Who To Follow At Ascot On Saturday - 18/12/21

Ascot - December 18 2021
Ascot 14:25
Tom O'Brien

Thyme Hill

Tom O'Brien
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.

Trainer To Follow - Venetia Williams

Trainer Venetia Williams is in a rich vein of form at the minute and has some nice runners at Ascot on Saturday to add to her ever growing tally.

Her first big runner of the afternoon comes in the Graduation Chase with L'Homme Presse looking to make it back to back wins having scored nicely at Exeter last time out.

Another nice runner for the yard comes in the Listed Silver Handicap Chase with Belami Des Pictons weighted to strike and is the current market leader in the race.

Williams heads into the meeting sporting a strike rate of 19% for the last two weeks, managing to land six winners from her last 31 runners.

Jockey To Follow - Jonjo O'Neill Jnr

Jonjo O'Neill Jnr although still very young has really established himself as one of the most trustworthy jockeys in the weighing room.

On Saturday at Ascot he has a nice book of rides starting with Palmers Hill in the Class 2 Handicap Chase with the eight year old looking to be on a nice handicap mark.

In the Long Walk Hurdle he sits on the superstar of old Champ, who is certainly not without a chance and to round off the day he gets the mount of Cloth Cap in the Listed Silver Cup Handicap Chase.

James Mackie | @JMackieRacing