12:30 Taunton – Tile Tapper (win)
As far as Taunton’s Novice Hurdle’s go, this is a very hot race for the grade with three horses faming from top stables all holding unbeaten records. It’s the Chris Honour-trained Tile Tapper who I think will come out on top. He’s a good horse in the making and ran a creditable race to finish third in the Grade 1 Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown at the beginning on the month. As he doesn’t carry a penalty, he gets weight from his rivals and he should just be too good.
It’s also worth nothing that the same stable are running Mayhem Mya (16.30 Taunton) in the bumper. She was incredibly well-backed when she made a successful debut at Warwick, where she absolutely bolted up too. Market support again should also be noted.
12:40 Ascot – Tritonic (win)
The Juvenile Hurdle division hasn’t really taken off this side of the Irish Sea. The antepost market for the Triumph Hurdle is Irish-heavy, but that could have a shake up following this race.
This is a really exciting contest with plenty of classy recruits from the flat embarking on their new jurisdiction over hurdles, but none are as classy as the 99-rated (on the flat) Tritonic for Alan King. He wasn’t far off group class on the level and if he can transfer that ability, he could be very good in this sphere. He finished second on soft ground at Royal Ascot, so I wouldn’t expect anything bar novicey jumping to be an issue.
15:35 Ascot – Duc Des Genievres (each way)
On the face of it, it’s very hard to look away from current Betway Queen Mother Champion Chaser Politologue, who is the horse they’ve all got to beat.
But he’s a short enough price and there may be some value in his stablemate Duc Des Genievres, who has been in good form on his two starts since moving from Willie Mullins’ Irish yard last summer.
This horse was good enough to win an Arkle two years ago and, while he didn’t back that up last season, he’s been good in two starts for Paul Nicholls. He could just be flying under the radar.
Obviously if Defi Du Seuil came back to the form he showed last year, he’ll be wining this impressively but he’s been poor on his last two starts and it looks more mental than physical with him.
13:50 Ascot – Danny Kirwan
Danny Kirwan is a good course-and-distance winner that will appreciate both dropping back down in trip and into handicap company.
14:25 Ascot – Enqarde
The way Enqarde was travelling before tipping up at Haydock last time out would suggest that there’s mileage in this mark. He’ll love the soft ground and could be too good for his rivals.
15:00 Ascot – Good Boy Bobby
Good Boy Bobby sets the standard on this season’s known form. He was second to Master Tommytucker in November – who has since gone on to win a Group 2 – and was a staying-on fourth in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup last month.
15:25 Taunton – City Flame
City Flame is the least exposed horse in an unappealing field and has the most potential to improve. He travelled and made headway in good novice hurdles on both his previous starts this term.
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