Ascot – 2.15
GO into battle with AUTUMN WAR.
He won both his starts on turf last season having made a promising debut on the all-weather.
His fourth behind smart prospect Fujaira Prince at Doncaster was a decent return to action considering he was ridden further back than ideal. Today’s longer trip should also help and his trainer Charlie Hills has his team in sparkling form.
Setting Sail is the clear danger. He missed the whole of last year but last month’s six-length Wolverhampton romp showed he’s over his problems. His Goodwood maiden showed he handles soft ground but he’s had less than three weeks to get over his comeback run and that’s always a concern for a horse who had been off the track for so long.
Now Children was progressive last season. His Goodwood win in October came over today’s trip on similar ground but I suspect he might be vulnerable to the horses lower down the weights.
Sextant is the other one to keep an eye on. He won at Newbury last summer before getting turned over in two-runner race at this track in September. He’s been gelded over the winter and that could easily help concentrate his mind.
SALOUEN will be hard to track down in the Carey Group Buckhounds Stakes.
It’s incredible he’s not managed to win at this level or higher considering he’s hit the frame in four Group 1 races. One of those when nailed close home by Cracksman in the Coronation Cup at Epsom last year. My fancy made the running that day and he might well get the opportunity to set his own pace unless outsider Pilansberg decides to make the running. It shouldn’t bother Salouen either way and he’s got plenty of form on easy ground.
The soft conditions are the worry for Barsanti. He made a successful return to action when winning this race 12 months ago. Salouen was only third that day but the ground was quick and the recent rain has tipped the balance towards Sylvester Kirk’s runner.
I’m more worried about What About Carlo. He has the ground in his favour but it is a little worrying he hasn’t won for nearly two years.
Templegate's TV tips
- 2.15 Ascot – AUTUMN WAR (Click here to see the best odds)
- 2.50 Ascot – SALOUEN (Click here to see the best odds)
- 3.25 Ascot – RED STARLIGHT (Click here to see the best odds)
- 4.00 Ascot – REMARKABLE (Click here to see the best odds)
- 3.10 Haydock – MISTER FISHER (Click here to see the best odds)
- 1.55 Lingfield – FRANKELLINA (Click here to see the best odds)
- 2.30 Lingfield – ANTHONY VAN DYCK (Click here to see the best odds)
- 3.40 Lingfield – PRETTY BABY (Click here to see the best odds)
GO on Red alert in this fillies’ handicap.
RED STARLIGHT beat this year’s Lincoln hero Auxerre in a Newmarket novice race last season and she went on to land a brace of all-weather handicaps. Richard Hannon’s hope has been placed in all three attempts at Listed level and there was not much wrong with her sixth in the Newbury Spring Cup from a tricky draw last time. The softer ground shouldn’t bother her so everything is in place for a big run.
Bella Ragazza ended last season with a nice win at Newmarket. That race has worked out well and she has sound claims if ready to go on her first run since October.
Adorable came up well short in Group 3 races last season. She’s likely to find the switch to this handicap equally tough under top weight.
Daddies Girl looked when coming through from the rear to win at Nottingham on her return to action. She’s still fairly treated but there’s no doubt she had the race set up for her last month as the leaders went off way too fast.
Existential didn’t get much luck when well beaten in that contest. She’s still suffering for winning a Nottingham maiden by ten lengths and she needs to drop a bit further in the weights.
IT should be a REMARKABLE Tote Victoria Cup.
My fancy likes this track. He won a similar course-and-distance contest a couple years ago and was once fifth behind top-class Ribchester in the Jersey Stakes.
He missed last season and switched from John Gosden to David O’Meara before making a promising comeback when fourth behind Sharja Bridge at Doncaster in March. That should have set him up nicely for today.
There are, predictably, no end of dangers. Last year’s winner Ripp Orf will be dashing home late but his racing style is better suited to faster ground.
Raising Sand is another best at this course. He beat Ripp Orf over track and trip in October but he’s likely to need this first run of the season and he does need things to fall kindly.
Kynren was runner-up behind top prospect Auxerre in the Lincoln. He’s be suited by the softer ground but I’m not convinced the drop to 7f is what he wants.
