Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!
Man On The Spot previews all of Saturday's terrestrial television action from Ascot and Haydock Park.
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13.30 Ascot Shawbrook Bank Graduation Chase
Solix probably has the best form in this, winning here and at Haydock last season for Nicky Henderson. He was successful on his first start for Ian Williams in France in October before being found out in Grade 2 company at Auteuil last month but has to give 7lb to CEDRE BLEU.
The latter made a pleasing reappearance behind Sizing Santiago in a handicap at Newbury but may just have found the 2m7f a little too far. This should be just about perfect and he gets the nod. Brass Tax dead-heated in a novices' handicap at Market Rasen last time but shouldn't be good enough here while On Trend fell at Newbury earlier this month and lacks the experience of the principals.
13.45 Haydock Bet At bluesq.com Handicap Hurdle
San Telm failed to figure in better company having beaten Yesyoucan over these hurdles in October, though the latter went on to score back here last time. Mwaleshi defied a 23lb rise in the weights to land his hat-trick at Wetherby a fortnight ago with Jonathan England's assistance but is up another 13lb today and HOLLOW TREE looks a safer option.
He has a recent run under his belt and his defeat of recent Fighting Fifth winner Countryside Flame at Chepstow last season is the best form on offer. Grafite and Top Wood are closely matched on their respective efforts behind the progressive Quaddick Lake and look best of the rest though Hada Men could figure if back to his best.
14.00 Ascot Long Walk Hurdle
Big Buck's' injury appears to have thrown the staying division wide-open but Paul Nicholls is trying to fill the gap with Prospect Wells, upped in distance after getting outpaced over 2m at Cheltenham last time, though he has a bit to find with some of these on the form book.
Reve De Sivola was second to Big Buck's at Newbury on his reappearance but easily brushed aside and the improving Trustan Times has more scope and was impressive under a big weight in a Haydock handicap four weeks ago.
SMAD PLACE was a little disappointing when only third to Tidal Bay at Wetherby and still has a bit to prove. But that run still gives him the beating of Cucumber Run on a line through fourth Fair Along and his overall form is the best on offer here. Master Of The Hall hasn't run over hurdles for almost three years but likes the mud and could run a little better than expected.
14.15 Haydock Blue Square Bet Tommy Whittle Handicap Chase
Cannington Brook was involved in a battle to land this last year until his chief rival fell at the last and handed him the race. He's won here again since but races off a much higher mark this time around. Both Mumbles head and Quincy Des Pictons look high enough in the weights but Merry King is not without a chance despite a 6lb rise for his latest second at Newbury.
Recent Kelso winner Douglas Julian has leading claims off his current mark with a conditional taking over the reins but the vote goes to RICH LORD. Ferdy Murphy's charge finished a decent third to a couple of much higher rated rivals from out of the handicap in a Listed chase at Newcastle last time and can come out best in this. Vamizi is another who could figure racing from the foot of the weights.
14.35 Ascot Champagne Bollinger Silver Cup Handicap Chase
HOLD ON JULIO finished fifth to Bob's Worth in the Hennessy at Newbury in a race in which Roberto Goldback unseated his rider around halfway when still in touch. Alan King's nine-year-old can open his account for the season now, though the top weight did win over this C&D on his reappearance and shouldn't be ignored.
Ackertac is another recent course winner but he has a poor strike-rate over fences while Wetherby winner Wyck Hill races from 6lb out of the handicap and is upped in grade. Hey Big Spender won't fail through lack of stamina but has been off the track for a while and Katenko has much to prove at present.
15.10 Ascot The Ladbroke
Second-season hurdlers have an appalling record in this race which is a worrying trend for supporters of last month's Haydock scorer Balder Success, Gerry Feilden winner Lyvius and the returning Ranjaan. The latter will be worth keeping in mind for one of these big handicaps later in the season however.
Olofi was raised 8lb after winning at Cheltenham and runner-up Cash And Go is now 4lb better off. He looks the pick of Nicky Henderson's quartet as top weight Petit Robin would have to be a very smart performer to complete his hat-trick under a welter burden on ground this soft.
IT'S A GIMME only found last year's winner Raya Star too good on his reappearance over C&D and, given he stays further, shouldn't be stopping at the end of this. AP McCoy has opted to ride the Jonjo O'Neill gelding ahead of Guinness Hurdle second Princeton Plains and Tony Martin's Down Royal runner-up Thomas Edison so he gets the nod.
Rigidity, second 12 months ago off a similar mark and runner-up at Musselburgh last month, could be best of the rest though Dan Breen has done well since being put back over hurdles and Into Wain could figure off bottom weight.