led 8th, headed 10th, ridden into 12th, tracked leaders home turn, moved comfortably, pushed along approaching 2 out, every chance, hard ridden and chased Ballyhill approaching last, 1st 2 pulled clear, put under pressure, ridden out from last, stuck to task but no impression. Nothing else in three subsequent starts and has now joined Claire Dyson, a trainer who last had a winner in March (no wins from last 30 runners) and this one hasn’t been raced over this short a trip since his bumpers
Appears on the downgrade, not getting out of the rear behind Ballywood at Ludlow in March and beaten further since, coming in officially 97 lengths behind Ballyvic Boru at Wetherby on October 16th when last seen
Cap St Vincent
Progressing chaser has won three of his last four including on reappearance at Exeter on October 10th in a 0-130 handicap, good ground from 9th, tracked leaders going comfortably home turn, at most nudged along when slight mistake and slightly hampered 4 out, disputed lead going best 3 out, was taking definite lead and going best anyway when left clear 2 out, not shaken up, 8 lengths up last, at most niggled along run-in, not asked for maximum effort to maintain clear lead, readily by 8 lengths from Cougar’s Gold. Usually races at 2m so won’t be inconvenienced by coming down in trip, but a big ask, Class 3 to this good-class handicap

Shortlist: Speredek, Diego Du Charmil, Caid du Lin

Ascot 3.20
Sodexho Gold Cup Handicap Chase Class 1 Grade 3
2m7f180y – Going: Good to Soft (Good in places) – 17 runners

