Sodexo Silver Cup Tips & Betting Preview

3.00pm Ascot Saturday 19th December

Free Tip: The Young Master at 7/1 Each Way

Race Details

Race Time: 3.00pm MeetingAscot Day: Saturday 19th December 2015 Full Race NameSodexo Silver Cup Handicap Chase (Listed Race) Class One

Betting Preview

Watching classy young chasers plying their trade is what the winter game is all about and if they all stand their ground we have some very decent prospects in opposition today. Pendra (11/2) heads the early market for trainer Charlie Longsdon, and with Barry Geraghty likely to ride it is easy to see why. A son of Old Vic, he has always been held in the highest regard at home without ever really justifying that opinion, though he did take a couple of hurdle races at Plumpton as well as two minor chases at Carlisle and Lingfield, but nothing of any major significance.  He did finish nine lengths behind The Druids Nephew at Cheltenham when receiving six pounds he beat Double Ross last time out at Ascot and will strip fitter for the race but does come over as a “nearly” horse, and may find one or two a bit better than him this afternoon.

Trainer Neil Mulholland is responsible for both The Druids Nephew and The Young Master (13/2) so should know exactly where he stands with the likely favourite, and we suspect the six year old could have his beating. After racking up four wins in a row (if you include the one he lost after the race for entry technicalities), including this very race last season, he was stepped up in class where he ran well enough to finish seventh at Cheltenham when over the top for the year, and has been second to Saphir Du Rheu at Carlisle before unseating in the Hennessy Gold Cup which told us nothing.  What we do know is that he is a class act at his best and that at the age of six his best years ought to be in front of him, and with Sam Waley-Cohen claiming three pounds we feel he ought to be the long term favourite and comes here with every chance.

Naturally, Paul Nicholls is represented and in Salubrious (8/1) he has a very lightly raced chaser who could be anything – or nothing much. A very good hurdler rated 153 at his peak, he only had the one run over fences last season which he won at Fontwell, he was then off for over a year before a winning return at Carlisle where he won with a ton in hand after possibly hitting the front a bit too soon and idling. There is the usual risk that he “bounces” after such a long lay off but if not he is a very interesting contender and this will show connections just where they should be aiming him for the rest of the season, with the Welsh Grand National still very much a possibility.

Venetia Williams will be hoping this track and trip will spark Houblon Des Obeaux (11/1) back in to life after some tame recent efforts, but then again he did win this race in 2013, so that is distinctly possible. Rated 152 that day, he has raced twelve times since without adding to past glories, but is weighted to win (150 today) and should run a big race. He is weighted to perhaps turn around earlier Ascot form with Pendra (sixteen pounds better off for twenty-one lengths so it could be close), and should easily beat The Young Master on even earlier Ascot form (seventeen pounds better off for two and a half lengths), so on paper has an excellent chance, we just wish he made more regular visits to the winners’ enclosure.

To round things off, Nicky Henderson looks to send Ma Filleule (14/1) here and although the seven-year-old mare has plenty of weight, she also has plenty of ability to match it. Five wins from fourteen starts over fences isn’t a bad return by anyone’s standards and her recent third to Royal Guardsman at Newbury was acceptable if nothing else, but the sad fact is that she is inclined to place more often than win these days, and the handicapper may well have her measure.

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