Through The Card: Ascot, Friday 4 October

Horses running at Ascot
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Timeform take you through the card at Ascot on Friday...

"...Ian Williams’ charge is still well treated and revels in the mud..."

Timeform on Darksideoftarnside

14:00 - This looks a tricky puzzle to solve and it may be worth taking on the favourite Herculean, who has been beaten at short odds on all three starts this season. He now takes a drop back in trip and looks vulnerable. LUSH LIFE (2) has a good record on the straight course here, his hold-up race style suiting itself well to this track, and there aren't many jockeys who ride the straight course here better than Jamie Spencer.

14:35 - I'll Have Another comes out top on Timeform's weight-adjusted ratings, but he was below his best form on heavy ground at Goodwood last time, and faces some more unexposed rivals now. Almania is seemingly held in high regard by Sir Michael Stoute, but he has found winning hard this season, and it therefore could pay to side with the progressive filly HEREBY (5). She has won four of her six starts so far, continuing the theme of run-to-run progress when completing a hat-trick at Chester last time, making short work of some consistent but exposed rivals. This rates her stiffest test to date, but it is hard to judge where her ceiling is at present, and the ground and longer trip should both play to her strengths.

15:10 - All of MARSHAL DAN's (7) best form has come on a sound surface, but he caught the eye at Windsor last time, and looks the one to beat from a handicapping perspective (he is 4 lb clear on Timeform weight-adjusted ratings). He shaped much better than the bare result, going with enthusiasm until not getting a clear run two furlongs out, running on to take third in the closing stages and finishing with running left. Marshal Dan ought to be able to defy this mark under better circumstances, and is preferred to Raydiance, who has been strong in the market this morning, probably down to the fact he has Simon Walker booked and handles testing conditions.

15:45 - Having been raised only 2 lb on the back of his Ffos Las win in August, DARKSIDEOFTARNSIDE (6) could well follow up. Ian Williams' charge is still well treated and revels in the mud, so a prominent showing looks on the cards. Progressive three-year-old Platform Nineteen commands plenty of respect in his pursuit of a five-timer, while Quloob would also come into calculations if coping with this testing ground.

16:20 - Given his pedigree and price tag, it is fair to say that TWO BIDS (3) has been a little underwhelming so far, but the fact he has been well supported on occasions suggests he shows a bit at home, and he could be worth one more chance in a race that won't take much winning. He has failed to settle in his races so far, still looking immature at times, but the switch to this galloping track and addition of cheekpieces could help him, and he is worth chancing with that in mind. Expensive yearling purchase King Power has the best form in the book and could be the biggest danger, for all she is proving hard to win with.

16:55 - MUBAKKER (4) is the horse who has the most potential in this line-up. He bolted up on the all-weather at Kempton and looks fairly treated on his handicap debut. CALL ME GINGER (9) is also interesting. He belied big odds to finish second at Newcastle in February before opening his account after seven months off in a minor event at Redcar last time, having plenty in hand, and the handicapper may have underestimated that performance judged on his opening mark. The progeny of his sire tend to go well in testing conditions.

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