Ascot Sunday Preview - 27/03/22

James Mackie | @JMackieRacing

Ascot - March 27 2022
Ascot 12:00
Niall Houlihan

Fifty Ball

J: Niall Houlihan
T: Gary Moore
Age: 7
Weight: 11-7
OR: 127
Days: 19

The first event of the afternoon at Ascot is the Class 3 Handicap Hurdle and the value for us in the field looks to be Fifty Ball for the Gary Moore team.

The seven year old gelding has been a very smart hurdler for the yard over the years, Finishing a good second in the 2021 Betfair Hurdle, whilst also winning some decent handicap events at Ascot and Sandown over the years.

This season he has found things slightly difficult, not taking to fences and when returning to hurdles, running no race in this Betfair Hurdle.

However, he showed signs of a revival last time out when second at Sandown over 2m4f to the smart West Of The Bridge in a similar handicap event.

He runs off the same mark for this event and with handy 3lb claimer Niall Houlihan taking that weight off, he could feature prominently.

Ascot - March 27 2022
Ascot 13:10
Harry Cobden

Thyme White

J: Harry Cobden
T: Paul Nicholls
Age: 6
Weight: 11-12
OR: 142
Days: 88

One of our best bets on the Ascot card on Sunday comes in the Class 2 Handicap Chase over 2m 1/2f with Thyme White for Paul Nicholls set to run and have a big chance in the Grand Annual at the Cheltenham festival, but was taken out and now runs in this lowly race.

The six year old is top weight in this event, but he looks to be a better horse than his mark of 142 represents at the moment.

A smart hurdler at the start of his career taking the Scottish Triumph Hurdle and also winning on the opening day of the season at Chepstow but after that he slightly went backwards.

Moved over fences this term, they have revived his career, finishing a good second on chase debut behind the talented Amarillo Sky, he then came to Ascot over the same course and distance and unseated his rider early on in the race.

None the worse for that mishap, he went on to score over fences for the first time when last seen at Doncaster in emphatic fashion.

Saving his mark for Cheltenham he was pulled out on the day of the Grand Annual and instead comes here, where he looks to have the race at his mercy.

Ascot - March 27 2022
Ascot 13:45
L P Dempsey

Vera Verto

J: L P Dempsey
T: Gavin Cromwell
Age: 4
Weight: 11-10
OR: 119
Days: 22

One of the most interesting races of the afternoon comes in the two miles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle and Vera Verto for Irish trainer Gavin Cromwell is one of his only runners of the day at the track.

This filly had been knocking on the door in decent events over hurdles this term since coming from the flat, having form that ties in with the smart Icare Allen, HMS Seahorse and The Tide Turns.

She got off the mark last time out in impressive style at Navan over two miles when beating Douglas DC by a neck and now sent handicapping could be dangerous off 119.

Always worth taking notice of the Irish raiders coming over meetings such as this.

Ascot - March 27 2022
Ascot 14:20
Nico de Boinville

Bothwell Bridge

J: Nico de Boinville
T: Nicky Henderson
Age: 7
Weight: 11-10
OR: 135
Days: 35

The penultimate selection of the afternoon at Ascot comes in the Class Handicap Chase over 2m5f and Bothwell Bridge although needing to brush up on his jumping, is the classiest horse in the race.

The six year old was a smart bumper horse at the start of 2020, Finishing second on both his runs behind the likes of Third Time Lucki and Boothill.

In November last year he stepped up for his hurdles debut and looked a natural winning a 2m3f event at Warwick by a wide margin.

He then went to Newbury and had to settle for third behind the superstar Bravemansgame, but got back to winning ways at Hereford, stepping up to 3m1f and taking the contest by 39 lengths.

Looking to mix it in Grade One company he went to Aintree in the Sefton Novices' Hurdle, but was unfortunately pulled up running no race.

Sent chasing this term he made a very impressive debut at Sandown, staying on extremely well to land a Limited Handicap Chase.

He has since been pitched against better company and unfortunately has fell and was pulled up last time out in soft ground.

Getting better ground on Saturday (which he needs), he could get back on track.

Ascot - March 27 2022
Ascot 14:55
Harry Cobden

Elegant Escape

J: Harry Cobden
T: Colin Tizzard
Age: 10
Weight: 11-10
OR: 140
Days: 10

The final selection of the day comes in the Veteran's Handicap Chase over three miles and we can't get away from the 11 year old Elegant Escape.

His recent form is nothing to shout about what so ever but now creeping into veteran races off a lowly mark of 140, having won a Welsh Grand National off 151 and also placed in a Ladbrokes Trophy off 160, his handicap mark now looks massively attractive if being able to get back to his best.

Harry Cobden is in the saddle and being a course and distance winner in the past he will enjoy the drying conditions and the track.