It’s the final major afternoon of racing action before Christmas Day as Ascot stages the Grade 1 Porsche Long Walk Hurdle on Saturday afternoon (2.25pm).
That’s the centrepiece on a six-race card at the Berkshire track and our tipster has selections in all the Ascot races.
Watch it all unfold via live streaming when logged into MansionBet, with every UK and Irish race available to view.
12.40 – Foundation Developments Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (2m7½f)
A field of 13 for the opening Novices’ Handicap Hurdle and it’s ultra-competitive stuff. Recent winners Huntsman Jog, Poppa Poutine, Tide Times, Soyouthinksoagain and Freddy Fanatapan all come into the reckoning but, with their respective increases to deal with, HUGOS OTHER HORSE gains the nod. He’s finished second in handicaps at Taunton (3m) and Wincanton (2m5½f) so far for Paul Nicholls and may well have more to offer in The Stewart Family silks.
Selection: Hugos Other Horse @
1.15 – Injured Jockeys Fund Graduation Chase (2m5f)
This looks a match between CARIBEAN BOY and Itchy Feet on paper and the former is strongly fancied as he looks to hold a real edge in the jumping department. Olly Murphy’s charge wasn’t disgraced here behind Imperial Aura four weeks ago but he made up plenty ground once the jumping was completed and never looked like getting near the winner.
Nicky Henderson’s Caribean Boy, meanwhile, saw off the promising Fiddlerontheroof on his comeback at Newbury, jumping very well and showing a nice gear-change to put matters to bed. The French import rates a likely improver and is taken to make his advantage count at the obstacles. Both Dashel Drasher and Commanche Red have work to do.
Selection: Caribean Boy @
1.50 – ‘For The Love Of Racing’ Handicap Chase (2m3f)
Tom Symonds has his string in super order and easy Exeter winner Saint De Vassy can go well again here for him. Saint Sonnet may find this easier than his two tough Cheltenham assignments lately while Drumcliff is an each-way contender.
MENGLI KHAN is back in a handicap off a mark of 150 on his first start after joining Nicky Henderson from Gordon Elliott having been sold by Gigginstown House. He was an easy winner at Ballinrobe when last spotted and, while not quite top drawer, boasts some more than useful chasing form in his back catalogue. He’s with Ascot’s leading trainer/jockey team over the last five seasons and ought to go well despite top-weight.
Selection: Mengli Khan @
2.25 – Porsche Long Walk Hurdle (Grade 1, 3m)
Thyme Hill held off Paisley Park at Newbury last month and this is a fascinating rematch. Emma Lavelle’s stable star should build on that confidence-boosting comeback following his much-vaunted heart problem at Cheltenham in March. He’s 3lb better off for a length and a half defeat and could reassert his authority on the division by reclaiming this prize.
It’s a strong renewal, far stronger than the one The World’s End won last year, and the mare ROKSANA can boast solid claims in receipt of 7lb from the boys. She won nicely at Wetherby on her comeback and this Cheltenham Festival winner remains relatively unexposed at this distance. She’s an alternative to the big two in the market.
Selection: Roksana @
3.00 – Good Luck Hollie In SPOTY Silver Cup Handicap Chase (Listed, 3m)
Last month’s course and distance winners Quarenta and ESPOIR DE GUYE are fancied to go well, with the latter preferred for the Venetia Williams yard. His disappointment at the Cheltenham Festival in March is the only blot on his copybook over fences and his returning win here ensures he’s now 3-5 over these obstacles. Charlie Deutsch’s mount showed he handles soft conditions at this track in that win and looks like he will have more to offer still.
Selection: Espoir De Guye @
3.35 – Betfair Exchange Trophy (Grade 3 Handicap Hurdle, 2m)
A devilish end to the Ascot proceedings with 17 runners in a wide open Grade 2 handicap. Any of Harambe, Malaya and Time Flies By are capable of a big say, while Botox Has may have learned a bit from his Newbury defeat last month and can improve.
Handicap debutant BELFAST BANTER is an interesting Irish raider at a decent price. He won his maiden at Galway in October and the stiff finisher there bodes well. He has also run well since on heavy going at Punchestown and might have more to come from an opening handicap mark of 129.
Selection: Belfast Banter @
*All odds correct at time of writing