Paul Ferguson has three selections for us on Saturday; Rocky Creek (2.05 Ascot); Two Rockers (3:25 Haydock); and Red Sherlock (5:00 Ascot). Compare odds and bet.
Ascot stages a cracking card this afternoon, with two really interesting novice hurdles and the feature Grade 1 Betfair Ascot Chase notable highlights. The returning Finian’s Rainbow and Cue Card need to bounce back to form in the big race, so the contest is best watched, while the 2m novice looks a cracker between River Magiue and juvenile Far West, who receives a handy 10lbs. This should prove an informative affair.
Earlier on the card Rocky Creek (2:05) is fancied to complete the hat-trick in the Grade 2 Reynoldstown Novices’ Chase for Paul Nicholls and Ruby Walsh.
A useful novice hurdler last term, the slow maturing type looked in need of the run on his chase bow at Exeter, though he was still able to get to within 1¼ lengths of Harry Topper, who has won both starts since.
Since then, the selection has beaten Molotof (a winner off 143 last Saturday) at Doncaster, before impressing at Warwick where he scored by 15 lengths. More is required this afternoon, but he looks very progressive and this has long been the target, after which he is expected to skip Cheltenham and wait for Aintree. He was available 6/5 with Betfred on Friday evening.
Rocky Creek is part owned by David Johnson and the owner has a sound chance of rounding off a big day with Red Sherlock (5:00) in the concluding bumper.
The son of Shirocco and high-class race mare Lady Cricket won by an impressive 23 lengths on his racecourse debut at Towcester at the end of last month, where he simply sauntered clear under a motionless Timmy Murphy.
It’s hard to know what he beat, but the runner-up joined Donald McCain for £40,000 after winning a point-to-point in December. He had earlier finished fourth to Hannibal The Great, who has since won a bumper for Charlie Longsdon, and third to Fox Run, who won on debut for Paul Nicholls. On a line through him, the form might not be bad.
The selection, who opened up at 4/5 with Bet365 last night, could hardly have created a deeper impression and he is taken to follow up at the main expense of course-and-distance winner Captain Cutter, who carries the JP McManus silks for the first time today.
Up at Haydock there are some really competitive handicaps on offer and even the Grade 2 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle is a warm event, despite just five going to post.
Emma Lavelle’s Shotgun Paddy is weighted to reverse form with Two Rockers (3:25) from their clash at Towcester in December, but Alan King’s runner was pretty green on his rules debut that day and is taken to confirm the form as he remains open to plenty of improvement.
The son of Milan returned to the Northamptonshire track later the same month and followed up in taking fashion, travelling well before readily scoring in heavy ground. He will probably appreciate better ground in time, but he has proven he handles the likely prevailing conditions and he looks a very promising youngster indeed.
Not entered in the Albert Bartlett at Cheltenham (is in the Neptune) it could be that he ends up being aimed at something like the Sefton at Aintree, but this is a good prize in itself to win and he can maintain his 100% record under Wayne Hutchinson. He was a best price 5/2 with Hills last night.
2:05 Ascot: Rocky Creek (6/5 Betfred)
3:25 Haydock: Two Rockers (5/2 Hills)
5:00 Ascot: Red Sherlock (4/5 Bet365)
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Last Year’s Book Results – Leading Prospects:
- SPRINTER SACRE – Unbeaten – winner at Aintree & Cheltenham
- SIMONSIG – Winner at Aintree & Cheltenham
- CINDERS AND ASHES – 10/1 winner of Supreme Novices Hurdle
- BOBS WORTH – 9/2 winner of the RSA Chase
- MENORAH & SILVINIACO CONTI – Both Aintree Winners
- SIR DES CHAMPS – Unbeaten inc 3/1 Jewson Cheltenham Winner
- FINGAL BAY – Won 4 times inc Challow Hurdle
- RAYA STAR – 10/3 winner at Wetherby, 12/1 Ladbroke Hurdle winner, 15/2 Scottish Champion Hurdle winner
- AMBION WOOD – 14/1 EBF Final Sandown winner
- CHAMPION COURT – 6/1 G2 Dipper Novices Chase winner
- PALACE JESTER – 14/1 winner at FFos Las
- SWINCOMBE FLAME – Hat-trick winner inc Lanzarote Hurdle at 9/2
- TEAFOR THREE – 5/1 NH Cheltenham Chase winner (Manifesto Novices’ Chase)