Ascot Saturday Preview - 18/12/21

Ascot - December 18 2021
Ascot 12:40
13
Brendan Powell

So Said I

J:
 
Brendan Powell
T:
 
Colin Tizzard
Age: 5
Weight: 11-1
OR: 109
Days: 27

The first selection of the afternoon is the Novices Handicap Hurdle over three miles and we are going for the mare So Said I for Colin Tizzard.

The five year old learnt her trade in bumpers, being seen three times and progressively getting better, with a good second the finish up in March.

Moved over hurdles this term the mare went to Newton Abbot in May and finished a fair fourth in a good Novices' Hurdle behind the likeable Dragon Bones.

Stepped up to 2m6f for her next start at Stratford she finished a good second behind Gazette Bourgeoise, but last time out reversed the form at Exeter when up in trip and receiving weight.

She makes her handicap debut today off a mark of 109 which looks very lenient and showing her staying ability last time out she will get this extended trip no problem.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
20/02/22NBY24Sft11-91
20/01/22LUD24Sft11-11
18/12/21ASC23.5GS11-14
21/11/21EXE23Gd10-121
28/10/21STR22Gd11-02
Ascot - December 18 2021
Ascot 13:15
4
Jonjo O'Neill Jr

Pencilfulloflead

J:
 
Jonjo O'Neill Jr
T:
 
Gordon Elliott
Age: 7
Weight: 11-8
OR: 153
Days: 321

Next up is the Class 2 Graduation Chase over 2m5f and this race sees an interesting Irish raider in Pencilfulloflead for Gordon Elliott.

This seven year old is a very talented individual running in bumpers two seasons ago, but quickly being moved over hurdles and having finished second to Asterion Forlonge on debut, then got off the mark at Punchestown.

He ran once more that season at Navan finishing fourth in a weak race and was then put away for the season and returned last term at Galway over fences.

The gelding got off the mark on seasonal/chase debut seeing off stablemate Coko Beach and he then backed that up at Punchestown, causing a shock by beating the smart Latest Exhibition by seven lengths.

Sent to the Grade One at Limerick over Christmas he was a narrow second to the smart mare Colreevy in a topsy turvy race and was then last seen in January finishing third over three miles behind Eklat De Rire and Escaria Ten.

He is a very smart talent that stays well and should have too much class for this field if fully wound up for the race.

Goes well fresh.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
18/12/21ASC21GS11-8F
31/01/21NAA25Hy11-103
26/12/20LIM19.5Hy11-122
15/11/20PUN22.5Hy11-51
25/10/20GAL22.5Sft12-01
Ascot - December 18 2021
Ascot 13:50
7
Jonjo O'Neill Jr

Palmers Hill

J:
 
Jonjo O'Neill Jr
T:
 
Jonjo O'Neill
Age: 8
Weight: 10-11
OR: 134
Days: 35

A smart event on the Ascot card is the Class 2 Handicap Chase over 2m3f and the horse we are siding with is Jonjo O'Neill trained Palmers Hill.

The eight year old Palmers Hill looks an extremely interesting type for JP McManus who could have a big season over fences this term.

Having been hit and miss over the last few seasons he made a very pleasing return to action this term when taking a handicap chase at Wetherby over 2m3f.

He has only gone upto a mark of 134 off the back of that win and could still be extremely handicapped for this event.

Potentially a big player.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
08/04/22AIN21GS10-79
22/01/22ASC21Sft10-9PU
18/12/21ASC19GS10-111
13/11/21WET19.5GS11-41
17/03/21CHL21GS10-69
Ascot - December 18 2021
Ascot 14:25
9
Tom O'Brien

Thyme Hill

J:
 
Tom O'Brien
T:
 
Philip Hobbs
Age: 7
Weight: 11-7
OR: 160
Days: 42

The feature race of the afternoon at Ascot is the Grade One Long Walk Hurdle and from the nine runners we are siding with Philip Hobbs' Thyme Hill.

Thyme Hill over the last two years has installed himself as one of the best British staying hurdlers in the sport and on Saturday he will be looking to truly show that.

After finishing a superb fourth in Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle and before that winning the Challow Hurdle, many people were excited to see him in open company.

