Take Captain to lead the way

  • By: Nick Grant
  • Last Updated: February 16 2013, 15:50 GMT

Captain Cutter can win the final race at Ascot today according to Nick Grant, who provides a selection for every race.

Captain Chris (left): Cautious pick for the big race at Ascot
Captain Chris (left): Cautious pick for the big race at Ascot

ASCOT: 1.30 Aaim To Prosper, 2.05 Rocky Creek, 2.40 Tatenen, 3.15 Sadler's Risk, 3.50 Captain Chris, 4.25 River Maigue, 5.00 Captain Cutter.

GOWRAN: 2.35 Ibsen, 3.10 Zaidpour, 3.40 Rogue Angel, 4.10 Ardboe Abbey, 4.45 Kymin's Way, 5.15 Romantic Fashion.

HAYDOCK: 1.45 Veauce De Sivola, 2.20 Trustan Times, 2.55 RIGADIN DE BEAUCHENE (NAP), 3.25 Two Rockers, 4.05 The Chazer, 4.40 Hold On Julio, 5.10 Cloudy Lane.

LINGFIELD: 12.40 Lady Lunchalot, 1.10 Hamla, 1.40

Firmdecisions, 2.15 Tidal's Baby, 2.50 Methaaly, 3.30 Toga Tiger, 4.00 Solar Deity, 4.35 Harry Buckle.

WINCANTON: 1.20 Workbench, 1.55 Definite Ruby, 2.30 Benvolio, 3.05 Swincombe Stone, 3.35 Zarkandar, 4.15 Dreambrook Lady, 4.50 Xaarcet.

DOUBLE: Rigadin De Beauchene and Captain Chris.

Captain Chris is the cautious selection in what looks a potentially trappy Betfair Ascot Chase on Saturday.

The Philip Hobbs-trained nine-year-old brings the best current form to the table and is the most likely of the principals to be suited by what will be gruelling conditions.

His latest start was the best effort of his career, going down battling to Long Run in the King George at Kempton.

That, however, is where the slight dent in confidence comes as he had such a hard race there it might have left a mark.

If it has not done so, then he must be hard to beat, having shown a liking for Ascot when landing the Amlin 1965 Chase at this track in November on similar ground.

The hope is that with those two efforts being his only outings of the season so far he will be relatively fresh, despite his Kempton exertions, and he has had a reasonable break.

Tatenen is a formidable opponent at Ascot and is the one to be with in the Weatherbys Hamilton Insurance Chase Limited Handicap.

Far from disgraced in the big handicap chase at Cheltenham in December, Richard Rowe's stalwart is only 1lb higher than when winning a two-mile-six event at this track last January, a race he also claimed in 2011.

It will be survival of the fittest at Haydock in what should be an informative Betfred Grand National Trial.

Rigadin De Beauchene is not actually in the Aintree showpiece but has been one of the emerging young stayers on the scene and looks ideally placed to run a big race over three and a half miles.

Desperately unlucky at Newbury three runs ago, he really came into his own faced with a stern examination of stamina in the Classic Chase at Warwick.

Having looked booked for a place, he stuck to his task in grim fashion to deny Godsmejudge so conditions on Merseyside will hold no fears.

Upped 11lb for that effort, he remains at the right end of the handicap for a race of this nature.

There are one or two of his rivals that like to go on, which should set it up for him.

Zarkandar is by far the safest play in the Bathwick Tyres Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton.

The sole Champion Hurdle representative of Paul Nicholls this year, he is probably well capable of improving on last year's fifth-placed finish in the two-mile championship.

He also showed a new string to his bow in winning a strong International on heavy ground at Cheltenham in December.

A solid card at Lingfield supplements the high-class jumping action, and Solar Deity can reward his backers in the Doug Grout 65th Birthday Handicap.

Progressive for Marco Botti, he has bits of fairly strong form dotted through his record and he could well be steered towards races like the Lincoln this season.

Fully effective on Polytrack and still relatively lightly raced, he should come on for a run at Wolverhampton last month after what was a mini-break following a couple of wins in October and November.

He might also find this return to a mile more in his favour.

Methaaly is more often spotted at Wolverhampton but there is no reason why he should not go well in division two of the Blue Square Bet Sprint Series Round 7 Handicap.

Like many a sprinter on the all-weather he needs things to fall right, but has been returning to form of late, as witnessed in finishing strongly to get his head in front at Dunstall Park when last seen.

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