Ascot Saturday Preview - 20/02/21

Ascot - February 20 2021
Ascot 13:15
1
Harry Skelton

Midnight River

J:
 
Harry Skelton
T:
 
Dan Skelton
Age: 6
Weight: 11-8
OR: 137
Days: 35

The first race of the day at the Berkshire track sees a quality Novices' Hurdle over 2m3f and we are against the favourite Gallyhill, siding with Midnight River for the Skelton's instead.

The six year old has to be respected dropping back into novice hurdle having ran in better races this season and performing to a high standard.

Midnight River last term ran twice in bumpers and finished third in both his events, placing behind some nice types that left connections positive for his hurdles career.

Skelton sent him to Uttoxeter in October over 2m4f for his seasonal debut and he got off the mark in great fashion, with the first two being well clear of the rest of the field.

He was then upped to 2m5f at Cheltenham in a Novices' Hurdle and he was a good second behind the likeable Does He Know for Kim Bailey, who since went on to frank the form in a Grade Two.

Midnight River also franked the form of that race when winning two starts ago at Leicester and that event set him up perfectly for ta crack at the Grade Two Ballymore Leamington Hurdle at Warwick.

The gelding ran another cracker stepping up to the black type event, finishing a close fourth behind the likes of Adrimel and Mint Condition, who looks solid prospects.

That represents the best form in the race and could be value with a very expensive horse for Henderson sure to lead the market.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
08/11/21CRL20GS11-8F
09/04/21AIN24.5GS11-4F
20/02/21ASC19.5Sft11-81
16/01/21WAR21Hy11-04
29/11/20LEI20.5Sft11-41
Ascot - February 20 2021
Ascot 13:50
6
Jonathan Burke

Sevarano

J:
 
Jonathan Burke
T:
 
Oliver Sherwood
Age: 8
Weight: 11-0
OR: 147
Days: 53

The first black type event of the day is the Grade Two Reynoldstown Novices' Chase over three miles and the favourite Severano takes the eye.

The Oliver Sherwood trained eight year old was a smart hurdler earlier in his career and this term has converted that form over fences.

He looks a very sharp jumper over the larger obstacles, running three times over fences now and winning two of those events.

He made his seasonal debut at Sandown in November in a Limited Handicap Chase and was a narrow winner of the event, giving weight away to the field.

He then backed that up at Exeter over 2m3f in another Handicap Chase and on this day he was a run away 18 lengths winner, jumping the field into submission.

Last time out at Newbury he was stepped up in trip to 2m6f for the first time and although finishing fourth, still ran a credible race giving weight away to good horses.

He does have questions to answer over this trip but going off level weights with these horses is a big help and there should be more improvement from this gelding.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
29/12/20NBY22.5Sft11-84
04/12/20EXE19Sft11-121
08/11/20SAN20Gd11-81
14/03/20KEM21GS11-102
19/02/20DON19.5Sft11-132
Ascot - February 20 2021
Ascot 14:25
6
David Bass

Newtide

J:
 
David Bass
T:
 
Kim Bailey
Age: 8
Weight: 11-1
OR: 141
Days: 91

Another fine race over fences on Saturday sees the Limited Handicap Swinley Chase over three miles and in a field that offers huge value, we have gone for the double figured price of Newtide.

The Kim Bailey yard are in remarkable form of late having four winners from his last 10 runners over the last two weeks which sees him pose a 40% win rate.

The eight year old gelding ran four times over fences last term, winning his first three events in good style and then heading to the Cheltenham festival and falling short in the National Hunt Chase.

Having his first run since March he made his seasonal debut in a Handicap Chase at Haydock finishing a nice third over staying trip behind the smart Snow Leopardess.

He will definitely improve for that run and off a workable mark can outrun his odds.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
20/02/21ASC24Sft11-1P
21/11/20HAY25.5Sft11-123
10/03/20CHL30Sft11-66
01/02/20WET24Sft11-01
10/11/19FFO24Sft11-31
Ascot - February 20 2021
Ascot 15:00
8
Jonjo O'Neill Jr

Arrivederci

J:
 
Jonjo O'Neill Jr
T:
 
Jonjo O'Neill
Age: 6
Weight: 11-1
OR: 139
Days: 28

Back over the hurdles at Ascot and the Class 2 Handicap Hurdle over 2m3f sees a very competitive field of runners head to post.

