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|Nassalam||4/1||each-way (3 places)
|Whatsupwithyou||11/1||each-way (3 places)
|Eskylane||6/1||each-way (4 places)
Down Rotal 14.15
Date of Tips: 29/10/2021
Disclaimer The odds for these selections were correct at the time of publishing (15:05 29/10/2021) but may have changed since. Please check the latest price before placing your bet.
It’s a big weekend – the likes of Cyrname, Envoi Allen, Minella Indo, Frodon and Paisley Park would all be a headline act on any stage, but they have to share the limelight with each other for this particular performance.
It’s also a big weekend for the ante-post section of this column, as both big priced each-way long-range picks for the King George VI Chase 2021 run – Shan Blue in the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby on Saturday, and Espoir De Romay in the Colin Parker Memorial Chase at Carlisle on Sunday.
Needless to say, it would be great to see big runs from both, and both could advance their Christmas claims even in defeat.
Saturday’s fare consists of some high-quality graded races, which make little appeal from a betting perspective. While big field handicaps at Ascot, Wetherby and Down Royal will be the staple of many a punter on Saturday.
For the most part, I have found it hard to gauge generally, except for the Ascot Underwriting Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase that opens the card at Ascot at 1.35 on Saturday.
On this day last year, Anthony Honeyball had a memorable treble, of which Kid Commando was one horse who was triumphant, and it has no doubt been a plan to get him back here for his chase debut.
But despite the stable having a couple of winners at the start of the week, over the last few days a few fancied horses reappearing for the season have been slightly below par.
While Solo is a horse who has always been priced up on reputation on account of his striking UK debut for Paul Nicholls. He could easily make strides now chasing, but at the prices he’s passed over too. As is Sam Barton, who is going to be a lovely 3m chaser, but will this be too sharp on his seasonal and chase debut? I’d say so.
Consequently, the main pick in the race is the Gary Moore-trained four-year-old Nassalam, who can make good use of the four-year-old weight allowance, given he is strongly built and was a very striking juvenile hurdler last season.
At 4/1 with Betfred, who offer 3 places in this 7-runner field, he looks exactly the right type of horse to be suited by the test presented at Ascot’s chase track.
One senses it is quite an important day for the Moore stable, as they have a few chances across the card at Ascot, and most notably the impressive Kempton Park hurdle winner Shallwehaveonemore. Hopefully they can start it in the best possible fashion with Nassalam winning at 4/1 with Betfred.
Making use of the Betfred concession again, it is also worth backing the Ben Pauling-trained chasing debutant Whatsupwithyou, who is 11/1 each-way with Betfred.
Given he was a ready winner of an Ascot novice hurdle on his first start two seasons ago, and more than once caught the eye in big handicaps at Cheltenham last season – including being still on the bridle with the extraordinarily well-handicapped pair of Galopin Des Champs and Langer Dan, in the Martin Pipe at the Festival – Whatsupwithyou has probably had this race pencilled in as his seasonal starting point for a while.
At 11/1 each-way with Betfred, he is a great price to make a winning chase debut at a track he enjoys.
Having wanted to go up early with the picks in the Ascot race, this has unfortunately meant that the other selection on Saturday is only currently priced up with one firm, William Hill.
But I am going to suggest backing Eskylane at 6/1 each-way with William Hill nonetheless, for the Dr Emma Clinics Handicap Hurdle at 2.15 at Down Royal on Saturday.
Obviously, it may be worth keeping the powder dry and trying to get a better price as more firms go up, but I’d say you may be hard pushed to obtain greater than 6/1.
Gordon Elliott always targets this meeting, and having had multiple winners on Friday, Eskylane can notch up another one, having caught they eye in his seasonal bow at Listowel. He is a horse who will take higher order this season for sure, as he fills his frame, and could be a lovely chaser. But for now, this valuable prize is there to be shot at.