Racing Daily with BetVictor – Dec 21

A wonderful card at Ascot this afternoon begins with a 2m 5f Maiden Hurdle on ground officially described as soft on Thursday afternoon with no further significant rain forecast.

Nicky Henderson saddles a couple with Igor looking to go one better than when runner up at Ascot over a slightly shorter trip last month. The winner (Moonlighter) was in the process of running a big race when coming down two out at Newbury earlier in the week and Igor looks sure to run well.

Preference, however, is for stablemate Gallahers Cross (12.45) who has been off the track since finishing fourth in a listed Bumper at this meeting 12 months ago. That was his first start for Nicky Richards having won both starts in his native Ireland for Peter Fahey. The gelding cost present connections E260,000 at Tattersalls Ireland and he is held in high regard at Seven Barrows.

Brianstorm (3.30) makes his chase debut for Venetia Williams having won his sole point in Ireland. The selection ran a promising race on his reappearance over hurdles when making most to two out having been very keen. The hope is that he will be more amenable to restraint with that run under his belt, although he is unlikely to get a soft lead with several other potential front-runners in opposition.

Thomas Darby lost nothing in defeat when just edged out by Didtheyleaveuoutto over C&D last month, but trainer Olly Murphy has hinted that his five-year-old would be best served by a sound surface and there must be a chance that the ground will be softer than ideal.

I am going to give Seddon (1.55) another chance having disappointed at Cheltenham last month in a race where he was poorly placed in a tactical affair. He had looked a horse to follow at Stratford previously and he is the each way recommendation at 8/1 with BetVictor.

Danny Kirwan was beaten in a match at Kempton on his hurdles debut when in receipt of 6lbs and a bigger danger may come from Angels Breath (2/1 at BetVictor) a winning Irish pointer who was taken out of a race at Cheltenham last weekend on account of the ground – today’s conditions should be ideal.

Vinndication (2.30) is unbeaten in five career starts and made a winning chase debut at Carlisle last month over a slightly shorter trip. Today’s additional furlong will suit, and he is taken to make it six out of six for Kim Bailey in the Grade 2 Novice Chase. Only four go to post but it is a cracking renewal and it promises to be a most informative contest.

Le Musee (3.00) finished runner up to the smart Champ at Newbury at the beginning of the month and a 4lbs rise is fair given the progressive Speedo Boy was back in third. Nigel Hawke’s conditional Tom Buckley takes off 10lbs. One note of caution the stable are not exactly firing in the winners at present.

Nicky Richards did us a favour with Glittering Love at Hexham on Thursday and the hope is that his Blakerigg (1.45) can land his hat-trick at Uttoxeter under a 7lbs penalty for winning cosily over 3m at Newcastle last week. This drop back in trip on testing ground is unlikely to be a concern and the 7-year-old is 5lbs “well-in” despite his penalty.

King Roland is fitted with a hood for his rules debut for Harry Fry and this winning Irish pointer looks sure to go close in the concluding Bumper although he does wear a hood which suggests he has been keen on the home gallops.

The vote, however, goes to Farrants Way (3.30) for Venetia Williams in the colours of Trevor Hemmings who is certainly bred for the job and was pulled out of a recent contest at Haydock earlier in the month with a vet’s certificate.

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