Ascot Race Preview, 22/11/19

Friday November 22nd

Some rain forecast overnight

* indicates Horses on Shortlist
** indicates Selection

Ascot 2.40
Creativevents Handicap Chase Class 2 0-145
2m5f8y – Going: Good to Soft – 8 runners

Mercian Prince
Quick turnaround after pulling up in betvictor Gold Cup last Saturday, tracked leaders, not fluent 5th, ridden into 11th and 12th, pushed along 13th, hard ridden and lost place at the top of the hill, well held passing omitted 3 out, tailed off home turn, soon pulled up. Has won after a nine-day break before and when carrying 11-10, so despite a maximum mark could be competitive even carrying 12-2
Flying Angel*
Not a factor in Old Roan Chase at Aintree behind Forest Bihan on reappearance, held up, in close to 5th, ridden after last (normally 4 out), no impression extended run-in under a ride, was closing on the 3rd last 100 yards. Was in this race last year and ran well, pushed along as Mr Medic drew clear 3 out, kept on, no impression when in close to 2 out, put under pressure, drew clear of the 3rd but some 6 lengths behind winner jumping last, pushed out, kept on and reduced the margin of defeat to 3 lengths. He’s off a lower mark this time
Mr Medic*
Won this race last year on his reappearance,  led 13th, moved best of the field 14th, led a length 3 out, nudged along and pulled further clear home turn, pushed along going to 2 out, stayed on, hard driven between last 2 and maintained clear lead, driven out from last, stayed on well, workmanlike in the end but unchallenged from Flying Angel. Nothing much in three subsequent runs, pulled up before the second last in Grand Annual at the Cheltenham Festival when last seen, blundered badly and as-good-as-unseated 7th, nudged along away from 8th, losing ground when in close to 9th. Probably a reasonable chance of repeating last year’s success
Dell Oro
Good win at Huntingdon last January, raced 3rd, went slightly right 7th, nudged along approaching 10th, good ground to chase leader 13th, blundered 3 out, moved largely comfortably, travelled best as moved upsides leader approaching 2 out, led jumping and bumped rival, stayed on, was 3 lengths up last, driven out, stayed on well run-in. No subsequent form, mistakes prior to pulling up in the novices’ handicap chase at the Cheltenham Festival. Has gone well fresh before and chance, dropped to his winning mark
Didero Vallis
Couple of wins over 2m4f on soft ground before failing to stay when 5th to Walt in Grade 3 handicap chase at Kempton, prior to a good 5th in Brown & Merriebelle Plate at the Cheltenham Festival in March, pushed along from 4 out, with Siruh Du Lac going down the hill to 3 out, mistake and pecked on landing, pushed along approaching home turn, faded under a ride approaching 2 out, put under pressure, looked held when hard driven after last, kept on, stuck to task but no impression on those ahead. Ran as well as he could, losing his chance going to the second last after having some use made of him. Has won fresh before and chances
The Kings Writ
On heavy ground, got his second win over fences at Exeter (both career wins there) in December, chased leader 11th, niggled along home turn, upsides 4 out, pushed along after, chased new leader 3 out, in close to 2 out, hard ridden, effort and led last, driven clear run-in, stayed on well, decisive from Native Robin. Would have won but for falling on reappearance at Chepstow last season, so likely to go well fresh, but seems to have a preference for soft or heavy ground. Unexposed, but will need the rain forecast overnight to happen
Sky Pirate
Maiden chaser, twice runner-up; ran quite well in Kim Muir at the Cheltenham Festival, but failed to stay. Was shaping very well on reappearance in Bobby Renton Chase at Wetherby last month, coming under a ride but looking likely to give Crievehill a race when falling 4 out. Chance if showing no ill-effects
Kayf Blanco
Eventually shaped well in Bobby Renton Handicap Chase at Wetherby on reappearance, briefly pushed along starting final circuit, again pushed after 9th, not fluent 10th, headway 11th, closed on leaders 12th, very good ground as others dropped back to go 3rd home turn, pushed along some 6 lengths down on Crievehill when left 2nd and slightly hampered 4 out, drew well clear of the rest by 3 out, no impression when mistake 2 out, driven, well held last but well clear of 3rd, pushed out and kept on. Took time to warm to his task; it fell to bits in the home straight so not sure it’s representative of his best, but at least he’ll be fitter for it – he remains hard to win with though

Shortlist: Flying Angel, Mr Medic

Ascot 3.45
Rewarding Ownership With The ROA Handicap Hurdle
Class 2 0-145
1m7f152y – Going: Good to Soft – 10 runners

