It could have been a complete washout, but the worst of the rain hitting the South-East missed Ascot - in fact, when we arrived at 11:15am there was plenty of blue sky to be seen.
There was a good crowd but the betting ring looked sparsely populated, and the great days of old will never return now - internet betting dominates.
I was impressed with the performance of the Paul Nicholls trained ECCO who easily won the Class 3 novice hurdle under the talented jockey Bryony Frost. This Ascot meeting is usually a happy hunting ground for Nicholls and, as I had selected a couple of his entries later in the day as my blog selections, I was feeling confident.
Sure enough, CAPELAND was given a terrific ride by Bryony Frost in the in the 2m1f handicap chase, as the early leader Hatcher faded in the final half-mile allowing the well-judged rides on Diego Du Charmil (ridden by Lorcon Williams) and Capeland - both trained by Nicholls - to come to the final fence looking like being 1st & 2nd. I thought CAPELAND was going much the better and expected that one to take the race, but we had an extraordinary incident at the final fence. My view is that neither horse completed the course, but the stewards thought otherwise - such is the nature of racing. What I take from the race is my form reading was spot on, just that fate took a hand.
In the feature race, I had highlighted on the blog that VINNDICATION was well-handicapped on last seasons novice form, the only doubt being would he stay 3-miles. That he certainly did and could be called the winner before the 2nd-last fence he was going so well. On the basis of this result, we can probably consider last seasons top novice chasers to be above average. My selection Adrien Du Pont was given too much to do and while he would never have won, had he been ridden closer to the pace (he was held-up in the rear most of the race) he could well have been placed as I'm sure Nicholls would have expected him to finish close to his other runner Black Corton who came home 3rd.
At Wetherby, ELEGANT ESCAPE ran well on his seasonal debut in the Charlie Hall Chase, and only race fitness (in my opinion) stopped him from winning. He found a lot of improvement after his seasonal debut last season, and he could be the one to be on next time out. The winner there, Ballyoptic ran very well, but he had already won this season and had race fitness on his side. In 3rd, Aso looked like winning 4-out, his jockey seemed to think so, but he just doesn't stay 3-mile at this level.
In Ireland, we learned nothing from the Grade 1 Ladbrokes Champion Chase over 3-mile. Road To Respect - who won this last year - probably ran to his best, but we know his best will not be good enough later in the season. CLAN DES OBEAUX will almost certainly find 10lb improvement on this run, maybe more, and his fans - which include me - can look forward to a profitable season following him.
I will be at Plumpton tomorrow, and if I have time I will post a few words on that meeting before setting off for the track.
Welcome to the "World of Horseracing". This blog has been providing information, comment, and selections for horseracing in the UK and Ireland since March 2010.
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Between March 2010 and April 2017, this blog recommended wagers on 520 individual races on Jump Racing in the UK, resulting in a PROFIT of £1,525.39 on cumulative stakes of £5,726 - this is equivalent to a Return On Investment of 26.60%.
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Sunday, 3 November 2019
Entertaining day at Ascot
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