Adrian Wall’s big-race verdict: Pic D’Orhy is serious value in the Ascot Chase

Adrian Wall gives his big-race verdict on the Betfair Ascot Chase, where he thinks strong market leader L’Homme Presse has a real battle on his hands in the form of a Paul Nicholls’ runner. Check out the weekend’s tips at MyRacing on our free horse racing tips page, but the views on this article are Adrian’s alone!

3.36 Ascot

This year’s renewal of the Betfair Ascot Chase sees only four runners go to post for the 2m5f Grade 1 feature, but it’s still an intriguing contest and a winning case can be made for three of the four runners.

Lucinda Russell’s Ahoy Senor has in general struggled since his Cotswold Chase win at Cheltenham in January 2023. Pulled up in both the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby on his return and the Coral Gold Cup at Newbury, he took a step back in the right direction when fourth in the Cotswold Chase but is going to have to improve a lot to figure in this.

Current odds-on favourite L’Homme Presse is right back in the Cheltenham Gold Cup picture. He was sidelined through injury for a spell, but came back to win at Lingfield, beating Protektorat. It was great to see him back but I’m not sure how much that form amounts to. Protektorat is nowhere near the horse he was and as a consequence I have to take L’Homme Presse on at the prices.

If L’Homme Presse isn’t back to the horse he was, then the door is wide open for Paul Nicholls’ Pic D’Orhy to get his head in front. A dual winner over course and distance in Grade 2 company, he finished behind Shishkin when second in this race last year, and although well beaten on the day, Shishkin is a monster when he puts it all together. He’s a leading contender here and I think he can win.

Out of courtesy, Sail Away is worthy of a mention but Dan Skelton’s runner has no realistic chance in this company. He ran well in a competitive Doncaster handicap when last seen but is miles off this level on all known form.

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