Grade Two Ascot Mares' Hurdle Guide

Ascot - January 23 2021
Ascot 13:15
2
Harry Skelton

Roksana

J:
 
Harry Skelton
T:
 
Dan Skelton
Age: 9
Weight: 11-6
OR: 153
Days: 35

The Grade Two Mares' Hurdle at Ascot on Saturday sees a small but decent field head to post and Roksana for the inform Skelton team will take some serious beating.

Having been a shock winner of the Grade One Mares Hurdle in 2019 she has since placed in some nice events at Aintree and Cheltenham.

She went back to defend her crown at Cheltenham in March and could only finish fourth behind some star mares, but that form has since been franked.

Roksana made a credible seasonal debut for the yard when winning the Grade Two bet365 Hurdle at Wetherby in October and backed that up last time out with another big run.

She headed into the Grade One Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot over three miles and finished a smart third behind Paisley Park and Thyme Hill.

That event looks the strongest form heading into the race and if performing that standard should see off this field.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
10/04/21AIN24.5GS11-02
16/03/21CHL20Sft11-53
23/01/21ASC23.5Sft11-61
19/12/20ASC24.5Hy11-03
31/10/20WET24Sft10-71
Ascot - January 23 2021
Ascot 13:15
1
Jonjo O'Neill Jr

Magic Of Light

J:
 
Jonjo O'Neill Jr
T:
 
Mrs John Harrington
Age: 10
Weight: 11-6
OR: 149
Days: 38

Magic Of Light is the main threat to the favourite Roksana, but would need a recent career best to go close now being a veteran at 10 years old.

The mare has been a terrific yard stick for Jessica Harrington winning good races over both hurdles and fences during her career.

The Ann & Alan Potts owned mare is looking to land this race for the third straight year having been a comfortable winner of the race for the last two seasons.

She started her season off at Punchestown in November over hurdles in a hot Listed Mares event where she could only finish fourth of five runners.

She was stepped up to fences next time out when winning a three runner race by eight lengths at Newbury in Listed company.

She loves racing at Ascot which is a huge positive, but it seems she has not bumped into a horse like Roksana for a while and it could stop her in the hat-trick bid.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
30/04/21PUN21Y11-10PU
10/04/21AIN34.5GS10-13UR
19/03/21CHL20.5GS11-28
23/01/21ASC23.5Sft11-62
16/12/20NBY23.5Sft11-21
Ascot - January 23 2021
Ascot 13:15
4
Harry Cobden

Eglantine Du Seuil

J:
 
Harry Cobden
T:
 
Paul Nicholls
Age: 7
Weight: 11-0
OR: 146
Days: 42

Eglantine Du Seuil has been a tough horse to train for both Willie Mullins and now Paul Nicholls but showed signs of a resurgence last time out and that warrants her respect in this field.

The seven year olds best day in her career was when she won the Grade Two Mares' Novices' Hurdle at the 2019 Cheltenham festival.

However, since then it has not been plain sailing with her being without a win in her last nine races and finding it hard in weaker company than she is used to.

Having moved to Nicholls this season, she has raced three times, finishing fifth on debut at Wincanton in a mares handicap hurdle and then stepped up to Listed company and was another poor eighth of 10 runners.

last time out she sparked a bit of rejuvenation when second over 2m4f at Cheltenham in a good Mares' handicap hurdle and getting 6lb off the top two in the market could make her the each way angle.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
14/04/22CHL20.5Gd11-52
06/11/21WCN21.5Gd11-55
17/09/21NAB26Gd11-53
31/08/21NAB21GF11-81
19/08/21STR21Gd10-132
Ascot - January 23 2021
Ascot 13:15
3
Kielan Woods

Coded Message

J:
 
Kielan Woods
T:
 
Ben Case
Age: 8
Weight: 11-0
OR: 131
Days: 27

Coded Message for Ben Case is one of the outsiders heading to post with the mare lacking serious form and being sent into a Grade Two event looks like the last thing she needs.

Having some average hurdles form last term, her trainer sent her chasing at the start of the season and very much like her hurdles career she was less than impressive.

She was sent back over the lesser obstacles last time out looking for a confidence booster and she finished a decent third at Kempton over Christmas behind some smart mares.

However, that came in a handicap hurdle and the step up this company makes her opposable.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
27/12/21KEM24.5Sft10-103
20/11/21ASC23.5Gd11-14
16/04/21AYR24.5Gd11-25
21/03/21CHP19.5GS11-123
17/02/21HER25.5Sft11-115
Ascot - January 23 2021
Ascot 13:15
5
Sean Bowen

Midnight Tune

J:
 
Sean Bowen
T:
 
Anthony Honeyball
Age: 10
Weight: 11-0
OR: 133
Days: 2

The big outsider is the Anthony Honeyball trained Midnight Tune who like Coded Message seems to be making up the numbers in this event.

The 10 year old will be having her first start over hurdles since 2018 having been running over fences since then and in her four runs in 2020 over the bigger obstacles she only completed once.

She was pulled up on three occasions only showing some form when landing a four runner event at Warwick in heavy ground.

This return to hurdles could spark a better run, but it would be a massive surprise to see her go close in this.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
21/02/21UTT20Hy10-121
21/01/21WCN26.5Hy11-06
21/11/20HAY28.5Hy11-12PU
14/03/20UTT24Hy11-7PU
21/02/20WAR24Hy11-111

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