Ascot 1.50 – De Dollar Man
The selection here is De Dollar Man who has been quite lightly campaigned over the last couple of seasons and showed an encouraging performance on his comeback at Newbury.
He just needs to sharpen up his jumping a little but I’m sure softer ground is what he needs. It’s significant that his best run over hurdles (by some margin) came at Ascot and this is his first visit since.
Ascot 2.25 – Unowhatimeanharry
There may be one last hurrah in this horse at the very highest level. It’s fair to say that his win at Newbury last time was not spellbinding in terms of form, but he has clearly come back off the ropes after a wind operation. The compelling case for him here is the combination of proven stamina, effectiveness on the ground and race fitness.
All three Henderson runners are interesting, but none has run over 3 miles before and all are making their seasonal debuts. Soul Emotion may be the most appealing of the trio at the prices.
Similarly, I was tempted by Kim Bailey’s Younevercall, but he has no form at all on a genuinely soft surface. Paisley Park looked like a thorough stayer at Haydock, though it is significant that his trainer believes he might not be, while Sam Spinner can’t be backed after three listless performances in which his jumping has lacked any cut or enthusiasm.
The most potent threat could come from Agrapart, who generally improves a fair bit for his first run of the season – even more rain would suit him.
It might be fanciful to think Unowhatimeanharry can return to the level of two years ago, but he is most likely to run his race in ideal conditions and showed he remains a high class performer.
Haydock 2.40 – Duel at Dawn
A quiet improver for Alex Hales last season, before finding the Cheltenham Festival too much, but prior to that he’d been progressing nicely.
I like the fact that one of his best runs came at Warwick, where there’s a premium on being able to race handily and jump well which should see him to good effect around Haydock.
I’m not saying he’s got loads more improvement in him, but I don’t think he’s badly handicapped on the balance of last season’s efforts and we know the conditions are going to suit.
Ascot 3.00 – Full Glass
Quite a strong race for the Silver Cup and one likely to be run at a good, swinging gallop, with the likes of Otago Trail in the field.
The slightly speculative selection here is Full Glass who I thought moved like a pretty good horse when I first saw him at Ayr last season.
He looked as though he was going to be involved at Haydock before unseating, but that might have been a blessing in disguise because he’d have almost certainly rocketed up the weights and one interpretation of that leaves me thinking he’s quite well handicapped here.
It’s also worth noting that all of his best form in France came on a very soft surface – something he’s yet to encounter here in England and which could bring about significant improvement.
Ascot 3.35 – Lisp
She ran really well for this column when just touched off in the Gerry Field at Newbury. Although she was receiving weight from Global Citizen on that day, the winner is a very, very smart horse on his day and this mare has sufficiently low mileage to make me think she can keep improving.
She doesn’t mind bad ground and I think she’ll appreciate a slightly more contested pace to run at.
There’s not much between her and Mont Des Avaloirs on their Newbury running but she strikes me as being a little more straight forward.
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