Last term he stayed over hurdles and was exceptional on all three starts, winning the Grade Two Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury, before being chinned on the line by Paisley Park in this race last term.

He rounded off the season by getting back to winning ways in the Grade One Ryanair Stayers Hurdle at the Grand National meeting.

Back for another term over hurdles at the start of November he was sent over to France for the Grade One Grand Prix d'Automne and in heavy ground he finished a weak fifth of seven, nearly 42 lengths behind the winner.

Everything went wrong for the gelding and that can certainly be put behind him with the ground for his first run back being the opposite of what he wanted.

He has been saved for this race since then and said to be fit and ready, he could take all the beating.

Ascot - December 18 2021
Ascot 15:00
12
Sam Twiston-Davies

Checkitout

J:
 
Sam Twiston-Davies
T:
 
Nigel Twiston-Davies
Age: 7
Weight: 10-8
OR: 132
Days: 14

The Listed Howden Silver Cup Handicap Chase over three miles sees a very competitive betting market and with that in mind we are taking an each way punt at Checkitout for Nigel Twiston-Davies.

The gelding is weighted to go very close near the bottom of the weights having ran a cracker last time out and now 4lb lower for that.

At an each way price the son of Salutino seems to have been targeted at this and overall is a consistent horse with two wins and and two places in his last six runs.

Seen twice this season he finished a superb second in the London Gold Cup on seasonal debut behind the talented Larry for Gary Moore over course and distance.

He was last seen finished a staying on third in the Becher Chase at Aintree in tricky conditions and now on a mark of 132 he is hard not to back.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
26/02/22NCS33.5GS10-1112
30/01/22FON27.5GS11-121
18/12/21ASC24GS10-85
04/12/21AIN26Sft9-113
30/10/21ASC24Sft10-02
Ascot - December 18 2021
Ascot 15:35
9
Nico de Boinville

No Ordinary Joe

J:
 
Nico de Boinville
T:
 
Nicky Henderson
Age: 5
Weight: 10-9
OR: 136
Days: 34

The final event of the afternoon is the Grade Three Betfair Exchange Handicap Trophy and with a big field heading to post we have had two stabs at the race.

The first is the JP McManus owned gelding has been seen five times in his career to date, winning his sole bumper at Sandown in November 2020, with the second since winning over hurdles.

Moved swiftly over to hurdles himself in December last year, he bumped into the likes of My Drogo, Llandinabo Lad and Soaring Glory at Ascot in the Grade Two Supreme Trial.

He was then seen again in May and after six months off returned at Southwell over 2m4f and went on to win comfortably, backing that up at Worcester at the end of the same month.

Saved for a hurdles campaign this season, off a mark of 133 he went for the Grade Three Greatwood Handicap at Cheltenham and having jumped the last in contention he was outclassed late on, settling for third.

West Cork, who beat him that day, returns against him but now on better terms could be tough to beat off only 3lb higher.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
18/12/21ASC15.5GS10-9PU
14/11/21CHL16.5Gd10-123
21/05/21WOR20GS11-81
04/05/21STH20.5Gd11-21
18/12/20ASC15.5Sft11-04
Ascot - December 18 2021
Ascot 15:35
11
Bryony Frost

Onemorefortheroad

J:
 
Bryony Frost
T:
 
Neil King
Age: 6
Weight: 10-9
OR: 136
Days: 21

Our second selection in the contest is the much bigger priced Onemorefortheroad for trainer Neil King, with this horse being a winning machine of late.

The six year old has won five of his last six races, completing a hat-trick last time out when putting up a career best at Newbury when landing the Listed Intermediate Hurdle at Newbury.

Before that this season he was an easy winner at Huntingdon before winning a Novice' Hurdle at Stratford over two miles.

He has only gone up 3lb for his win last time out in Listed company and if going from the front like usual he may be tough to catch off this weight.

Each way player.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
23/10/22AIN20GS11-74
02/04/22AYR16GS10-103
12/03/22SAN16Sft11-34
18/12/21ASC15.5GS10-92
27/11/21NBY16.5GS10-81

James Mackie

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