Simon Holt thinks Acting Lass will be suited by conditions at Ascot this weekend - he has two tips for the ITV4 action.
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WHOSHOTTHESHERIFF, who was out-stayed by Bold Plan at Haydock last month over nearly two miles and three furlongs, should appreciate a drop in trip and make a bold show in the valuable Betfair Exchange Trophy Handicap Hurdle at Ascot on Saturday.
The strapping, former Gordon Elliott-trained inmate won his first two races for trainer Phil Kirby last season and was travelling well when falling two out at Cheltenham on his reappearance.
At Haydock, Whoshotthesheriff looked as though he had a competitive handicap hurdle in the bag jumping the final flight but was run down by the proven stayer Bold Plan with the well handicapped Fin And Game third, Honest Vic (who had beaten a subsequent winner on his previous start) fourth and Irish Roe, (who ran up to her mark when second at Doncaster last Saturday) fifth.
Like most of these, the likely heavy ground poses a question but the selection won on ground described as soft at Ayr from the progressive Dali Mail last January and a subsequent workmanlike win when odds-on over two-and-a-half miles at Sedgefield suggests this minimum trip is much more suitable.
At double-figure odds, Sean Quinlan's mount looks the value while acknowledging that the principals in last month's Greatwood Hurdle - Harambe, Monsieur Lecoq and Quoi De Neuf - are all likely to have a say.
And David Pipe's Umbrigado is also interesting dropping drastically back in distance having looked a clear non-stayer over three miles behind Stoney Mountain at Haydock on his reappearance.
In the Dave Dawes Silver Cup Handicap Chase, ACTING LASS is fancied for a second course win on ground conditions that should suit.
Successful over two miles and five furlongs (soft) at Ascot in January, 2018, Harry Fry's gelding was not so good here first time out this season when starting slowly and jumping carefully over the first two fences. However, while finishing well beaten in the end behind Vinndication, he made headway in the final mile and ran a bit better than his finishing position suggests.
Fitted with cheek-pieces for the first time at Chepstow over nearly three miles subsequently, Acting Lass was cruising along until pecking at the third last, and did exceptionally well to pick himself up and beat the strong stayer Another Venture with the promising Captain Cattistock back in third.
I suspect a 5lb rise for that victory could have been more without the mistake and, while this looks a very tight race, Sean Bowen's mount (a five-time winner from just 10 career starts, and four from seven over fences) could have more to offer.
Posted at 1430 GMT on 20/12/19.
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