Ascot Preview & Betting Tips – December 17th

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A double-helping of top-class jumps racing comes from Ascot across Friday and Saturday with graded contests to relish on both cards.

Jonbon

Friday’s six-race offering is from 12.35pm-3.30pm and includes a Grade 2 novices’ hurdle featuring the much-talked-about Nicky Henderson runner Jonbon.

You can watch all the Ascot action – as well as every race from the UK and Ireland – via live streaming when logged into MansionBet and our tipster has a race-by-race look at Friday’s card.

12.35 – Howden Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (2m5½f)

Dargiannini has only had two starts since joining Paul Nicholls and he went close at Taunton last month, more could be forthcoming from this lightly-raced sort. Shantou Master has been absent almost 15 months but Gary Moore’s charge needs monitoring on his return. EARTH LORD put away novice opposition in good style in last month’s seasonal bow at Wincanton over this sort of trip and an opening mark of 127 could be within the grasp of Philip Hobbs’ charge now that he goes handicapping.

Selection: Earth Lord @ SP

1.10 – Howden Maiden Hurdle (2m5½f)

Nicky Henderson plays a pair here and it’s interesting to see that Nico de Boinville partners Royal runner Kincardine – well held behind smart novice Stage Star in his recent hurdles bow at Newbury – over stablemate City Chief – who cost the princely sum of £210,000 as a 4YO. The Paul Nicholls runner Complete Unknown has shaped well in both hurdles starts too, so this rates an intriguing maiden. Jamie Snowden debuts Irish import SOLDIER OF DESTINY here and his form in a Punchestown maiden and a hot Thurles bumper last season make him a lively contender.

Selection: Soldier Of Destiny @ SP

1.45 – Howden Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase (2m1f)

Venetia Williams’ Brave Seasca delivered an improved effort at Warwick last week and is far from certain to be grounded by a 5lb penalty but this is a good little race. One True King and Karl Philippe are possibles, but THYME WHITE might avenge last month’s Wincanton second behind Amarillo Sky. The winner dictated matters from the front there and, on second start after a wind op, Paul Nicholls’ inmate is 3lb better off now with further improvement likely on second chase start.

Selection: Thyme White @ SP

2.20 – Howden Kennel Gate Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 2, 1m7½f)

A cracking renewal of this Grade 2 contest and the world will be watching as the much-heralded JONBON takes his next step. Douvan’s brother, he cost JP McManus north of £550,000 and is 3-3 thus far – winning a point-to-point, a bumper and a maiden hurdle. He hasn’t looked as flash as some of those that share the Seven Barrows yard with him in the mornings, but neither has he done too much wrong. I Like To Move It, Knappers Hill, Elle Est Belle and Irish raider Colonel Mustard should ensure he needs to go deeper into the well this time at the very least.

Selection: Jonbon @ 4/6

2.55 – Howden Noel Novices’ Chase (Grade 2, 2m3f)

PIC D’ORHY ran fourth in this race a year ago and returns as a second-season novice well equipped to do better. He had a similar Newbury contest at his mercy last month only to come to grief late on and, with a clear round, compensation may await Paul Nicholls’ charge. Faivoir is the main danger on paper.

Selection: Pic D’Orhy @ 11/10

3.30 – Lexicon Recruitment Championship Open NH Flat Race (Listed, 1m7½f)

HENRI THE SECOND kept it simple on debut at Chepstow in October, making all and ultimately pulling away for a decisive success. He’s seemingly the preferred option for Harry Cobden over stablemate and Worcester winner Hugos New Horse as Paul Nicholls holds a strong hand in this finale. He’s well-bred and should improve nicely in this higher grade. Emma Lavelle’s Top Dog was second to a next-time-out Listed winner at Cheltenham in October and is a player, while Doyouknowwhatimean is open to improvement for the Skeltons.

Selection: Henri The Second @ SP

*All odds correct at time of writing

Enda is a journalist who specialises in horse racing, especially the action in the UK and Ireland, and has shared his racing betting tips on a number of well-known publications and websites over the last 10 years.
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