Ascot Saturday Preview - 18/02/23

James Mackie | @JMackieRacing

Ascot - February 18 2023
Ascot 13:20
Nico de Boinville


J: Nico de Boinville
T: Nicky Henderson
Age: 5
Weight: 11-10
OR: 132
Days: 71

The first race of the afternoon on Saturday at Ascot is the 2m 3 1/2f Novices' Hurdle and Attacca for Nicky Henderson is looking to put his name in the mix for the Ballymore.

Seen three times to date the five year old made his rules debut in a bumper at Warwick in March last year when a good second to a nice type for Jonjo O'Neill.

Sent hurdling this term he is unbeaten in his two runs showing a lot of determination at Kempton in November when battling to win by a length.

Sent to Cheltenham in December he saw off Betfair Hurdle sixth Master Chewy under a superb ride by Nico De Boinville to make it 2/2, showing good staying ability up the hill to make every yard of the running under a penalty.

Looking like he needs a step up in trip to bring more improvement he gets that chance in this event, getting his quicker ground and if improving again will be tough to beat.

Bigger fish to fry for this horse throughout his career.

Ascot - February 18 2023
Ascot 13:50
Nico de Boinville

Bold Endeavour

J: Nico de Boinville
T: Nicky Henderson
Age: 7
Weight: 11-2
OR: 145
Days: 39

The second race of the afternoon at Ascot is the Grade Two Reynoldstown Novices' Chase and with a disappointing four runners only going to post it has set the race up for Bold Endeavour.

Since joining Nicky Henderson this horse has been revitalised being seen twice to date since joining and the yard in December 2022, he got off the mark in a good fashion landing a 2m4f Handicap Chase at Leicester by 10 lengths on good to firm ground.

Upped 9lb for that victory he went to Doncaster in January this year and made it 2/2 in another Handicap Chase, this time bolting up by seven lengths.

Sent into a Grade Two now against handicappers he looks to have been placed perfectly and getting his drying ground again he should take another step forward.

Ascot - February 18 2023
Ascot 14:25
Miss Lucy Turner


J: Miss Lucy Turner
T: Venetia Williams
Age: 8
Weight: 11-2
OR: 135
Days: 14

Next up is the Masters Handicap Chase over three miles and we are siding with the Venetia Williams trained Laskalin who is very consistent in these races.

He won on seasonal reappearance after a 286-day break at Ludlow over 3m2f beating Tide Turns by 3 lengths. That horse has since gone on to win next time out so going off that form, it looks strong.

Next time out saw him finish third when well fancied to make it 2/2, but things did not go quite to plan as he did not find much in the final few strides when two out.

Ground conditions may have played a part that day running on soft ground and that was a further 2f at Newbury but back at Sandown last time out he was back to his best when a narrow second to Castle Robin back at three miles.

Only up 2lb for that run he runs off 135, getting his ideal conditions again and at 6/1 should go close again.

Ascot - February 18 2023
Ascot 15:00
Harry Cobden

Irish Hill

J: Harry Cobden
T: Paul Nicholls
Age: 5
Weight: 10-13
OR: 128
Days: 48

The valuable 2m 3 1/2f Handicap Hurdle comes next from Ascot and Irish Hill for Paul Nicholls looks set for a big run off his current handicap mark of 128.

Still a five year old this gelding has been a very consistent performer for the Ditcheat yard getting off the mark for the first time for the yard in April last year at Chepstow in a Handicap Hurdle off 112.

Sent to Warwick in May he was a good second off 4lb higher and then off the same mark in November at Fontwell settled for second again when a head second to the talented Quinta Do Mar.

Back to winning ways at Taunton in November when seeing off Itso Fury by four lengths, he then backed that up at Fakenham on New Year's Day when comfortably progressing again off 122 to win easily.

Up a further 6lbs he's going to right way and getting goodish ground again he should go close.

Ascot - February 18 2023
Ascot 15:35
Nico de Boinville


J: Nico de Boinville
T: Nicky Henderson
Age: 9
Weight: 11-10
OR: 174
Days: 77

The feature race of the afternoon on Saturday is the Grade One Ascot Chase over 2m5f and we are giving a final chance to the superstar Shishkin.

His win in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle at the 2020 Cheltenham festival was one of his most noticeable victories as a novice hurdler, finding plenty up the hill to narrowly see off Abacadabras.

On his first start over fences in November 2021 he showed the racing world just how good he is by pinging every fence and showing a startling turn of foot.

On his second start over fences he kept his outstanding unbeaten run going with another faultless round of jumping in the Grade Two Wayward Lad Novices' Chase at Kempton over Christmas, seeing off Tamaroc Du Mathan by 13 lengths.

Henderson's superstar next time out took his unbeaten record to three races over fences at Doncaster landing the Grade Two Lightning Novices' Chase.

He was then sent to the Cheltenham festival where he landed the Grade One Arkle Challenge Trophy with ease and to round the season off he went to Aintree where he again landed a Grade One contest in workmanlike fashion.

Having not been right for his seasonal debut in the Tingle Creek, he was rerouted to the Grade Two Desert Orchid Chase over Christmas and on his first start in open company he saw off the Tingle Creek winner by 10 lengths.

Shishkin was then seen against rival Energumene in the Grade One Clarence House Chase in what was the race of the season.

Losing his unbeaten record when next seen in the Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham festival being pulled up, it was first said to be down to the ground.

However, after certain scans it has been revealed that he has a rare bone condition and although "mendable" he missed the rest of the season.

Back this term and making his debut in the Tingle Creek he did not look right again, jumping purely and never really travelling, but he did stay on well into third behind Edwardstone and Greaneteen.

Another problem was found where they believe he flipped his palate and they now believe to have him back to where he should be.

Henderson has been adamant about him needing the step up in trip and although he has it to prove if it brings him back to his form of old, he is the one to be on at the prices, but it is a bit chancey.

Ascot - February 18 2023
Ascot 16:10
Tom O'Brien

Thomas Mor

J: Tom O'Brien
T: David Pipe
Age: 6
Weight: 12-0
OR: 125
Days: 49

The penultimate event of the afternoon is the 2m 7 1/2 Handicap Hurdle and we are giving a second chance to Thomas Mor for David Pipe.

Sent hurdling this term having been frequently raced in the point to point sphere, he made a pleasing rules debut at Worcester in October when landing a 2m7f Maiden by four lengths on good ground.

Making it back to back win in November at Wincanton under a penalty he saw off Twin Power for the McNeill family by 57 lengths, showing the field a clean pair of heels and the second has since gone onto win.

Looking for a hat-trick in the Grade One Challow Novices' Hurdle at Newbury he was pulled up on extremely soft ground behind runaway winner Hermes Allen.

He was pulled up two out when beat but he is a good ground horse that hates conditions that day.

The Challow has worked out extremely well with the second, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh all coming out and winning since and back on better ground he can resume his progress now handicapping off 125.

Ascot - February 18 2023
Ascot 16:45
Nico de Boinville

Between Waters

J: Nico de Boinville
T: Nicky Henderson
Age: 5
Weight: 11-2

The final event of the afternoon is the Category 1 mares bumper where the highly touted Between Waters makes her rules debut.

Bought for £45,000 by Doreen Tabor having bolted up by eight lengths in a PTP at Lisronagh, she is well bred daughter of Walk In The Park who looks to have a big future.

One to watch.