Ascot Saturday Preview - 22/01/22

Ascot - January 22 2022
Ascot 12:35
Tom Cannon


J: Tom Cannon
T: Alan King
Age: 4
Weight: 10-12
Days: 26

The first event of the day at Ascot on Saturday is the Juvenile Hurdle over two miles and the horse that catches the eye is the Alan King trained Restitution.

A four year old son of Frankel that was fairly smart on the flat, racing four times and placing in all of his events, winning one of them at Yarmouth.

Sent hurdling by the master dual purpose trainer over Christmas, the gelding applied himself well to finish third of 10 at Kempton.

Although a long way behind the smart winner Iceo for Paul Nicholls, the conditions were gruelling and with the ground set to be firmer come Saturday, he could go close.

Ascot - January 22 2022
Ascot 13:10
Miss Lucy Turner

Didero Vallis

J: Miss Lucy Turner
T: Venetia Williams
Age: 9
Weight: 11-11
OR: 135
Days: 31

Next up is the Class 3 Handicap Chase over three miles and it sees some very experienced staying chasers take on one another.

Didero Vallis for trainer Venetia Williams gets the nod in this with the handy 7lb claimer Lucy Turner taking off some much needed weight.

Having won on heavy ground at Kelso in February off a mark of 130, he was then upped in the handicap and slightly struggled at the back end of the season and start of this term.

Dropping back down to a mark of 135 for his latest run over three miles at Ludlow he was a taking second behind Head To The Stars, finishing ahead of Smarty Wild who has since franked the form in a better race when a close second.

Running off the same mark but now with an extra 7lb off he is effectively racing off 128 which really puts him in the frame for this event, especially with the yard in flying form.

Ascot - January 22 2022
Ascot 13:45
Micheal Nolan

Stellar Magic

J: Micheal Nolan
T: Philip Hobbs
Age: 7
Weight: 11-6
OR: 137
Days: 35

An intriguing event on the Ascot card this weekend is the 2m3f Handicap Hurdle with many smart handicappers looking for glory.

Stellar Magic for Philip Hobbs is a horse who is very unexposed for his age and only having his second start in a handicap, we believe he could be ahead of his mark.

Having won a P2P in February 2020 he then was bought and given to Hobbs and made a very nice stable debut when winning at Taunton over 2m3f in heavy ground.

He then backed that up under a penalty seeing off the smart Alaphilippe at Taunton again, showing he is a thorough stayer at this trip.

The gelding was then only seen once more that season when unfortunately pulling up in a Novices' Hurdle at Warwick.

Not seen since February 2021, he returned this term in December at Haydock in a good handicap hurdle where he was a narrow second behind Up For Parol.

He is up 4lb to 137 for this event and stripping much fitter for that first run he looks one of the more likelier winners.

Ascot - January 22 2022
Ascot 14:20
Paul Townend

My Sister Sarah

J: Paul Townend
T: W P Mullins
Age: 8
Weight: 11-4
OR: 143
Days: 24

One of the feature races on the card on Saturday at Kempton is the Grade Two Mares Hurdle over three miles and My Sister Sarah for Willie Mullins could take some beating if on song.

The eight year old has been a very smart horse for the yard over the years and is very experienced in these sorts of events both in Ireland and in the UK.

Having been tried over 2m, 2m4f and other distances in between that, she has only been tried at three miles three times in her career and she has gone on to win two of those events.

She landed a handicap hurdle back in May 2019 at Punchestown over three miles, but her best win over the trip came two starts ago at Kempton in a decent Listed event when beating the smart Dragon Bones by seven lengths.

The has from winning on both soft and good ground and looks to be a big challenger to the favourite.

Ascot - January 22 2022
Ascot 14:55
Miss Lucy Turner

Fanion D'Estruval

J: Miss Lucy Turner
T: Venetia Williams
Age: 7
Weight: 11-12
OR: 159
Days: 57

A very smart Handicap Chase over three miles come next and we are siding with the Venetia Williams trained Fanion D'Estruval.

The seven year old, although top weight, could be a class above this field, running valiant races last season in the Clarence House Chase, Game Spirit Chase and Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham festival.

This season the gelding made his seasonal debut at Aintree in the Grade Two Old Roan Chase over 2m4f finishing a close up fourth behind some nice runners.

Last time out at Newbury over 2m4f he got back to winning ways in an easier event that has seen the third since win and although up 8lb for that, he has the handy Lucy Turner taking 7lb, so effectively he is only 1lb higher for the event.

Should go close.

Ascot - January 22 2022
Ascot 15:35
Nico de Boinville


J: Nico de Boinville
T: Nicky Henderson
Age: 8
Weight: 11-7
OR: 172
Days: 26

The feature race of the day and arguably the match up of the season to date comes in the Grade One Clarence House Chase and we are siding with Shishkin.

The eight year old since falling on his hurdles debut has shown bundles and bundles of ability and plenty of gears when it comes to finishing his races which has seen him land nine events in a row.

His win in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham festival was one of most noticeable victories as a novice hurdler, finding plenty up the hill to narrowly see off Abacadabras.

Shishkin could not be upstaged and on his first start over fences in November as he showed the racing world just how good he is by pinging every fence and showing a startling turn of foot.

On his second start over fences he kept his outstanding unbeaten run going with another faultless round of jumping in the Grade Two Wayward Lad Novices' Chase at Kempton over Christmas, seeing off Tamaroc Du Mathan by 13 lengths.

Henderson's superstar next time out took his unbeaten record to three races over fences at Doncaster landing the Grade Two Lightning Novices' Chase.

He was then sent to the Cheltenham festival where he landed the Grade One Arkle Challenge Trophy with ease and to round the season off he went to Aintree where he again landed a Grade One contest in workmanlike fashion.

Having not been right for his seasonal debut in the Tingle Creek, he was rerouted to the Grade Two Desert Orchid Chase over Christmas and on his first start in open company he saw off the Tingle Creek winner by 10 lengths.

He has been nothing short of superb in every race bar one during his career and although taking on his toughest rival to date, it is going to take something very special to beat him.

Ascot - January 22 2022
Ascot 16:05
Harry Skelton

Galia Des Liteaux

J: Harry Skelton
T: Dan Skelton
Age: 6
Weight: 11-1
Days: 27

The final event of the afternoon is the Novices' Hurdle over the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle trip and the horse we are siding with is the Dan Skelton trained Galia Des Liteaux who is getting weight off the field.

A £70,000 purchase in November 2021 having won a P2P over three miles in October at Loughanmore by six lengths.

Given her rules debut at Wetherby on Boxing Day, she was an emphatic winner of Mares' Novices' Hurdle, seeing off her closest rival by 30 lengths in testing conditions.

She gets the weight off the boys in this event and she looks to have the world at her feet.


James Mackie | @jamesmackieee