Simon Holt: Super Saphir
Channel 4 Racing commentator Simon Holt previews the pick of Saturday's action and heads to Ascot for his best bets.
Saphir Du Rheu is eye-catchingly well handicapped
All eyes will be trained on the return of Cue Card on Saturday when the much-loved staying chaser attempts to win Wetherby's bet365 Charlie Hall Chase for the second year running.
On last year's form in this race, Colin Tizzard's charge has work to do to confirm placings with runner-up Dynaste on 10lb worse terms (Menorah pulled up) on soft ground but the two horses went in different directions subsequently and Cue Card's victories in the Betfair Chase and King George give him outstanding claims not to mention his fall in the Gold Cup when going well.
However, should the favourite be a little ring-rusty then 2014 winner Menorah, who goes well fresh and has conditions to suit him this year, and last year's RSA Chase winner Blaklion could well give him a run for his money.
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Earlier, the gutsy Lil Rockerfeller tries three miles for the first time up against the promising Ballyoptic, If In Doubt, Native River and Silsol in a tricky bet365 Hurdle which had been the original target for SAPHIR DU RHEU who has now been switched to Ascot's Sodexo Gold Cup Handicap Chase.
The Paul Nicholls-trained grey is eye-catchingly well handicapped here considering he was high class over hurdles, finishing second to Cole Harden in the 2015 World Hurdle and, after beating The Young Master on his reappearance last season over fences at Carlisle, started favourite for the Hennessy off a mark of 163.
Only fifth at Newbury, Saphir Du Rheu was disappointing in four subsequent starts but returns here rated just 152 and, if connections have got him back to anywhere near his best (which reports suggest they have), then he could prove too classy for the opposition.
Tea For Two is certainly a dangerous rival as the Nick Williams-trained seven-year-old looked a fine prospect when taking the Grade One Kauto Star Novices' Chase at Kempton last season but he didn't run again after finishing third behind Bristol De Mai at Sandown in early February and the ground here could be quick enough for him.
With Voix D'Eau entering unknown territory over three miles, Buckhorn Timothy and A Good Skin who finished second and third respectively behind Potters Cross at Chepstow recently should both be thereabouts with the benefit of a run.
Earlier at Ascot, I will take a chance on REMIND ME LATER taking advantage of bottom weight in the opening Ascot Underwriting Novices' Limited Handicap Chase.
Gary Moore's seven-year-old's reappearance last of three at Plumpton doesn't look particularly exciting but he travelled like the best horse that day and ultimately ran as if needing the outing after nearly a year off the track.
On his previous appearance, Remind Me Later had stayed on takingly behind the useful Thomas Brown in a small field on this course and he is potentially well handicapped on his hurdles form.
A winner twice under fast ground conditions at Exeter over the smaller obstacles, he was running an excellent race at Aintree in May of last year only to blunder and unseat his rider two out behind the very useful Virgilio off a mark of 126 compared to the 123 he runs off here.
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