Right on Cue for Ascot glory

Nick Grant has a selection for every race on Saturday, with Cue Card very much expected to star at Ascot.

ASCOT: 1.15 Beyond Conceit, 1.50 Arpege D'Alene, 2.25 Virak, 3.00 Air Horse One, 3.35 CUE CARD (NAP), 4.10 Joe Farrell, 4.45 Cadeaux's Fire.

GOWRAN: 1.20 Bachasson, 1.55 Clarcam, 2.30 Definite Ruby, 3.05 Jezki, 3.40 Dandy Mag, 4.15 Mine Now, 4.50 Blixt.

HAYDOCK: 1.30 Most Celebrated, 2.05 Agrapart, 2.40 Theo's Charm, 3.15 Blaklion, 3.50 The Worlds End, 4.20 Tanit River, 4.55 Bear's Affair.

KEMPTON: 5.45 Tulip Dress, 6.15 Al Sail, 6.45 Vimy Ridge, 7.15 Hairdryer, 7.45 Summer Icon, 8.15 Swot, 8.45 Scribner Creek, 9.15 Spin Top.

LINGFIELD: 1.10 First Moon, 1.45 Whaleweigh Station, 2.20 Just Us Two, 2.55 Final, 3.30 Fast Track, 4.05 Mercers, 4.40 Dynamo.

WINCANTON: 1.40 Paddy The Oscar, 2.15 Bishops Court, 2.45 Yanworth, 3.20 Walt, 3.55 Grey Gold, 4.30 Scales, 5.05 Sergio.

DOUBLE: Cue Card and Yanworth.

It is hard to look beyond Cue Card winning a second Betfair Ascot Chase on Saturday.

Whatever his current crop of stable stars go on to achieve, Colin Tizzard will always have a place in his heart for Cue Card, who really put him on the map when winning the Champion Bumper as a four-year-old in 2010 at 40-1.

It is a credit to both Tizzard and the horse that he is still one of the highest-rated in training at 11 years of age and he added another Grade One to his record as recently as November.

No match for stablemate Thistlecrack in the King George, he probably found the ground lively enough at Kempton and to be fair he did stay on again in the straight to only be beaten a little over three lengths.

That may have flattered him, but he still beat the rest and even though this trip is short of his best these days, he is so far clear of the opposition in terms of ability it should not matter too much.

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Four years ago when he beat Captain Chris in this race he went on to win the Ryanair a month later, but this year that repeat is not on as he only has the Gold Cup as an option at Cheltenham.

Unfortunately his best chance of winning that may have been last year when he was a late faller, but there are still plenty of good prizes to be won with him.

The Sodexho Reynoldstown Novices' Chase looks a fine opportunity for Arpege D'Alene to secure his Festival ticket.

Paul Nicholls rates this seven-year-old as one of his leading Cheltenham chances despite his eclipse in full handicap company at Cheltenham on New Year's Day.

That was still a decent performance in finishing third and Arpege D'Alene can regain the winning thread back in novice company.

Blaklion can continue the incredible recent run of Saturday success for Nigel Twiston-Davies in the Betfred Grand National Trial at Haydock.

He goes into the race with quite similar prospects to Ballyandy, who won the Betfair Hurdle for the yard last weekend, in that he proved himself in the highest company last season but has struggled in the first half of this campaign.

That meant Ballyandy was well treated last week and similar comments apply to the RSA Chase winner, who will also be favoured by the unseasonably decent ground on Merseyside.

Normally only mudlarks need apply for this race, but this year it may have a totally different complexion and class is likely to rise to the top.

Tom George's The Worlds End has won his last two races at Chepstow with the minimum of fuss and can continue his winning run in the Albert Bartlett Prestige Novices' Hurdle.

He had the option of running against his elders in the Rendlesham, but this Grade Two is his for the taking and in ambling home from subsequent winners the last twice he has looked exciting.

Yanworth was forced to miss the Contenders Hurdle with a small problem but he can get back on the right track with victory in the Betway Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton.

This is unlikely to be the ideal track for Yanworth, but Kempton probably would not be his first choice either and he won a Grade One there beating The New One. There is nothing of that calibre up against him this time.

At Lingfield, it might pay to take a chance on David Barron's Fast Track upsetting some bigger names in the Betway-sponsored handicap over six furlongs.

He looked promising in his younger days but appeared to be on the downgrade before bouncing back to winning ways at Wolverhampton last time out.

Still 9lb below his career-high mark, he might be capable of winning again.

Summer Icon remains in good heart for Mick Channon and looks the safest option in Kempton's feature 32Red Fillies' Handicap.

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