Ch’tibello can strike at Ascot

Ian Ogg analyses the last 10 renewals of Saturday's William Hill Handicap Hurdle at Ascot and picks out the key statistics.

The William Hill Handicap Hurdle has been a decent race for favourites and an even better one for second season hurdlers.

Ch'tibello is an obvious place to start and although the majority of winners have carried less weight than the five-year-old, two have been successful from top-weight.

One of those was Scottish Champion Hurdle winner Raya Star and Dan Skelton's runner won that Ayr race before going on to finish a slightly unlucky looking third in the race registered as the Swinton Hurdle at Haydock. He isn't handicapped out of this with a rating of 144 and has a very obvious chance.

There are remarkably few runners that fit the usual criteria, perhaps a reflection of the faster than usual underfoot conditions.

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One obvious exception is Diego Du Charmil whose Chepstow victory form has already received a boost from the fifth home and his trainer, Paul Nicholls, saddled the only four-year-old winner of this race in this period.

A 3lb rise in the weights leaves him only 8lbs higher in the weights than when winning the Fred Winter at the Cheltenham Festival and he looks a key player.

Nicholls' apparent second string is Modus who failed to fire in the second half of the season but it would be no surprise to see this smart bumper performer improve significantly on those efforts during this campaign. The six-year-old has an excellent record when fresh.

Sternrubin was another to end last season on a low note but he had finished third in the County Hurdle prior to trailing home some 20 lengths behind Ch'tibello at Ayr. This course and distance winner races from the same mark as at Cheltenham. He is now in his third season over hurdles but his profile is not dissimilar to the only third season hurdler to win in the last decade, Raya Star.

John Constable was giving Ch'tibello 2lbs when beaten three and a half lengths at Ayr but failed to reverse the form at Haydock when in receipt of 3lbs.

It seems unlikely that a further 2lbs will help him reverse the form with Ch'tibello who is very much the one to beat but if you don't fancy taking the short odds about the favourite on his first run since May there is some each-way mileage in Diego Du Charmil's price of 7/1.

  • Winners have been aged four, five (4) and six (5).
  • Winners have been weighted between 9-7 and 11-12 with eight 11-0 or under.
  • Winners have been rated between 116 and 149.
  • Winners have been priced between 2/1 and 11/1 with five winning favourites (including co and joint)
  • Four winners were successful on their preceding start.
  • Three winners had a run in October and all three were successful at Huntingdon.
  • Eight winners were in their second season over hurdles and one was a novice.
  • Nine winners had had no more than 10 starts over hurdles.
  • Seven winners started their career on the Flat and two in NHF races.

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