Ascot Preview & Betting Tips – Saturday 20th February

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The Grade One Betfair Ascot Chase is the highlight of Ascot's seven-race card on Saturday.

Horse racing at Royal Ascot

After the weather disrupted the programme last weekend, the stage is set for a bumper weekend of jumps racing in Britain this time around.

There are graded contests at Ascot, Haydock and Wincanton on Saturday and the Grade 1 Betfair Ascot Chase (3.35pm) is the headline act amongst them.

You can watch all of this afternoon’s Ascot action (1.15pm-4.45pm, seven races) via live streaming when logged into MansionBet – alongside every race across the UK and Ireland. Our tipster takes you through the Ascot card.

1.15 – Novices’ Hurdle (2m3f)

Gallyhill is the obvious starting point; the Nicky Henderson-trained son of Getaway cost a cool £450,000 after winning his point and won on racecourse bow last month at Newbury. He’s only going to improve and is justifiably favourite. Midnight River and ONE TRUE KING may have something to offer in resistance. The latter folded tamely amid the white-heat of the Lanzarote Hurdle (2m5f, soft) last month at Kempton having started favourite but his earlier was form was quite taking and, sights lowered, he’s got a sporting chance despite giving 3lb to the market leader.

Selection: One True King @ 5/1

1.50 – Bateaux London Reynoldstown Novices’ Chase (Grade 2, 3m)

As with the opening race, six runners for the Reynoldstown Novices’ Chase and in this instance it’s impossible to count any of them out. Hurricane Harvey is penalised for his Doncaster win in December but should go well, while Full Back and Sevarano are also worth considering – particularly the latter if he avoids jumping errors. This is easily the toughest test REMASTERED has faced but David Pipe’s charge really impressed with his fencing at Wetherby in December on testing ground and, despite the class-jump, may make it 3-3 over these obstacles.

Selection: Remastered @ 7/2

2.25 – ‘My Oddsboost’ On Betfair Swinley Chase (Listed Limited Handicap, 3m)

Teenager Regal Encore is a C&D specialist and showed in December that he’s far from done. He’s one of a strong trio in JP McManus’ colours, with the Philip Hobbs-trained, Richard Johnson-ridden Jerrysback a key player based on his comeback here four weeks ago. Cobolobo chased home a progressive winner over track and trip last time and is a player but NEWTIDE is fancied to go well for trainer Kim Bailey. He had some excellent novice form last season and shaped well for a long way on comeback at Haydock over further before settling for third. He’s had a wind op since and should be ideally suited by this examination, with plenty scope for better things still in his fledging chasing career.

Selection: Newtide @ 8/1

3.00 – Betfair Cheltenham Free Bet Pot Builder Handicap Hurdle (2m3f)

This race is a bit of a puzzle, so treading lightly is the best advice. Shannon Bridge and Pileon have chances while unexposed duo Gladiateur Allen and Arrivederci could be up to having their say – particularly given Chester Williams’ mount was green in front over further last month. The mare MALAYA has twice run well in this contest and Paul Nicholls’ charge may do so again. She’s back up in trip after solid efforts in defeat this season and can hold each-way prospects.

Selection: Malaya @ 11/1

3.35 – Betfair Ascot Chase (Grade 1, 2m5f)

If Cyrname is as good as his rating, he could win this as easily as he did in 2019, but that’s open to lots of debate. He won the Charlie Hall on his comeback but was pulled up since in the King George and just might not be the star he once looked. Dashel Drasher was ever-so game from the front over C&D four weeks ago but was all out to hold Bennys King, but both now face a tough exam. MASTER TOMMYTUCKER is still prone to blunders but it hasn’t stopped him winning 3-4 starts this season. A small field like this is certainly his best route to winning a Grade 1 race. Daryl Jacob’s mount has a big engine and so the rider can adopt a positive attitude to ensure he gets the lead here, even if it does cost him some early petrol. That being the case, they may upset their Ditcheat stablemate Cyrname.

Selection: Master Tommytucker @ 3/1

4.10 – Ascot Racecourse Supports Berkshire Vision Handicap Hurdle (2m7½f)

Zhiguli, Flight Deck and J’ai Froid are all major contenders despite the attentions of the handicapper for their recent exploits. At the prices there, one that could be under the radar is Oliver Sherwood’s REPUBLICAN. He capped a good novice season that included a soft-ground Taunton win over 2m3f by running well in a Kempton Grade 3 handicap that has turned out to be red-hot. He acquitted himself well in two chase starts earlier in the season but, off a mark of 120, could make a splash here should the increased trip suit him as it promises to on paper.

Selection: Republic @ 18/1

4.45 – Dingley’s Promise British EBF Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race (1m7½f)

Jersey Lady has run well in Listed company since a winning start at Ludlow in the autumn, though her most recent Huntingdon run in December was a backwards step. She can bounce back but gives 4lb to the field today. So Said I, Universal Brook and Code Name Lise showed promise on their debuts – particularly Lucy Wadham’s mare – but perhaps not quite as much as Hereford runner-up MISS FAIRFAX. Her greenness left her with plenty to do before she rallied in the home straight for a fast-finishing second. Hughie Morrison traditionally does well in bumpers and his charge could improve generously for that first racecourse experience.

Selection: Miss Fairfax @ 2/1

*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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