Tony Calvin: Back this one to Master Saturday's conditions at Ascot

There is top-quality racing at Ascot this weekend
There is top-quality racing at Ascot this weekend

Our man takes an early look at Saturday's valuable card at Ascot and he has found a value bet in the £100k Handicap Chase...

"Master Dee's form figures on ground on soft or worse read 121322, and I think he remains on a fair mark, just 1lb higher than at Aintree. And that is without the possible improvement to come at this added distance."

Regular readers will know that I have been waiting for Master Dee to step back up to 3m for a while now, and what better way for connections to try than in the 100k handicap chase at Ascot on Saturday.

Back him at 17.016/1 or bigger on the exchange.

I tipped him in these pages when he was an agonising second to On Tour over 2m4f in the soft at Aintree last time, and I thought he had the race in the bag on a couple of occasions there (he traded at 1.111/9 in running), only for the winner to outspeed him on the run-in.

That was the latest in a series of good runs over 2m4f but I am convinced that the horse wants more aggressive tactics over this longer trip.

He is a winning pointer on soft ground and he can boast a win and a second from just two starts over 3m+ under Rules.

He is also one from one at Ascot, beating San Benedeto (who went on to win four in that campaign, including a Grade 1) over 2m3f on good ground last season, but he is equally effective on the more testing ground that he will encounter on Saturday. The ground is currently soft and, although the forecast isn't too bad, it is hardly drying weather.

His form figures on ground on soft or worse reads 121322, and I think he remains on a fair mark, just 1lb higher than at Aintree. And that is without the possible improvement to come at this added distance.

The big problem, as ever, is will be run?

His owners also have the favourite Go Conquer, a hugely impressive course-and-distance winner last month, in the race but perhaps that horse needs better ground and they will allow Master Dee to take his chance this time. Master Dee was also in the race that Go Conquer won here, but was withdrawn at the overnight stage.

I hope he runs - and he doesn't have any other entries at the time of asking, though of course Christmas will bring a lot of opportunities - because I think he has everything in his favour to run a huge race. I will be having a rare week-of-race ante-post bet for me; he is too big a price at 16/1+.

The Long Walk Hurdle promises to be a cracker if all the big guns stand their ground - and the signs are encouraging there - but that is a race that can easily be left to Friday afternoon.

The 150k Racing Welfare handicap hurdle will be a far feistier betting heat and I am slightly surprised that Lostintranslation doesn't top the betting ahead of Charli Parcs, for all the latter shaped well when second on his Newbury reappearance.

But Lostintranslation created a decent impression when winning at the same track a day earlier, and a mark of 138 looks workable on his handicap debut.

However, he has to make it to the race at the weekend and, if and when he does, he will probably still be available at his current price of 6/1. And he does meet some battle-hardened handicappers, too, so his task is hardly an easy one.

The 25/1 chance Veinard interests me most of the outsiders at this stage but I am happy to leave alone at present.

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