We've not had much luck with selections for the past few weeks. Sometimes the way races play-out, you just can't read the formlines well. Let's see if there's a change in fortune today.
We've 3 jumps meetings at Ascot, Haydock and Wincanton; and I'm starting my preview looking at Ascot and the "Reynoldstown" Novice Chase at 1:50pm over 3-miles has a wide-open look about it with all 6 runners trading at between 3/1 and 7/1. However, the Kim Bailey trained Does He Know ticks a lot of boxes. We know he stays the trip, and his form lines are solid (chased home the progressive Threeunderthrufive LTO), and he handled soft ground over hurdles so he should cope with it over fences. I thought he'd be fav for this as while Does He Know has decent form in the book, the others are all "potential" horses who may improve, or they may not. As such, Does He Know is available at 4/1 generally for this and I'd have thought odds around 11/4 would more reflect his chance.
From the RP results, the quote of the Assistant trainer: "Does He Know (does have) form on soft... on ratings has a favourite's chance... it was a strong staying performance" - pretty-much what I wrote (see above) on the morning of the race.
The Listed Chase over 3-miles at 2:25pm at Ascot is interesting as older horses have a good record in this race. It could be because younger progressive chasers are being held-back for the Cheltenham Festival; that's certainly what I thought would be happening with Caribean Boy who showed he had no stamina issues when winning LTO over 3-miles and my immediate thoughts were he was a potential "Ultima" Chase handicap winner on the opening day at the Festival. He's being aimed at the Grand National though, and he could be value in this race running off OR149. The fav for the race is Fiddlerontheroof, but he needs to find improvement (in my opinion) to win this off OR155; and that's a big ask. Hold That Taught won a weak-looking Class 3 at Carlisle in October but hasn't looked the same horse in a couple of runs since then. Odds of 7/1 are available on Caribean Boy, and they look value to me.
The Ascot Chase (Grade 1) over 2m5f looks a cracker of a race, and there's not much between these runners. On my ratings, the best recent form is from Mister Fisher, and he is worthy of his OR160 rating. I cannot say the same about Fanion D'Estruval (OR162), Saint Calvados (OR162) or Waiting Patiently (OR160). Fakir D'Oudairies is an odd one: there's something about him that doesn't add up. If forced to make a selection it would be Mister Fisher who goes well right-handed and is consistent at this trip and handles soft ground. Odds of 6/1 are fair.
The heavy ground at Haydock is not my idea of fun; we could see a lot of very tired horses finishing races in slow-motion. I will be avoiding this meeting. Wincanton stages a fairly ordinary meeting and there does not appear to be anything of value running there. So, it's just Ascot that provides a couple of selections - as the Ascot Chase at 3:38pm looks too close to call.