There's a good-quality, competitive card at Ascot and that's where we head for Saturday's attempt at the Placepot.
Altior has the ability to take high rank as a novice hurdler and can take this en route to better things.
12:40- I'dliketheoption has made a promising start to his hurdling career, winning two of his three starts, and he can make a successful handicap bow under Barry Geraghty. I'dliketheoption did well to win last time having conceded first run, and he appeals as the type to improve further now entering handicap company. We will also include Do We Like Him in the permutation as, whilst he appears to have a quirk or two, he arrives on the back of a win and has the ability to go close off his revised mark.
13:10- Altior showed smart form in bumpers last season and he made a taking hurdling debut at Chepstow recently, registering a wide-margin win with the minimum of fuss. He has the ability to take high rank as a novice hurdler and can take this en route to better things.
13:45- Padge was lightly raced over hurdles but he showed useful form, giving a good account of himself when chasing home the well-handicapped Unique de Cotte here on his final start, and he looks the type to do even better over fences. This is a competitive event, though, so we will also add the hat-trick seeking Vikekhal as he arrives here in top form and should give his running.
14:15- Sgt Reckless had a light campaign over fences during his novice season, but he showed plenty of ability and remains open to further improvement in this sphere. He looks the horse to beat and is the first one we will include in the Placepot. Royal Regatta also took well to chasing last season, winning a couple of times, and he makes his return for an in-form yard whose runners tend to go well fresh.
14:50- Jolly's Cracked It won a brace of novice hurdles over C&D on his first couple of outings last year and wasn't disgraced when finishing runner-up in the Grade 1 Tolworth Hurdle. His form tailed off after a creditable effort in the Betfair Hurdle but he's likely to be a different proposition having been freshened up, and his handicap mark looks a fair one. This is a good race, however, so we will also add Sign of A Victory to the permutation as he turned this race into a procession last year when winning on the bridle, and he's bound to have been well prepared for this.
15:25- Ned Stark failed to meet expectations behind The Druids Nephew at the Cheltenham Festival, but he had previously created a good impression and is still lightly raced over fences, so he may yet have more to offer. What A Warrior showed a determined attitude when winning this contest last year and he's likely to launch a bold bid in defence of his crown, his excellent yard sure to have him fit enough on his return.
12:40- 3, 13
13:45- 2, 8
14:15- 1, 2
14:50- 1, 2
15:25- 10, 12
= 32 lines