Adam Baylis returns with four fancies from Ascot on Saturday including one to keep an eye on for the Cheltenham Gold Cup...
"Lil Rockerfeller couldn’t have been more impressive at this track last time when dealing out a length and a half beating to L’Ami Serge, who re-opposes on Saturday. Neil King’s son of Hard Spun is hugely reliable at this level and his form figures at Ascot read 13221"
Before the ITV covered action gets underway it's well worth following Coney Island in the Sodexo Graduation Chase at 13:15. Eddie Harty has opted to send the six-year-old over for this rather than take in the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown and that could prove a shrewd move come March. He split Irish National and Grade 1 winners Our Duke and Disko on his final start of last season, and is worthy of an early Cheltenham Gold Cup interest at 20/1 with the Betfair Sportsbook.
Unowhatimeanharry should really have been a penalty kick for the Long Walk Hurdle at 14:25 but his defeat at Newbury last time out has cast a large shadow over his credentials for this 3m 1/2f contest. At 7/4 he must be taken on and Lil Rockerfeller was really impressive at this track last time when dealing out a length and a half beating to L'Ami Serge, who re-opposes on Saturday. Neil King's son of Hard Spun is hugely reliable at this level and his form figures at Ascot read 13221 so at 9/2 really does look an each-way bet to nothing.
Singlefarmpayment aims to make amends for his fall in the Hennessy last time out and is the 9/2 market leader for the Ascot Silver Cup Chase at 15:00. I see no reason why he won't go close in this but he does seem to save his best performances for Prestbury Park and at the prices - in a contest as competitive as this - it's tempting to look elsewhere.
Jonjo O'Neill's Go Conquer was eased down in victory here in the Sodexo Gold Cup last month but I think the ground may go against him on Saturday so is passed over. Nicky Henderson's Beware The Bear put Singlefarmpayment to the sword over this course and distance last year but I prefer the chances of another Seven Barrows inmate, O O Seven.
A high class hurdler, he was firmly put in his place in the RSA at the end of last season but he ran a promising race on his re-appearance at Newbury behind Oldgrangewood. He's only been raised 1lb for that and a mark of 153 looks very workable in this contest. There's been some money around for him this week but the 7/1 on the Betfair Sportsbook is still worth snaffling.
17 go to post for the Racing Welfare Handicap Hurdle at 15:35 and for all that it's a competitive field, Willie Mullins' Bleu Et Rouge jumps off the page at 8/1. He struggled to make an impact in Grade 1 fields over fences last season and reverts to hurdles here on a mark just 1lb higher than when winning the Deloitte in 2016. The oft-over used 'Graded horse in a handicap' cliché very much clicks here and if he's straight enough first time out he should go very close under these conditions.