Friday brings us a couple of decent meetings at Ascot and Haydock with a supporting meeting at Ffos Las, and there are a fair few runners from my alert list to consider. With the ground at Haydock advertised as soft, heavy in places; I will leave that meeting alone (nothing suitable at Ffos Las).
It is the handicap chases at Ascot that catch my eye, and the first of them at 2:45pm looks like it may have thrown-up a bit of value even though only 7 runners go to post. We were on CADOUDOFF when he ran a couple of weeks ago, and although it is doubtful that he would have beaten Sandy Beach that day - had he not fallen - I reckon he was going well enough to have pushed Ericht to be 2nd. The form of that race looks solid now, and I was impressed the way Cadoudoff moved through the race before looking like he over-jumped and crumpled on landing just as the race got going. He is currently 8/1 (Friday evening) for this chase handicap, and I reckon that is good value for a horse who goes well right-handed (is a winner over 2m4f at Huntingdon) and at 6yo still has plenty of potential for improvement.
Of the others, Paul Nicholls has his 6yo Present Man in the race, but he's up to OR132 for a facile win several weeks ago, and this looks like a quick-fix of a race as he fell LTO. I would not consider The Clock Leary until he shows he is in the right mood again. He wins this race in a canter off OR114 at his best - and that is why he is only 2/1 for this, but we haven't seen that "best" in 2-years. Fox Appeal is another who wins this at his best - he was rated OR152 this time last year and running well - but he's not looked like being up to his revised OR138 rating in a couple of runs this autumn. Go Conquer is an unexposed 7yo who could be interesting as he likes to make all the running, and his OR132 rating looks reasonable. Fitness is an issue this being his seasonal debut, but he has gone well fresh before. Wings Attract does not look a particularly quick horse, but he does appear to be a safe jumper; and the same can be said for Rothman.
CADOUDOFF looks too long in the betting this morning at 10/1 (Bet Victor, Ladbrokes, Corals) and with some doubts over the others, I reckon he should be a lot shorter in this market and I'd rate him on a par with Present Man at 3/1.
The 3-mile handicap chase at 3:20pm looks a tough nut to crack.
The race-fav Minella Daddy won LTO and looks a safe, strong chaser over this trip and his handicap mark of OR131 looks lenient. That should be enough to win a normal race, but there is plenty of competition from the other 12 rivals, notably Alternatif who was well supported LTO. Running off a mark 2lb lower than his last winning mark (and when 3rd at Cheltenham last November) he looks primed for a big run today. Lamb Or Cod is another who looks capable of running a big race today if he returns from 18-months off the track in similar form. Horatio Hormblower is another young chaser with potential, who beat decent yardstick Belmount when last seen in March. On that form, running off OR129, he looks well-in andlso goes well fresh. I reckon Mustmeetalady and Blameitalonmyroots will both go better on softer ground than todays good-to-soft. Daveron steps up in trip to 3-mile for the first time but looks held by the handicapper, as does Ready Token (whose regular rider - Richard Johnson - has opted for Lamb Or Cod). And you can never know what sort of run Leo Luna will put in as, on his day, he is a 140+ chaser over 3-mile and he runs off OR129 as he's pulled-up in 4 or his last 6 races. He did win in a canter off OR124 at Warwick over 3m2f in the middle of those runs though.
It would be no surprise to see any of the top 4 in the market win this race, and my immediate thought was to go for Alternatif. Now that I have looked at the race in more depth he seems to be the one with least question-marks and, as David Pipe's only runner at Ascot this weekend, looks to have been aimed at this race. Odds of 6/1 are generally available, but Bet365 offer 13/2 if you are quick, take eachway as the competition is fierce.
Ascot 2:45pm CADOUDOFF, £10 win @ 10/1 (with various bookies)
Ascot 3:2pm ALTERNATIF, £5 eachway @ 13/2 (Bet365)
Odds advised were available to those who have donated to be on the email list at 7:45am this morning.
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