PUNCHESTOWNS (1.30) has been found the ideal launchpad to his second season over fences in the Commercial First Partnership Graduation Chase at Ascot on Saturday.
After bolting up at Newbury last November, Nicky Henderson’s young star then made short work of Tchico Polos at Sandown in his Cheltenham Festival prep race. Punchestowns was all the rage for the RSA Chase but dropped away tamely when the chips were down. That was a very rare glitch and the seven-year-old can regain the winning thread.
Paul Nicholls has a huge weekend following and TITO BUSTILLO (2.35) should go close in the highly competitive Ladbroke Handicap Hurdle. Although only a five-year-old, the French-bred has accumulated plenty of experience and is weighted to overturn Wincanton form with Nearby.
At Lingfield, THE WONGA COUP (12.50) can step up on two placed course efforts. My selection failed by only a head to contain Buona Sarah three weeks ago and an earlier close third behind William’s Well over 12 furlongs puts him bang in the picture.
KISS A PRINCE (2.30) is on a hat-trick since being stepped up in trip and his latest 4lb rise in the ratings is not excessive.
There is an extra meeting at Southwell where LAY CLAIM (1.00) can make light of a 6lb penalty for his recent easy course victory. At bigger odds, ACE OF SPIES (3.15) could reward an each-way investment now returned to six furlongs.