Alan's best bet of the day could only finish second yesterday but he is hoping to go one better today with two selections from Ascot and Haydock...
"has done nothing but improve over timber this season and ran out an impressive winner of a handicap at Wincanton two starts ago"
Back If You Say Run @ 3/1 in the Ascot 13:50
If You Say Run can back to winning ways at Ascot
Irish challenger Magic Of Light from the Jess Harrington yard is a very interesting favourite based on her recent chasing form where she won a decent Listed chase at Newbury, but I think she is short enough to take on today as she hasn't run over hurdles since September 2017 and she might have a bit more to find now switched back over the lower obstacles. The one I think will get the better of the favourite is an improver from the Paul Nicholls yard If You Say Run.
The progressive seven-year-old mare has done nothing but improve over timber this season, she has only been outside the first two on one occasion and that was when she was pulled up at Newbury last March. She ran out an impressive winner of a handicap at Wincanton two starts ago and on her latest outing she had Culture De Sivola behind her when she finished second to the very decent 148 rated Mias Storm in Listed company at Kempton.
I see no reason why those places should be reversed today and the Nicholls horse (which Paul speaks highly of in his Betfair Column) could still have plenty more to offer.
Otago Trail can go one place better than last year
Otago Trail was second in this race last year to the brilliant Bristol De Mai but as there doesn't appear to be anything of that class in it this time around, Venitia Williams' charge may just be able get his head in front this time around. The Williams team are in scintillating form, operating at a 20% strike rate with chasers so far this season and this looks more than capable of adding to that stat. Otago Trail is just 2lbs higher than his highest winning mark and when he ran in this last year, today he has the services of Hugh Nugent on his back taking off a very useful 7lb, I think there is every chance of a big run from the gelding today.
The one that may give the selection the most to do is Daklondike who won the Tommy Whittle here last time out. He is stepping up in trip and while that may well suit him, all his best form has come on bottomless ground conditions, his last two wins came on heavy ground and he has never won when the word "good" has been in the going description. The ground is currently being declared as good to soft (soft in places), however, if there was any significant rain before the off then it may well play to his advantage. But as conditions stand my preference is for Ventia Williams to notch up another winner with Otago Trail.