A fascinating day of racing on both sides of the Irish Sea with implications for Cheltenham and Aintree, there will be plenty of coals to be raked over come Saturday evening.
From the smorgasbord of top notch (there’s a tip !!) racing, we will waiting patiently (again) for the slightly more sunday league offering that is the staying handicap hurdle at Ascot (1610).
We like the shape of this race. The outsiders all look worth taking on, with few obvious threats, whilst the mid priced Malapie and Buckle Street are horses we have seen plenty of lately and it would be a surprise if they could land a Saturday afternoon Ascot handicap.
Templeross looks short enough for a horse the handicapper is taking his time with, and this shapes up to us as a match between Pop Rockstar and Hatchet Jack.
Pop Rockstar has won his last two starts, the last one very easily back in early December. he has a break since then and does not have the help of Jonjo jnr today, but still he is unexposed. That said he is up 13lbs for that win and whilst that is guesswork by the handicapper, it is cautious guesswork.
We prefer Hatchet Jack. He left an average Irish point to point career behind when first asked to go 3 miles over hurdles in handicap company here before Christmas. His fifth that day was an excellent staying on effort off this same mark of 120.
He was second albeit well beaten at Wincanton in January, but that sharp track and shorter trip would not have suited. Back here and back over a trip, he can break his duck under the ever reliable Paddy Brennan. He looks a good bet.
Recommendation: Hatchet Jack, (1610 Ascot), 2pts win, 11/2 generally available.
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