1.50 Ascot: Our Verdict
Our racing team weigh up their best bets in the Sky Bet Money Back race on Saturday – the 1.50 at Ascot.
In-form jockey Sam Twiston-Davies rides Orbasa
Ben Linfoot – Overtown Express
Harry Fry's Overtown Express looked a very bright prospect when landing a couple of novice hurdles like a smart sort earlier this year. Grade Two company over hurdles was too hot too soon, but he remains a horse with some potential and he put in a very encouraging chasing debut behind Top Notch and Romain De Senam at Plumpton last time. He was a bit keen in the rear but stayed on nicely, shaping as though this slight step up in trip will be ideal as long as he settles better. On that form and those novice hurdle victories, there is the feeling he could be well-handicapped off an opening chasing mark of 132. This open handicap is tough for a novice, but he's the one horse in the field that could be way ahead of the assessor and his profile is sucking me in.
Dave Ord – Pull The Chord
A real pre-Christmas head-scratcher but Pull The Chord gets the vote for Philip Hobbs and Richard Johnson. He's always looked the sort to improve for a fence and did little wrong on his first start over them when chasing home subsequent winner Master Dee at Ludlow. He's bound to improve for experience and win races off this mark and is taken to get the better of Overton Express who is another with the potential to be better than his current mark. Also of interest is Paul Nicholls' Orbasa. You have to forgive him r a disappointing return at Aintree but the yard couldn't be in better form and a race of this is within his compass judged on a run at Ayr in the spring.
Matt Brocklebank – Raven's Tower
Paul Nicholls' Orbasa was desperately disappointing at Aintree on his seasonal reappearance last month but he was sent off 7/2 favourite there and could be worth chancing after a short break in which time I'm sure the trainer will have tinkered with one or two things. The tongue-tie suggests there may be a small problem with his wind though and marginal preference is for Raven's Tower. He scored from Keel Haul at Aintree before a staying on third behind the reopposing Ultragold where a few bad mistakes probably cost him going extremely close. He's now 6lb higher than for his win but might still have something in hand from the assessor.