Ascot Saturday Preview - 15/02/20

13:15 - Sporting John

The strong Ascot card starts off with a decent Novices Hurdle that sees two superb athletes at the top of the market and the one we are siding with is the Philip Hobbs trained Sporting John.

This five year old has been completely faultless during his career landing a decent point to point over in Ireland and from that was bought by JP McManus.

This season he was sent hurdling and on his debut at Exeter he went on to score in great fashion with the form being massively franked from that race with the second place going on to win a Grade Two and third, fourth and fifth also going on to win since.

He has been lightly campaigned this season and has only ran once more, which came at Exeter again where he bolted up in a Novices Hurdle and from the way he has shaped he looks a highly exciting animal.

13:50 - Pym

Another classy race on the card is the Grade Two Reynoldstown Novices Chase and Nicky Henderson is represented by the exciting Pym.

This seven year old jumped on the racing scene with big expectations going in the same silks as the mighty Altior but in bumpers and in his hurdles career he never quite got to grips with the task at hand.

However, he was always said to be bought as a chaser and he has turned into the horse they thought he would be running three times and having figures of 211.

On his second start of the season he landed a decent Novices Chase over course and distance of this race at Ascot and then backed that up with an even better performance at Cheltenham.

His jumping and staying ability will be put to the test again but for how well he has done this season you can only think more progressing is coming.

14:25 - Red Indian

The Keltbay Swinley Chase is another cracker on the card with this Listed field of runners all having ability over three miles ao far in their careers.

Trainer Kelly Morgan fields the interesting Red Indian who could throw down a bold challenge at a fair price if getting near his novice form of last season.

He has only ran once this season finishing fifth in the Peter Marsh Chase at Haydock and now on a very nice should enter the frame with improvement.

15:00 - Eden Du Houx & Distingo 20/1

The Give The Gift Of Ascot Annual Membership Handicap Hurdle over two mile and three furlongs looks a hot test and our selection is Eden Du Houx for trainer David Pipe.

The six year old has had a smart career for this successful trainer winning his point to point which saw him get the move to Pipe and after that he landed both his bumpers in fine style.

This season he has been sent hurdling and the gelding compared to his bumper life has found it tough, finishing second on his seasonal debut behind a smart horse for Olly Murphy.

He was then sent to jumps racing HQ where he was easily beaten in a five runner Grade Two contest but last time out he got back to winning ways when landing a strongly ran novices hurdle.

This confident booster at the end of January is a perfect prep run ahead of this Handicap Hurdle with the soft conditions playing to his strengths.

With such a big field we have another selection at a much bigger price and Distingo for Gary Moore could cause an upset if handling the step up in trip.

15:35 - Cyrname

The stand out runner of the weekend is the highest rated jumps horse in the land with Cyrname looking to land back to back Ascot Chases.

The Paul Nicholls trained eight year old has been a superstar for the yard over the last 12 months landing this Grade One last year before dethroning Altior on his first start of the season.

After he romped to a 17 length victory in this contest last season he was posed as the highest rated horse in the sport which to many was baffling.

However, in November Cyrname took on Altior in the clash of the season and he managed to end Nicky Henderson's 19 race winning run in the 1965 Christy Chase.

After that Cyrname was set up as the King George VI Chase favourite at Kempton on Boxing Day but he was out battled by his stablemate and dual winner of the race Clan Des Obeaux.

Ascot to this horse is like Anfield to Liverpool, he is just at home and does his best work there and in a fair renewal of the contest he should prevail again.

16:10 - Silent Assistant

The penultimate runner of the afternoon at Ascot comes in the Class 3 Handicap Hurdle over three miles and the Emma Lavelle trained Silent Assistant looks like one to watch.

The six year old holds plenty of scope to improve in these sort of events and after a nice fourth on bis seasonal debut he should push on in this event.

The extra trip in this contest will help massively with him doing his best work near the back end of the race at Ludlow.

16:45 - Sabrina

We finish with a smart Mares bumper and the Paul Nicholls trainer Sabrina looks the stand out proposition in this two mile event.

The five year old is very nicely bred being related to the four time Ascot Gold Cup winner Yeats and also related to another very smart bumper horse.

She has only had one outing for the yard after being bought for €52,000 and finished second in a fair bumper at Taunton and she will have improved for that on Saturday.