Timeform UK SmartPlays: Friday December 16

There is jumps racing from Ascot on Friday
There is jumps racing from Ascot on Friday

Timeform pick out three bets from Ascot on Friday...


Criq Rock - Ascot 12:45

Criq Rock failed to meet market expectations when third on his hurdling debut at Chepstow last month, but he wasn't seen to best effect in what became a tactical affair and quickly bounced back with an improved effort to finish second on his most recent outing at this venue. He showed enough on that occasion to suggest he is well up to winning a race of this nature and - 7 lb clear of those with previous experience over hurdles on Timeform ratings here - Criq Rock is fancied to see off the attentions of newcomer Topofthegame and can get off the mark over obstacles at the third time of asking.

Back By Midnight - Ascot 13:20

Back By Midnight looked in need of the run when third on his seasonal debut at Chepstow last month and duly showed the benefit of that initial outing with a career-best to open his account over fences at Sandown two weeks ago. He appeared to have matters in hand from an early stage that day, jumping boldly on the front end throughout and staying on strongly in the closing stages to run out a nine-length winner. That form gives him the edge over Mister Spingsprong on Timeform ratings here and the unexposed Back By Midnight is expected to defy a 8 lb hike in the weights if arriving in the same mood.

Politologue - Ascot 14:30

Politologue made the perfect start to his chasing career when pulling 10 lengths clear of a useful yardstick at Haydock four weeks ago, travelling strongly in the leaders' slipstream throughout and quickly asserting once hitting the front at the fourth-last. That effort represented a marked improvement on the form he showed in four starts over hurdles for Paul Nicholls in 2015/16 and - likely to improve with that initial experience under his belt - Politologue has the potential to go to the very top as a novice chaser this season and can consolidate that view with a defeat of Rock The Kasbah here.

Timeform UK SmartPlays:
(All from Ascot)

Win back Criq Rock in the 12:45
Win back Back By Midnight in the 13:20
Win back Politologue in the 14:30


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