Ascot hosts a fantastically competitive card on Saturday and the Mappin & Webb Silver Handicap Chase looks particularly tricky. Each of the 8 runners looks to have a chance in what promises to be a thrilling race. Here’s my best bet for the race!
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Triolo D’Alene (5/2 Ladbrokes) was impressive when winning the Hennessy at Newbury at the end of last month. Any horse that wins in the fashion in which he did, staying on strongly to the line, is one to note. This winner of last year’s Topham needs soft ground, and was only guaranteed to run in this race provided the ground suited. His trainer Nicky Henderson has stated that The Grand National will be his ultimate aim, something which makes me wonder as to why he felt the need for this horse to have this extra run after such an impressive run in the Hennessy?
Houblon Des Obeaux (7/2 bet365) finished sixth in the Hennessy, but was first past the post when winning the United House Gold Cup at this course and over this distance on good to soft ground at the start of the season. Triolo D’Alene finished third in that race, with Bless The Wings finishing in sixth. The Venetia Williams trained Houblon Des Obeaux must be one to watch in this race, with all the boxes ticked when it comes to course form.
Battle Group (20/1 Stan James) refused to race when lining up in the Hennessy last month, and can be a funny sort at times. He did however finish last season on a high by winning at the Cheltenham Festival, and then going on to pick up two races at Aintree’s Grand National meeting. On that form this horse clearly has class, and regular jockey Brendan Powell is back on board after missing his last run. It might just be that this horse likes routine, and will give a better account of himself now a familiar face is back on board.
Bless The Wings (7/1 Betfred) runs for Alan King, a trainer who’s admitted that there is some kind of a mystery virus in the yard that the stable can’t quite get to the bottom of. After such a revelation its difficult to fancy his runners at the moment and it remains to be seen when the yard is likely to come back into form. For now, King’s horses are best watched.
CEDRE BLEU (11/2 Coral) is a horse I’ve always liked and thought that he needs further, so I’m glad to see him stepping up in trip. Paul Nicholls has had a busy few weeks when it comes to winners and the stable is in excellent form at the moment. On previous form this horse has needed his first run of the season so I’m hopeful that his seventh position behind Cantlow at Cheltenham in the Opening Meeting can be a stepping stone on to better things.
Storm Survivor (6/1 BetVictor) was heavily backed for the Becher Chase at Aintree two weeks ago but fell at the first. Up until then, he had shown some great form over the last couple of seasons, and is a reliable punt for the public. Interestingly though, Richie McLernon keeps the ride, even with AP McCoy at Ascot. This normally means that the horse isn’t that well fancied, but I wouldn’t buy that. Storm Survivor is a really reliable sort, and it might just be that McLernon gets on better with him.
Problema Tic (33/1 Coral) and What a Warrior (12/1 bet365) complete the line-up for Tom Scudamore and Sam Twiston-Davies respectively. Problema Tic has the ability to run a good race on his day, but that all depends as to which Problema Tic turns up. The latter of the two prefers better ground, so the rain we’ve had is a worry.
Once again we have another wide open Saturday contest. I’ve found it hard to pick a tip as all the horses have strong chances to run good races. However, because of Paul Nicholls’ current run of form I’m tempted by CEDRE BLEU.
CEDRE BLEU (WIN) (11/2 Coral)
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