Timeform's Matt Gardner tackles the Placepot on Betfair Ascot Chase day at Ascot...
"It’s hard to overlook the claims of Captain Chris, who found only Cue Card too strong in this race 12 months ago..."
13:30 - The opening leg essentially looks a match between Cole Harden and Un Temps Pour Tout but, given that a non-runner has reduced the field to four, the best option is to include them both and hope that Irish Cavalier doesn't improve enough to trouble them.
14:05 - The obvious starting point in the Reynoldstown is Many Clouds, a useful novice hurdler last season who has rapidly made up into a better chaser, posting a smart effort when beating subsequent Cheltenham winner Indian Castle at Wetherby last time. He almost certainly has more to offer and could take some beating here. O'Faolains Boy is well worth another chance after flopping at Haydock last month but Gevrey Chambertin makes more appeal as a second selections; he's making his chasing debut here but is very much the type to take to fences and has to be respected.
14:40 - This is quite a trappy handicap from a Placepot perspective with Houblon des Obeaux and Restless Harry the two tentative selections. The first mentioned is fairly reliable and is at his best on testing ground, which he will certainly get here, whilst Restless Harry has looked resurgent of late and is another that looks to have conditions to suit.
15:15 - Two Rockers was a little disappointing on his seasonal reappearance at Haydock in November but he was probably unsuited by the quicker ground and will be more at home on this surface; he remains with potential and could show himself to be on a good mark. Bourne tends to race lazily but he goes well at Ascot (won once & twice in the frame) and could have this race run to suit, whilst Like Minded ran a cracker in the Lanzarote Hurdle, form that looks strong, and a repeat should see him go close here.
15:50 - Rolling Aces, Medermit and Riverside Theatre have to be respected but it's hard to overlook the claims of Captain Chris, who found only Cue Card too strong in this race 12 months ago. He arrives here on the back of an impressive wide-margin success at Kempton and should take plenty of beating.
16:20 - Just the five runners but an interesting contest nonetheless, with several open to improvement. The two to stick in the permutation are Mountain King and Wilde Blue Yonder, both of whom boast hurdling successes on their CVs. They should do better still, and ought to get us across the line.
13:30 - 1, 3
14:05 - 3, 4
14:40 - 1, 7
15:15 - 2, 5, 15
15:50 - 1
16:20 - 2, 4
= 48 lines