Racing expert Steven Dowler returns to tackle Boosted £10,000 Place 6 pool at Ascot on Saturday, in what looks to be a fantastic day of racing. All eyes will indeed be on the feature of the day where Un De Sceaux and Defi Du Seuil will renew rivalries, but who will come out on top? If you agree with his tips then join his Syndicate.
12.40 – Juvenile Hurdle
Gary Moore will be satisfied to finally get a run into leading triumph hurdle hope GOSHEN this weekend, who bids to remain unbeaten over hurdles. He was five from five last year and has won both starts over hurdles with his head in his chest by wide-margins. Soft ground seems key to this exciting horse and he gets his favoured again this weekend so there is every chance we could see another dominant performance from the front under Jamie Moore who has nicknamed him ‘Forrest Gump’.
His only main danger looks to be the Nicky Henderson trained HOMER, who ran a good race on his hurdles/UK debut at Kempton on soft to heavy ground when a close-up third behind two useful sorts. He probably would have been second if he jumped the last better and the form looks strong as the horse back in fourth has won a good race next time out. However, Goshen is the pick here as he will bounce on this heavy ground and it’s the Moore’s only runner and ride on the card.
13.15 – Amateur Riders Handicap Chase
I really like the chance of the Dan Skelton trained GET ON THE YAGER, who stays all day and has the best form of this field on heavy ground. He usually contests stronger races than this and although he was pulled up last time at Cheltenham, he was a fair third in the listed class Midlands grand national off a mark 133 on heavy ground and the two who finished in front of him are rated 146+. That makes this 9-year-old extremely well treated and he is also a grade three winner over fences. I think Get On The Yager has a great chance of collecting this prize at decent odds.
Despite not running for 271 days I think top weight TOWNSHEND has a good chance of winning this. This 9-year-old gained his first success for this yard at Huntingdon last time comfortably and although he’s 5LB higher for this event, he still remains well treated based on the fact he was rated 140+ when trained in Ireland and was a fair sixth in the 2018 kerry national off 140. Townshend runs off 135 tomorrow with the stable going well and on all known form, he has a leading chance.
GRACEFUL LEGEND was unfortunate to unseat late on last time out in a listed event behind Magic Of Light as she was still going well at the time. This race is easier and she has proven winning form on heavy ground and usually runs in better races too. She’s a solid mare who stays 3 miles, handles various ground and comes here with a big chance with a clear round.
Selections: GET ON THE YAGER, TOWNSHEND, GRACEFUL LEGEND
13.50 – Mares’ Hurdle
Another high-class race on today’s card is the mares hurdle and last years grand national second MAGIC OF LIGHT bids to follow up last years success in this race where she won easily. Jessica Harrington’s mare looks just as good as she did last season with her main target being the grand national again. She will give this another good go in order to win the race for the second consecutive year as she is just a solid mare, who will take all the beating. Magic Of Light will need to be at her brilliant best to get the better of PAPAGANA, who is a dual listed winner this year and was beaten only two lengths when third in the grade long walk against the boys last time over C&D. The front two are rated 150+ and she is back against her own sex today which gives her a massive chance of winning this.
Selections: PAPAGANA, MAGIC OF LIGHT
14.25 – Handicap Hurdle
This grade 3 event looks red-hot and we go into the race with plenty of cover. We start with PIC D’ORHY who is highly regarded by the Paul Nicholls yard and having been grade 1 placed when trained in France, he made is UK debut in the grade 1 triumph hurdle and although he was only 10th of 14 he was bang there with every chance before belting the second last which ended all chance. The 5yo then fell on his only start since in another grade 1 but takes a huge drop down in class today and a mark of 146 makes him a serious danger.
BALLYMOY was a game winner of this last year off just a 2LB lower mark off top weight and although he’s finished second on all chase starts when a short priced favourite, I think it’s a good move that connections revert him back to the smaller obstacles here as he’s a big player.
SOUL EMOTION is a lightly raced 7yo who handles soft to heavy ground and was far from disgraced when 5th of 11 in the grade 1 JLT at this track in 2018 over 3 miles where he only faded on the run-in. He’s run well on both starts this year and was third last time out off just 1LB lower. Soul Emotion does need to improve but he’s definitely got more to come and he seems a better horse going this way around and the yard are flying so he will be hard to keep out of the frame.
Selections: PIC D’ORHY, BALLYMOY, SOUL EMOTION
15.00 – Handicap Chase
There probably isn’t another Cyrname in this year’s race but a few stand out for me. Ben Pauling has finally got his team in good form now and top weight KILDISART has a solid enough chance. He is a winner over C&D and was a fair fourth in last year’s JLT at the Cheltenham festival which was a very high-class contest. This classy 8yo was slightly disappointing here last time on heavy ground over 3m but he drops down in grade for this race and the shorter trip along with Daryl Jacob back on board are positives.
ALLYSSON MONTERG can also be given a chance having only run 14 times in his career now being a 10yo which tells us he has been a hard horse to train but he has plenty of ability that’s for sure. Allysson’s form below grade 1 level with ‘heavy’ in the description reads 2-2-1-1-3-1. Richard Hobson’s 10yo was last seen finishing a respectable fourth in a grade 2 behind Frodon. The first three are all rated 159+ which makes Allysson’s Monterg’s handicap mark of 138 attractive and he makes loads of appeal following wind surgery.
HAPPY DIVA just seems to be getting better with age, she’s the most consistent mare chaser who has never finished out of the top three in all competed chase starts which dates back to October 2017. She is in the form of her life this season, winning the bet victor gold cup before being beaten a head in a terrible battle with Lady Buttons and La Bague Au Roi last time. Happy Diva was third in this last year off a lower mark but she is a much stronger horse this season and has better claims than most.
Selections: KILDISART, ALLYSSON MONTERG, HAPPY DIVA
15.35 – Clarence House Chase
We conclude the preview with the feature race of the day, which is the 2m1f grade one Clarence House Chase and we get to witness the legendary 12-year-old UN DE SCEAUX take on DEFI DU SEUIL in their second heavyweight clash this season. There is no denying Defi Du Seuil has really found his feet over fences, winning three grade one’s from just seven outings which includes a win over Un De Sceaux in the Tingle Creek last time out in one of the best finishes of 2019.
That firmly puts Defi second favourite behind Altior for the champion chase. However, even though that puts Defi 1-0 up on Un De Sceaux, he still still rated 4LB lower than the 12-year-old, who will love the weekends forecast rain as at Sandown it was only soft, good to soft. By Saturday afternoon the ground should be heavy all around and that will favour UDS better. I still believe if UDS jumped the last better at Sandown he would have won because he rallied bravely to lose out by such a small margin and the slightly longer trip this weekend will help. He is 2-2 at the course and is a three-time winner of the race having won it in 2016, 2017 and 2018 whereas Defi Du Seoul’s worst performance has come at this track albeit over hurdles.
Nick Scholfield might have given the edge to Defi Du Seuil but I find it extremely hard to split these two brilliant horses taking into account Defi Du Seuil is 6-6 wins on soft to worse ground in the UK over 2m and Un De Sceaux has only been beaten twice in his career over 2m on soft to worse ground when completing and those were behind Altior and Defi in the last two renewals of the tingle creek at Sandown. It is going to be another epic battle between two giants of the national hunt game, so may the best horse win on the day although I will be cheering on Un De Sceaux.
Selections: UN DE SCEAUX, DEFI DU SEUIL
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