Black Corton
On this day last year, chased Definitly Red home in the Charlie Hall Chase: declared in this on account of the better ground here than at Wetherby. Won Oaksey Chase at Sandown in April after losing his place halfway then making headway in the last six furlongs, led 3 out, moved best 2 out and beat Gold Present 11 lengths. Last seen out in the Galway Plate in July and went down with honours, pushed along to make a start, travelled comfortably as chased leader final circuit, niggled along approaching 2 out and last, led last 2, arguably moved best of the field as led half a length turning for home, soon driven, was hampered by loose horse entering final furlong, headed, stuck to task but no extra last 150 yards, beaten just over 3 lengths by Borice. Big ask here but a contender even though he carries 11-12 (carried 11-10 at Galway)
Double Shuffle
Presumably also giving the Charlie Hall a miss for the same reasons as Black Corton, the standout-run last season was 2nd to Walt in Grade 3 handicap chase at Kempton in February, led 9th, niggled along after 4 out, firmly pushed along home turn, stayed on, not going as well as Walt approaching 3 out, steadied into it, hard driven, stayed on, was headed 2 out, sustained effort under pressure, changed legs approaching last, unable to go with winner a few strides off it, beaten a length. Not much else last season. It’s handicap company on this reappearance and could run a race, although he hasn’t run close in races with more than 13 runners in them before now
Go Conquer*
Won this race in 2017, and ran last year too but only 3rd to Traffic Fluide, then built on promise shown here and then at Doncaster next time to take Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster in January, always first two, travelling better than Monbeg River 3 out, going on 2 out and ridden out: was pulled up in the Grand National when weakening on the final circuit, and made little contribution before pulling up in Oaksey Chase at Sandown when last seen. Has gone well fresh before and hard to totally rule out
Former high-class chaser, but on first start for Sam Thomas showed little at Chepstow on October 12th, began to lose place and midfield when mistake 11th, kept on approaching 5 out, hung left and lost ground approaching 4 out, well held when mistake 3 out, pushed along, little ground going to 2 out, beaten 26 lengths behind The Bay Birch. Hard to fancy here
Cobra De Mai
Had cheekpieces on when winning over the New Course at Cheltenham in April, led going best when pushed along approaching 2 out, led 4 lengths jumping, ridden further clear between last 2, some 8 or 9 lengths up last, ridden out, stayed on well, pulled further clear, readily by 13 lengths from Rocky’s Treasure. Outclassed behind Black Corton in Oaksey Chase at Sandown on the final day last season, leading to the Pond Fence three out and weakening between the last two. Tough task first up off his inflated 153-mark, all the more so as he has no wins in fields bigger than nine on his record
Won first two chases, the second at Ascot in December, led 14th, steadied into 3 out, moved comfortably home turn, shaken up once in line for home, stayed on, ridden into 2 out, pushed along, stayed on to draw clear going to last, beat Jerrysback just over a length. Better form when 3rd to Defi Du Seuil in Scilly Isles at Sandown, niggled along starting final circuit, in close to 8th, made ground going more comfortably and chased leader approaching 12th, mistake 13th, in close to 14th and niggled along again, stuck to task under a ride and 3 lengths down 3 out, ridden and going worst of the 1st 3 approaching 2 out, hard driven between last 2, stayed on, not totally done with last, outpaced early on run-in, no more. Has shaped as though 3m would suit more than once: a bit to do off his 151-mark but unexposed
Mister Malarky
Three chase wins including the Reynoldstown over this c/d in February, off the bit from halfway and staying on under a ride from 4 out to beat Now McGinty. Best run of the season behind Kildisart in the 3m1f handicap chase at Aintree in April, pushed along before not fluent 14th, vigirously pushed along after it, lost place before 4 out and jumped it in 7th some 5 lengths down, hard ridden home turn, stayed on to chase leaders 2 out, hard driven, every chance approaching last, hard ridden, no more run-in, kept on but no impression, beaten 5 lengths. Will make up into a stayer this season (think Welsh National): has a chance here but will be hard work and no stand-out
On The Blind Side
Positively ridden when winning at Kempton in January,  led narrowly 13th, niggled along in at most a length lead home turn, was about that in front 3 out, ridden, was challenged approaching 2 out, 1st 2 pulled well clear, hard driven between last 2, stayed on, steadied into last but the better jump, ridden out, stayed on well to pull clear of Talkischeap. After several slow jumps was pulled up in the RSA Chase, and reverted to hurdles for last start when 2nd to Younevercall in Grade 2 at Sandown in April, mistake 7th, made ground next, chased winner 3 out, pushed along and outpaced approaching 2 out, beaten 9 lengths. Not sure a race this competitive is a good idea given the way he jumped in the RSA
Adrien Du Pont
Apparently proved himself over 3m when winning at Kempton in December, held up, midfield 13th, further ground and prominent 14th, effort delayed approaching home turn, produced to challenge 3 out, at most nudged along on outer approaching 2 out, shaken up after it, stayed on and led narrowly approaching last, the better jump, driven clear, beat Just A Sting just over 3 lengths. Took 3rd run-in after being dropped out again in Grade 3 handicap at Kempton behind Walt, only passing a rival for the first time going to the fourth last. Made no contribution in Topham at Aintree last start after mistakes. With no wins in fields bigger than nine to his name it’s hard to see him coming from last to first this time
His last two wins over fences were in the 2017 and 2018 Tophams – only placing last season was in Becher Chase, also over the National fences, behind Walk In The Mill back in December, seeming to only just get the trip. Hasn’t been at his best on his reappearance for the last three seasons and still has no wins at more than 2m5f to his name
Acting Lass
Good mare at her best but off the map last season: not won since taking a handicap chase at Ascot over 2m5f in January 2018, led 10th, 4 lengths clear 4 out, mistake 3 out, niggled along home turn but travelling much the best of the field in a 3- to 4-length lead, mistake 2 out, pushed along, stayed on, wandered and tired approaching last, the better jump, driven out, stayed on well last 150 yards, beat Kilcrea Vale just over 2 lengths. Below form only other start that season and on most recent run (which was first for 434 days) at Punchestown in May, mistakes 10th and 11th, niggled along, struggling when momentarily stumbled on landing 12th, not fluent next, ridden along and little response, reminder after 14th, pulled up before next. Better than that at her best and worth a last chance
Largely progressive novice chaser got two wins, both at Sandown, and after a good neck-2nd to Bob Mahler at Newbury (hard driven approaching last, wandered a little, led a length last, hard driven, stayed on, was challenged 100 yards out, 1st 2 pulled clear, headed 75 yards out), got a win on the final day at Sandown, raced wide, midfield, headway and prominent 13th, ridden into 4 out, tracked leaders, pushed along, chased leader 3 out, ridden and led after 2 out, hard ridden, stayed on well from last, all out, held on well from Gone Platinum. Is in this website’s 15 To Follow, but hasn’t won or been runner-up before January in his career to date, so this might be a bit early to catch him
Busy Summer with three chase wins. Continued his upward curve with good 2nd at Warwick on September 23rd, headway 14th, chased leader when ridden into 3 out, pushed along home turn, effort and led 2 out, ridden and stayed on, was challenged by Vivas last, hard ridden, stayed on, 1st 2 clear, one pace last 150 yards, stuck to task, beaten just short of 2 lengths.  Has been largely kept away from soft ground up to now so that’s a worry if enough rain were to fall, but other than that plenty to like
Regal Encore*
As inconsistent as ever but runs Ascot better than anywhere else, best effort last season 3rd in Listed limited handicap in February, the odd mistake, pushed along in 3rd home turn, hard ridden and kept eventual winner Calipto in approaching 2 out, ridden and one pace going to 2 out, no extra between last 2, some 5 or 6 lengths down last, no more, stuck to task. Tailed off in Galway Plate and in veterans’ handicap at Chepstow last two runs. Off a well-treated 142, hard to rule out back at Ascot
Ami Desbois
Good 2nds at Ffos Las and Uttoxeter last two runs, in the former race likely to have won but for a mistake at the last (after an otherwise fine round), Achille the beneficiary, and at Uttoxeter led till 150 yards out when beaten by Cesar Et Rosalie. Races up with the pace, has gone well fresh in the past and has a win in a race like this in him
Walk In The Mill
Springtown Lake
Front-running novice chaser won at Sandown then went close to following up at Haydock in December, ridden into 10th, mistakes 11th and 12th, niggled along off home turn, stayed on from 4 out, steadied into and went left 3 out, ridden along and not going as well as Mr Whipped going to 2 out, hard driven, stayed on and still a chance going to last, steadied into it and went left, ridden out and kept on one pace last 150 yards, beaten just short of 2 lengths. After that his form tailed off, held after a mistake 3 out when a distant 3rd to A Plus Tard in novices’ handicap at Cheltenham and lost his place after three fences when pulled up at Aintree last start. Yet to prove his effectiveness at 3m, passed over this time
Relentless Dreamer
Won only start last season at Cheltenham in October and shaped well when 3rd to Ballyoptic at Chepstow on reappearance this term, keeping on though well held in the straight. Can be hard work for the jockey, but might run well

Shortlist: Go Conquer, Potterman, Regal Encore

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