Scope of value: Steve Jones’ best horse racing tips for Ascot Saturday
Our expert Steve Jones has a keen eye for a quartet of whimsy every way at Ascot’s big pre-Christmas card, which is live on ITV4 on Saturday afternoons.
The return of the Mack should make us dance after the Betfair Exchange Trophy.
There’s no way MACK THE MAN (3.35) will be the underdog of the peloton for Ascot’s big handicap hurdle before Christmas.
Evan Williams’ prospect seemed a crisp prospect a few years ago when he beat Protektorat and Song For Someone in Sandown.
He could very well have won Newbury’s competitive Betfair Hurdle if he hadn’t been knocked out in the end and a passage through the fences hadn’t worked out for him last season.
A winning return to Exeter last month – when he traveled superbly well – should have prepared him for this contest and he tends to do his best runs in the hottest contests. Have 2 points each way at 33-1 with many bookmakers paying in five places.
The Ascot card opens with a handicap of 16 novice runners and I expect GAULOIS (12.40) to take a big step forward now that he is tackling 3m.
I was impressed with his jump when he finished third over 2m4f at Chepstow on his debut for Paul Nicholls after showing ability for Shark Hanlon in Ireland.
He just didn’t have the pace to trouble easy winner Jetoile, but I’ll be amazed if he’s not treated well on his handicap debut now that he’s trying a more appropriate distance. Have 2 points each way at 9-1.
Dorset coach Anthony Honeyball is starting to touch a rich vein and his SULLY D’OC AA (1.50) should be happy with the return to Ascot.
He beat smart publisher Du Gite on this course and distance last season and he ran another sonic race on this track as he placed third behind the progressive Before Midnight last month.
The race probably came too early for him a week later when he disappointed at Newbury and has had a nice break since. Have 1 pt each way at 8-1 with Betfair and William Hill paying in four spots.
PHOENIX WAY (3.00) is the riskiest of my quartet of fantasies, but it’s worth a try as it has the ability to take this area apart.
He won over 3m over hurdles a few years ago and has stayed much shorter distances since moving to the fences.
His fourth behind Protektorat in a rookie chase at Aintree last season shows just how classy he is and the longer trip will help him jump. Have 1 pt each way at 11-1 with Sky Bet in five places.