We were out of luck at Cheltenham last weekend but we are looking to bounce back. There is a very good card of action scheduled to go ahead at Ascot on Saturday and the last four races will be broadcast live on ITV4. The Long walk Hurdle is undoubtedly the highlight and with conditions set to be testing it will take a tough customer to win it. TXODDS’ resident racing analyst Dave Stevos has studied the card and you can check out his Ascot Saturday tips for all four live ITV4 races below…
Ascot Saturday Tips: 1.50-Handicap Chase (Class 2)
The opening live ITV4 race at Ascot this Saturday is a class 2 handicap chase. This 2m 3f contest has attracted a small but select field of 10 runners. Janika is currently dominating the market at 3/1. This three time heavy ground winner in France will have no issues with the rain that has arrived. If he is ready to go first time up he could be the one to beat.
However, his odds look a bit skinny and at a bigger price Rock On Rocky could run well for each way players. This fella shaped well on his return at Cheltenham and though he was below par last time, he could easily bounce back. His trainer is in great form, his last five runners producing form figures of U3232. Rock On Rocky will handle the ground, is 4lb below his last winning mark and was beaten a short head in this last year. At odds of 20/1 he is the each way selection.
ASCOT SATURDAY TIPS: ROCK ON ROCKY E/W @ 20/1 (1/4 ODDS 3 PLACES)
Ascot Saturday Tips: 2.30-JLT Long Walk Hurdle (Grade 1)
The biggest race of the weekend is the Long Walk Hurdle, a 3 mile Grade 1 contest. With heavy conditions looking likely, it will take a special horse to see out this demanding test. Unowhatimeanharry would be a popular winner but he would probably prefer better ground, as would Paisley Park. One horse that will have no complaints about the testing ground is Agrapart for Nick Williams and Lizzy Kelly.
In fact, this fella relishes it when the mud is flying as he showed when taking a Grade 2 Cheltenham in January. He made a perfectly satisfactory return to action over too short a trip and on ground plenty quick enough for him at Aintree last time (20f gd). The step back up in trip and return to heavy will suit, Nick Williams has been amongst the winners and at odds of 7/1 Agrapart is our each way NB bet of the day.
ASCOT SATURDAY TIPS: AGRAPART E/W @ 7/1 NB
Ascot Saturday Tips: 3.00-Listed Handicap Chase (Class 1)
The penultimate live ITV4 race from Ascot on Saturday is the Garrard Silver Cup, a 3 mile handicap chase with a purse of £100k. The one to be on here could be Otago Trail for Charlie Deutsch and Venetia Williams. She has decided to run him here instead of in the Welsh National. Ultimately, we think it could prove to be a wise decision. His form over this trip on soft ground is top class and he looks well handicapped off 154.
Otago Trail made a pleasing return from a long layoff at Newcastle where he looked the winner until tiring late on. He accounted for Bristol De Mai off 146 in November 2016 (23.5f sft) and won off 151 at Sandown on his penultimate start. He loves heavy ground and he proved he still retained ability last time. At odds of 9/1 Otago Trail is the TXODDS’ each way NAP of the day.
ASCOT SATURDAY TIPS: OTAGO TRAIL E/W @ 9/1 NAP
Ascot Saturday Tips: 3.35-Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3)
A very competitive 2 mile Grade 3 handicap hurdle closes the show at Ascot. At a very nice price Cyrus Darius could go well for Colin Tizzard and Barry Geraghty. This fella absolutely loves it when the mud is flying and he is 3/4 when getting heavy ground. His last victory came on heavy at Kelso back in February. He ran well for a long way on his first run for Colin Tizzard at Haydock last time (16f gd).
Cyrus Darius travelled into the race extremely well at Haydock. Unfortunately, when push came to shove in the closing stages there was nothing in the tank. He should strip fitter with that run under his belt and the handicapper dropped him a couple of pounds. Off a mark of 146 he is well capable of being competitive, especially on heavy ground. At odds of 16/1 Cyrus Darius could go well for each way players.
ASCOT SATURDAY TIPS: CYRUS DARIUS E/W @ 16/1 (6 PLACES)