1.50pm Ascot Tips & Betting Preview 19/12/2015

1.50pm Ascot Saturday 19th December

Free Tip: Dartford Warbler at 11/1 Each Way

Race Details

Race Time: 1.50pm MeetingAscot Day: Saturday 19th December 2015 Full Race NameBGC Partners Handicap Chase Class Three

Betting Preview

Channel 4 have certainly decided to start the Saturday card with a bang with this fascinating handicap hurdle over the unusual distance of two miles and three furlongs (though amusingly the next race at Haydock is over the same trip). An inspired combination of the speed for two miles but with enough stamina to go further makes this a pretty specialist trip so we will start with a couple of distance winners as we don’t have any course and distance winners to even talk about. This race gives Venetia Williams the opportunity to let Marcilhac (6/1) loose on the track for the first time since finishing second to Carole’s Destrier at Kempton way back in March 2014 and that was over hurdles as well. Twenty-one months later and he goes chasing for the first time in this Country which is interesting for starters, though supporters will be pleased to note he has been over the larger obstacles in his native France seven times including one win at Auteuil.  His handicap mark of 135 today is hard to assess for this particular race and he could yet be a lot better than that, though with his probable fitness issues there are just too many question marks for us to recommend him today. 

Gary Moore has been having a mini revival in recent weeks from his Sussex yard and in Gores Island (9/1) he has a well-handicapped chaser who has won off ratings up to 127, and gets in off a pound lighter today. That isn’t a lot we agree, but it does mean he is not being asked to do any more than he has already achieved, and as he is also a distance winner, he has quite a bit going for him. However, at the age of nine he won’t be on an upward curve, and has only managed three third places so far this season, all well beaten, but then again that is why he has dropped to this more competitive rating here.

Dartford Warbler (9/1) is a year younger at the age of eight but other than that has a fairly similar profile and has won off of three pounds higher than he has to carry today. Better still he arrives here in very good form having won at Market Rasen last time out to make it two wins and two seconds from his last four starts, looking more like his old self race on race, and although it could be asking a bit too much to expect him to match his best run (probably when hacking up at Cartmel in August 2013), he is potentially still well weighted here and in with every chance in our view.

Meanwhile, there is every chance that Philip Hobbs will let Mountain King (10/1) drop in class today and he could be a bit of a dark horse option in those circumstances. Last time he took in a Class Three Chase at Perth, where he beat the close to unpronounceable but admirably consistent Ut Majeur Aulmes when staying on strongly over shorter, but he was then stepped up in class which saw him caught out. Sixth in a Class Two at Market Rasen to Anay Turge he was then a decent fourth to Wakanda at Wetherby in a Class One and most recently fourth again, this time behind Grey Gold at Newbury in a Class Two over two miles plus. Back up in trip today, the bad news is he has never won beyond two miles which has to be a negative, and may be enough to put us off supporting him here.

Lastly, David Pipe had two entered but he now relies on La Vaticane (9/2) who looked as if a win was not too far away when third to Aloomomo at Newbury over two and three quarter miles last time out. That looked a step too far to us hence the drop back in trip, but he has plenty of winning form in France over both hurdles and fences to suggest he has a lot more to offer than we have seen so far in the United Kingdom, and we are confident that he has a win or two in him – we just need to decide if the first one will be on Saturday afternoon.

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