Ascot Saturday Preview - 16/02/2019

12:30 - Deise Aba

The opening race from a bumper afternoon from Ascot is the Thames Materials Novice Hurdle over two-and-a-half miles and Deise Aba can extend his unbeaten run to three contests.

A winner on his sole start in France for Kieran Purcell, this 6yo gelded son of Mahler won on his British debut for Philip Hobbs at Chepstow, and portrayed plenty of raw ability.

He got the better of now top mare Queenohearts - who can frank the form at Sandown on Friday afternoon.

Could be Trevor Hemmings next upcoming thing, and now looks to apply his trade against top proven novices.

13:00 - Brio Conti

Next up looks an intriguing Ascot Supports Berkshire Community Foundation Handicap Hurdle over the same distance as the first contest, and Brio Conti will look to bounce back from his return run a couple of weeks ago at Sandown.

That appearance was the grey's first sighting in over a year, and his whereabouts has been somewhat of an unknown.

Progressed smartly as a hurdler before rounding things off when fifth in the 2017 Grade One Mersey Novices behind Finians Oscar, and only made one subsequent start in a steeplechase, which was a win at Carlisle.

Back in the frame now.

13:35 - Mister Malarky

Mister Malarky can roll onto the next level in the first graded race of the afternoon - the Grade Two Sodexo Reynoldstown Novices' Chase.

Two wins from three since stepped up to fences, and was prolific last time out at Newbury.

He looked to have conquered the form of that smart Christmas Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day won by Glen Rocco, as the 6yo cruised to a simple success over Carlos Du Fruitier who finished third in that contest - and like the Mick Channon-trained 7yo, he runs at Sandown on Friday.

Won at Plumpton earlier this season too on his chasing bow, and very much a contender here stepping up in grade.

14:10 - Black Corton

Black Corton - remember him?

Last season's Kauto Star Novices Chase winner now sticks with Listed Company for the Keltbray Swinley Chase just shy of three miles.

Three efforts this term - two of which saw him finish as the runner-up in hot contested prizes. Beginning the season with a good second in the Charlie Hall - given the fact he almost departed mid race, before like many, were pulled up in the Ladbrokes Trophy.

He battled on gamely in Listed company at his beloved Kempton, when snatching second on the line, and should definitely be a key player in the race's outcome.

14:45 - Clan Des Obeaux

With Native River out, Clan Des Obeaux looks to have a golden opportunity on his hands to promote his claims for next month's Magners Gold Cup at the Cheltenham Festival in the rearranged Denman Chase.

Winner of the King George at Kempton, he appears to be the leading chance out of two for Paul Nicholls [Frodon]- who reported on Sky Sports Racing on Tuesday afternoon that both horses are in fine order - and more significantly do not require flu jabs resulting in them being able to race.

The King George form is always going to be strong, with Nicholls suggesting that the 7yo has come on leaps and bounds since racing at Haydock in the Betfair - which was very much a learning curve.

Poses good speed and has plenty of years ahead of him.

15:20 - Getaway Trump

Getaway Trump remains ahead of the handicapper, after his excellent second in the Challow behind Champ at Newbury, and now looks a leading contender for the rearranged Grade Three Betfair Hurdle.

Will hope for a good gallop - which there always is in the Betfair, and now drops back in trip to two miles where he enjoyed success at Exeter back in December.

Looks a big danger, and can enhance his claims for the novice events at Cheltenham next month with a quality performance here.

Trainer has had a good record in this, with a winner and a runner-up in the past seven years and looks to have another promising young prospect.

15:55 - Waiting Patiently

Ruth Jefferson opted to skip the Dublin Racing Festival with Waiting Patiently, who will now bids for back-to-back Ascot Chases as the graded action continues.

His victory in this last season over old fan-favourite Cue Card extended his unbeaten run over fences to seven, before coming to grief in the King George nearly two months ago - when being brought down as a result of Bristol De Mai's early departure.

Officially unbeaten chasing when standing up to his fences, he looks a leading contender at next month's Festival; with his trainer Jefferson already confirming his future date to be in the Ryanair and NOT the Gold Cup.

Can do his claims no harm here and is one of the young rising stars in the division.

16:30 - The Way You Dance

As the top-class action calms down, there are still two more top races to enjoy from Ascot; firstly the Best Racing On Racing TV Handicap Hurdle over three miles.

Has not raced over hurdles for Neil Mulholland since November 2017, and has since been campaigned on the flat - where he has won a couple of races at both Kempton and Lingfield.

Hurdles form of old is strong, particularly at this level, and trainer clear has spotted a race deemed perfect for him.

Very well treated and looks well handicapped in this field.

17:00 - Lunar Baby

A busy day in Berkshire concludes with the British EBF Mares' Standard Open NH Flat Race, and Lunar Baby looks a name to keep an eye on in the future, after her successful debut at Warwick in November.

Short break since and ready to fire again, she is the first foal out of Fiddlededee from Fame And Glory, and is related to many winners over the minimum distance.

Interesting to see if she can prove that was no fluke, with a couple of these proven after a couple of attempts.