Arrivederci for Jonjo O'Neill looks a class act that has promised so much this season and we believe he can finally fulfil his potential on Saturday.

In October the gelding made his seasonal debut at Wetherby and won a strong Handicap Hurdle with what looked to be an amount in hand.

A big player again in a similar event next time out at Haydock he unfortunately fell and that seemed to knock his confidence as he was a poor 11th of 17 at Ascot next time out.

However, he bounced back to form last time out over course and distance when a good second behind the well handicapped Craigneiche in a Grade Three event.

That is the leading form heading into the event and only going up 2lb for the run makes him a worthy favourite.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
20/02/21ASC19.5Sft11-13
23/01/21ASC19.5Sft11-22
19/12/20ASC15.5Hy11-20
21/11/20HAY19Sft11-5F
31/10/20WET19.5Sft11-101
Ascot - February 20 2021
Ascot 15:35
2
Harry Cobden

Cyrname

J:
 
Harry Cobden
T:
 
Paul Nicholls
Age: 9
Weight: 11-7
OR: 172
Days: 56

The feature race of the day on Saturday is the Grade One Ascot Chase and Cyrname is coming to regain his title having fell in the event last term.

The eight year old started last season perfectly by ending the mighty Altior's 19 race unbeaten run in the Grade Two 1965 Christy Chase which saw the Paul Nicholls' star raised to a new rating of 178 after his performance in a first-time Grade One field, which has only been bettered by seven horses since the turn of the century.

After that he was a disappointing second in the King George when not staying the trip and having fell when the strong favourite to land back to back renewals of this race last year, with Nicholls lucky to see him back for another season.

The Son of Nickname although falling would not have won the contest having dropped back through the small field near the finish and overall did not show the true Cyrname at his home track.

After the heavy fall, many punters were wondering how he would return this term, but on his seasonal bow he put all those questions to bed when winning the Grade Two Charlie Hall Chase in fine style.

However, it was one step forward and then two steps back as he headed into the King George VI Chase in December for the second year running with a live chance and again he underperformed.

He was pulled by Harry Cobden that day, but the rider must still believe he can get back to his star ability by siding with him in this race over stablemate Master Tommytucker and we think he is the class act in the field.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
20/02/21ASC21Sft11-7P
26/12/20KEM24GS11-10P
31/10/20WET24Sft11-61
15/02/20ASC21Sft11-7F
26/12/19KEM24Sft11-102
Ascot - February 20 2021
Ascot 16:10
11
Sam Twiston-Davies

Revels Hill

J:
 
Sam Twiston-Davies
T:
 
Harry Fry
Age: 6
Weight: 11-5
OR: 118
Days: 28

The final selections from us at Ascot come in the Class 3 Handicap Hurdle that sees 15 runners go to post and with that in mind we have got two each way selections.

The first is the Harry Fry trained Revels Hill, who is a six year old that will certainly stay the three mile trip and looks a very interesting runner on his handicap debut.

The gelding made his hurdles debut at Leicester in November and finished a tame sixth, using the experience to get used to the flights.

He was less than impressive again at Chepstow on his second start, but the penny finally dropped last time out when fourth of 10 in a strong Novice Hurdle event at Taunton.

He is a horse that is crying out for this step up in trip and it could be the making of him off a very lenient mark.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
30/10/21WET19.5GS11-114
11/04/21WAR21Gd11-51
20/02/21ASC23.5Sft11-5P
23/01/21TAU19Sft10-114
09/01/21CHP16Sft10-120
Ascot - February 20 2021
Ascot 16:10
13
Craig Nichol

Leostar

J:
 
Craig Nichol
T:
 
Alistair Whillans
Age: 7
Weight: 11-4
OR: 117
Days: 13

At an even bigger price is our second each way selection Leostar for trainer Alistair Whillians who is a soft ground specialist that like our other selection will last the trip.

The seven year old has been a consistent horse over hurdles during his career placing in four of his eight races and going on to win one of those races.

On his last two events he has been stepped up in trip and has taken to it well, finishing second two starts ago at Kelso and then again was a nice fourth last time out at Musselburgh over three miles.

That came in a smart Stayers Hurdle event finishing in behind Threeunderthrufive and Fantastikas who are smart horses and he could be a big each way player.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
18/04/21AYR21.5Gd10-72
27/03/21KEL21GS11-121
20/02/21ASC23.5Sft11-48
07/02/21MUS24Sft11-54
29/12/20KEL22.5Sft10-72

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