2.05 Ascot: Our Verdict
Our racing team weigh up their best bets in the Sky Bet Money Back race on Saturday – the 2.05 at Ascot.
Third Intention represents Colin Tizzard
Ben Linfoot – Dodging Bullets
It's only an inkling, but Dodging Bullets could really reinvent himself over this sort of trip this year. He's already defied his Flat pedigree by jumping a fence, never mind becoming Champion Chaser, so I wouldn't bother looking to his genes for clues as to if he'll stay. I think we're better off looking at his recent runs – and his last two runs tell me that he might well thrive over the extra distance. We know he likes Ascot as he won the Clarence House here and soft ground holds no fears for him either. But the key things are a) the weight he receives from his main rivals and b) the knowledge that he nearly always improves for a run. I'm expecting a bold bid.
Will Hayler – Third Intention
A very, very hard race to get a handle on, but given Third Intention's occasional tendency to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, he looks the obvious play for those looking for a horse who seems to fit the bill for Sky Bet's offer on this race. Rather than get too hung up about the revised weight terms from his recent Aintree success over God's Own and Vibrato Valtat, I'd instead focus upon the fact that Third Intention has clearly come back for another campaign full of beans and on his day he's perfectly capable of running to the sort of mid-150s rating that might just be good enough to win this, especially if further rain arrives to the detriment of God's Own's chances.
Ian Ogg – Royal Regatta
I'm a fan of God's Own (who's done me a favour or two in the past) whereas I've always struggled to warm to Dodging Bullets (who most certainly hasn't) and I'm usually happy to take on Paul Nicholls' runner. That is definitely the case here despite the weight that he receives as I'm far from convinced that he needs this trip. God's Own does appeal as the likeliest winner but that's reflected in his price and I'll take a chance with Royal Regatta who obviously has it all to do at the weights. This looks a tricky race with obvious doubts about a few of the runners and Royal Regatta has an excellent record at the track (a win, two seconds and a third from five runs) and could just surprise if getting into a rhythm.
Daryl Jacob – Third Intention
I've picked up another good spare ride for the Colin Tizzard team in Third Intention. He won the Old Roan on his reappearance. I've won on him before and know him well and think we have a good chance in a warm race.
Dave Ord – Gods Own
No prizes for originality here, but as the market says Tom George's charge is the most likely winner. He can reverse Aintree form with Third Intention on 12lb better terms – especially as the race didn't pan out for him there – and he looks sure to go close. Dodging Bullets needs to prove he stays this far, especially in the ground, and for those looking for a more speculative wager Royal Regatta could make them all go from the front granted a clear round,