The first race of the day is the GL Events UK Novices' Hurdle, and Pym - sporting the colours of Champion Chaser and stable companion Altior, can back up his impressive debut over hurdles with a win in Berkshire. Having virtually made all in the National Hunt Novices Hurdle at Chepstow mid-October, he stayed on gamely on the flat with something in hand, and looks a smart prospect. Altior began his hurdling career at Chepstow, and if Pym is half as good, then he will make some hurdler, let-alone chaser in the foreseeable future. He also has the most experience in the field and will seek to put that to good use.
Ascot Saturday Preview - 03/11/2018
12:40 - Pym
1:15 - Atomic Rumble
Atomic Rumble arrives for the Gardiner & Theobald Novices' Handicap Hurdle in fine form, and is looking to complete a hat-trick for messers Peter and Sean Bowen. Has been off the track since June, when he scored readily at Aintree over this distance, but he is sticking in a Class 4, and should surely prove to be too good. Yard need a big boost, with only one winner in the last two weeks, and have a great chance here.
1:50 - Wenyerreadyfreddie
The third race at Ascot is the Ascot Underwriting Chase, and Wenyerreadyfreddie could provide Nicky Henderson and Jeremiah McGrath with a quick-fire double, should Pym take the open. Wenyerreadyfreddie has been unlucky of late, when finding one too good in both his previous outings - at Uttoxeter and at Aintree. The defeat at Uttoxeter last time came against Lil Rockerfeller, who has sinced proved his class in a valuable chase at Cheltenham last week. All the form bodes well for a victory here.
2:25 - Shantou Rock
Shantou Rock won first time out last season, and this year he starts his season in the Byrne Group Handicap Chase, a listed contest over the extended two miles. He looked a very smart front-running novice last season, when being beaten by big names such as Cyrname and Sceau Royal in some beneficial hurdle races. He begins his career over the larger fences on the royal track, and holds strong claims for the Skelton's - who notched up 100 for the season last week.
3:00 - Caius Marcius
Next up, is the Bet With Ascot Handicap Hurdle, another listed event, this time just shy of two miles, and Caius Marcius is the selection here. He is another who arrives here bidding for the hat-trick, having won impressively at Market Rasen and Perth in the last couple of months. Having opened up at 10/1, he is already being heavily backed, and could provide Nicky Richards with a rare early-season winner.
3:35 - Traffic Fluide
The feature race of the day, is the Grade 3 Sodexo Gold Cup Handicap Chase, and Traffic Fluide - who has done no wrong for the Moore's and the Galloping On The South Downs Partnership in recent years, can land this valuable asset. He was second in a useful near 3m Chepstow handicap last month, and should provide more with only an extra 2lb on his back. Will be a close one with Go Conquer, who won this race impressively twelve months ago.
4:05 - Manning Estate
The final race of the day is the Maria O'Grady Memorial Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race, and Manning Estate can build on his impressive second on debut. He was runner-up to the Martin Keighley-trainer Lord Condi at Fontwell back in May, and was only just held. Could be a future star for Oliver Sherwood, who is missing a certain flagbearer.