Top commentator Simon Holt previews Saturday's action from Ascot and Churchill Downs and he has five bets including Gary Moore's Traffic Fluide.
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The jumps season takes another step up in gear on Saturday when TRAFFIC FLUIDE is fancied to defy top weight in the Sodexo Gold Cup Handicap Chase at Ascot.
Gary Moore's chaser has mixed it with the best in the past, including when third to Un De Sceaux and his illustrious stable-mate Sire De Grugy at Grade One level on this course in January, 2016 when rated 154 compared to his mark here of 149.
Since then, the eight-year-old has been rather difficult to place but, after a confidence-restoring victory at Plumpton over hurdles last April, he produced a dashing run to win a decent handicap chase at Cheltenham and, more recently, chased home the well-handicapped The Young Master on his reappearance at Chepstow.
That run should have put Traffic Fluide spot on for this task in which last year's winner Go Conquer, while well behind him at Cheltenham, could be the one he has to beat if able to dominate again on the good ground.
Earlier, GLOBAL CITIZEN is also taken to defy a welter burden in the Bet With Ascot Handicap Hurdle.
This strapping six-year-old from the in-form Ben Pauling team, seems best when fresh and proved ideally suited by a dry surface when simply bolting up in the Dovecote Novices Hurdle at Kempton in February.
Global Citizen never looked quite so comfortable on softer ground at Aintree in April but should be well revved up for this and has the potential to out-strip his current handicap mark.
The hat-trick seeking Simply The Betts (up in grade) and Southwell winner Fidux could provide the chief threats.
In the Byrne Group Handicap Chase, Dan Skelton's pacey SHANTOU ROCK should have his rivals under pressure from an early stage and looks to have sound claims after fine efforts against the likes of Cyrname, Sceau Royal and Diego De Charmil as a novice last season.
Again, the good ground should be ideal and, while former smart hurdler Garde La Victoire is respected off a handy mark, he has shown a tendency to jump left over fences.
Finally, at Ascot, WENYERREADYFREDDIE should take all the beating in the Ascot Underwriting Handicap Chase.
Nicky Henderson's lightly-raced gelding put up a smashing effort against the smart Lil Rockerfeller at Uttoxeter last month when he jumped soundly and battled on well all the way to the line.
With the winner going in again subsequently and rated 153 now over both hurdles and fences, Wenyerreadyfreddie could well be thrown-in here off 130 especially as he looks open to plenty of improvement.
THE biggest chance of success for British and Irish horses on the second day of the Breeders' Cup surely lies with the dual Arc winner Enable in the Longines Breeders' Cup Turf and, after a light campaign, there is every chance John Gosden's superstar filly could improve for the run at Longchamp where she held on gamely under tiring legs.
At the likely odds, she is hardly backable but will have to be off her game if Waldgeist and last year's winner Talismanic, fourth and 13th respectively in the Arc, are going to turn the tables on her.
With the home defence looking weak, recent Ascot winner Magical, who defeated Coronet and Lah Ti Dar on Champions Day, could provide the biggest threat as she has clearly come to hand after a light campaign and will not be inconvenienced by the likely soft ground.
The visitors could well dominate in the Markers Mark Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (1m3f) with the recent Prix de l'Opera one-two Wild Illusion and Magic Wand renewing rivalry and Dermot Weld's Eziyra looking progressive though saddled with a wide draw.
While Magic Wand slammed Wild Illusion in the Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot, the latter has finished in front of her on two other occasions.
However, the smart Chad Brown-trained SISTERCHARLIE could be a big danger.
Brown has won three of the last six runnings with Zagora, Dayatthespa and Stephanie's Kitten and this daughter of Myboycharlie has won three of her five starts since being switched from France to the States latterly beating stable companion Fourstar Crook in the Beverley D Stakes at Arlington Park (1m1f).
Given how Sistercharlie has generally finished off her races, and was staying on powerfully into second after a troubled passage behind Senga in last season's Prix De Diance (French Oaks) over a mile-and-a-quarter at Chantilly, this step up in trip could suit her well though a chance has to be taken on the easier ground.
The closing Breeders' Cup Classic on the dirt has long proved a difficult challenge for European-trained horses but it will be intriguing to see if Roaring Lion, arguably the star of the domestic scene this year, can cope with a completely different type of race and surface against smart American-trained specialists.
I think it will be enormously tough, especially after a long season which began at the Craven meeting in April, whereas Aidan O'Brien's Mendelssohn, the winner of last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf, has at least been trained for the race, boasts plenty of dirt experience and has looked more professional since being badly bumped at the start of the Kentucky Derby over this course and distance in early May.
Ryan Moore's mount finished just under two lengths behind Thunder Snow in the Jockey Club Gold Cup last month when the Dubai World Cup winner went under by a neck to 46-1 chance Discreet Cat.
That form hardly looks good enough but Thunder Snow, who performed a bucking broncho act at the start of last year's Kentucky Derby, is much more mature now and has a really consistent record on dirt. If he can reproduce his astonishing defeat of the re-opposing West Coast (third in this last year) at Meydan in March, then perhaps he has a squeak, along with Mendelssohn, if Christophe Soumillon can get a fast break from stall one on the inside rail.
Preview posted at 1645 GMT 02/11/2018