Retains all ability judged on good 2nd in Scottish Champion Hurdle Trial at Ayr on November 2nd, blundered 5th, nudged along and a little ground 6th, shaken up 3 out, got a split and stayed on going to 2 out though not going best, every chance jumping, hard ridden, stayed on, steadied into last, hard driven, outpaced run-in, stuck to task but no impression on Elvis Mail. Go well despite top weight
Imperial Cup winner at Sandown last March,  tracked leaders when blundered 2 out and pecked on landing, shaken up, stayed on approaching last, chased leader jumping, hard ridden, effort and stayed on under pressure to lead 125 yards out, going away from Monsieur Lecoq at the line. Nothing much behind Verdana Blue in Scottish Champion Hurdle at Ayr in April, well held when blundered 2 out, continuing to lose ground when mistake last. Some promise on reappearance in novice chase at Market Rasen when 3rd to Rouge Vif, blundered 7th, ridden 9th, unable to go with 1st 3, weakened, well back 3 out, tailed off. Tendency to make a mistake seems to have crept in to her make-up regardless of the obstacles (also fell twice last season) and best watched for me
Peter The Mayo Man
On first run back after a long absence, didn’t show much at Cheltenham behind Benny’s Bridge last month, held up last, a little ground 4th, mistake 5th and shuffled back to rear again/niggled along, ridden and weakened at the top of the hill, looked as though tailing off 2 out, lost no further ground home turn but well held, beaten 17 lengths. Would like to see improvement before considering backing him – that improvement might not happen here as he has no jumps wins going right-handed
Couldn’t land a long-range hattrick, after winning last two starts last season in December and January, but ran well behind Benny’s Bridge at Cheltenham on reappearance, chased leader at the top of the hill after 5th, mistake 3 out, pushed along and struggling to stay with 1st 2 before slightly hampered 2 out, hard ridden home turn, kept on though no impression approaching last, wandered and hung left under a ride up the hill, kept on to pass a couple last 100 yards. This track might be more suitable
Won at Newton Abbot in May when first time visored, effort after 3 out, challenged 1st 2 approaching home turn, led turning in, ridden along, drew clear, well ahead and safe last, unchallenged. Couldn’t back it up when well held behind Monsieur Lecoq in Welsh Champion Hurdle at Ffos Las last month, too keen in the visor a second time: pulled his way into midfield 2nd, prominent 4th, further ground and disputed lead home turn, pushed along approaching 3 out, ridden and weakened quickly approaching 2 out. With the visor now left off, not sure where we stand with him but has a chance if back to his best. No reason to back him but no reason not to
Lust For Glory
Won two out of five over hurdles; mistake 4th and off the bit a mile from home when down the field, albeit returning a reasonable form figure, behind Eglantine Du Seuil in the mares’ novice at the Cheltenham Festival – keeping on to the home turn before no impression approaching the last, to be fair – then last of five in a small-field novice at Ayr in April when last seen. Could probably make an impact at her best
Chased up Harambe in a Kempton novice last March, beaten just over 2 lengths, for best effort over hurdles to date. Second hurdles win when landed the odds readily at Huntingdon last March despite jumping left. Good 2nd both runs this season though in the case of his LTO-run at Stratford, it was probably better than being beaten 13 lengths by Ashington would suggest: raced 4th in well strung-out field, went 15 lengths 3rd 4th, closed on 1st 2 5th, not fluent 6th, niggled along 2 out, effort and went 2nd getting to within 5 lengths, pushed along and lost ground on winner turning out of back straight, ridden and no impression approaching last, no more last 175 yards. Likely to be competitive on handicap debut
Red Force One*
On only fourth run over hurdles, best to date when chasing Gumball home at Ascot on November 2nd, tracked leaders 5th, mistake 6th, niggled along and soon more firmly pushed in 2nd as Gumball struck for home, stayed on under a hand ride approaching 2 out, driven between last 2, stayed on to pull clear of 3rd, looked held by winner last, hard driven and closed up as winner tired, just failed in the end. Chances again
Speed Company*
Long threatened to put in a decent run over hurdles and managed it at Chepstow last month, started a move home turn going well and midfield, further ground on the bit approaching 2 out, shaken up and angled towards stands side approaching last, pushed along and ran on to lead nearing it, ridden out in clear lead last 175 yards, decisive with a little in hand from Quoi De Neuf. Chance again
Not So Sleepy
Useful Flat stayer and 4th in Cesarewitch when last seen: up to now not so good over hurdles and modest 5th in handicap at Wincanton on last jumps outing in March, led, keen, not fluent 1st, clear 2nd, mistake 4th, headed 6th, chased leader when hard ridden and weakened approaching 2 out where mistake, rather nursed along approaching last, well held jumping, no more when 5th to Commanche Red. Looks best watched over hurdles right now

Shortlist: Oakley, Red Force One, Speed Company

Copyright Roy Waterhouse 2020. All rights reserved.