Glorious Journey has a couple of Group 3 wins to his name. He is very interesting in a handicap for the first time.
MISTER FISHER is a good bet to net the Swinton Hurdle.
Nicky Henderson’s ace was a smart novice last season. He saw off a smart field at Kempton on Boxing Day before following up in a Haydock Group 2. It was disappointing to see him trail in well beaten in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham but that clearly wasn’t his form. Henderson’s Festival squad did not have the best of preparations due to the flu outbreak and maybe today’s better ground is what he wants.
Sofia’s Rock was decent on the Flat. He’s taken well to hurdling and bolted up in a novices’ race at Ludlow in March. This is a tough task for his handicap hurdle debut but he has plenty of racing experience from his days with Mark Johnston.
Christopher Wood won his first two hurdles starts and he bettered that form when third behind Triumph Hurdle hero Pentland Hills at Aintree. That was a smashing effort.
Dino Velvet was unlucky to bump into Verdana Blue – top class on quick ground – in the Scottish Champion Hurdle. The recent rain might have blunted his chance a little but there’s certainly a race like this in him.
IT should pay to be Frank in the Racebets Oaks Trial.
FRANKELLINA made a nice debut when successful at Yarmouth last October. She was followed home by fillies from top yards and she is sure to better over middle distances this year. This doesn’t look a strong race with the absence of any Aidan O’Brien runners and Frankellina at least has stacks of potential.
John Gosden has a couple of interesting contenders. Both Anapurna and Elisheba have only raced on the all-weather but there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be just as good on turf. Frankie Dettori is on Anapurna and she is probably the best of the pair. She blew the start on her debut and still looked inexperienced when bolting up from Dawn Crusade at Wolverhampton over Christmas. It’s hard to know how good she is but there’s certainly an engine under the bonnet.
Elisheba also beat Dawn Crusade at Wolverhampton. Her February win wasn’t nearly as impressive but it’s difficult to make a judgement on her ability just now.
King Power was no match for Sparkle Roll in a Sandown novice contest but she is another open to all sorts of improvement.
ANTHONY VAN DYCK should continue Aidan O’Brien’s domination of the Derby trials.
He wasn’t far off the best juveniles last season with placed efforts behind Quorto and Too Darn Hot in Group 1 races. It’s not worth worrying about Breeders’ Cup flop when sent off favourite for the Juvenile Turf as he had a wide draw and just could never get into the race.
It’s fair to say O’Brien doesn’t aim his top Classic hopes at this trial but it says a lot about the depth in the Ballydoyle three-year-olds that Anthony Van Dyck still sets the standard by some way.
Cap Francais was a little unlucky not to win Epsom’s Blue Riband Trial considering he got wound up before the race and didn’t appear to like the track too much. He’ll appreciate today’s longer trip but he still needs to take a massive step forward to trouble Anthony Van Dyck.
Ranch Hand has been doing his winning at Southwell, while Pablo Escobarr was touched off in a Bath handicap. Those are not fruitful paths for Classic contenders.
Nate The Great might be a better each-way bet. He came within a neck of winning the Chesham at Royal Ascot last season and he went on to be placed in some other good Listed races. His pedigree suggests he’ll come into his own over today’s trip.
PRETTY BABY looks good for the Racebets Million Chartwell Fillies’ Stakes.
She did really well last season when winning three of her fours races. Her sole defeat came when touched off in a York Group 3 and got her win at this level when beating Dancing Star by a neck in the Oak Tree Stakes at Glorious Goodwood. That was her first try at 7f and she is likely to develop into a useful miler and this is a nice starting point to her season.
Dancing Star has to give weight away all round after picking up a penalty for her Doncaster Group 3 success in September. That was her first win for more than two years and she is vulnerable to an improving filly like Pretty Baby. Faster ground would have been in her favour.
Eirene was runner-up in that Doncaster race. She seems to be coming to the boil and both her turfs win came on soft ground.
Perfection has left John Gosden to join David O’Meara. She signed off last season with a Listed victory over 6f at Newmarket. The extra furlong won’t be a problem and she is extremely consistent.
Shepherd Market is worth a look each-way if all eight line up. If allowed to set her own pace she could easily cling on to a place at a decent price.
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