we have two of our eye catchers running on Friday at Cheltenham and Doncaster. Both have a decent chance but as always we need to get decent value in the prices available before we have a bet, and currently they are quoted a shade below what we deem to be value, so you'll need to keep an eye on the markets before you bet.
Read on to see who they are and how we rate their chances...
the team at Cleeve
3.40 Cheltenham, Citipost Handicap Hurdle. (Class 2) (0-150 4YO+) 3M Good to Soft
Ask Ben is a relentless galloper trained by Graeme McPherson and ridden in this race by his regular jockey Kieran Woods.
Ask Ben is a winner over three miles and has won twice from five starts over hurdles. This will be his second run in handicaps. He made his seasonal debut this season which was his first start in a handicap. He ran well to finish 3 1/4 lengths behind Stoney Mountain in a class one event and now drops to class two.
Ask Ben looks to be on a competitive handicap mark now, and will like the distance of this race, the expected going and the uphill finish at the course. Of his rivals, the ever game Champers On Ice goes for the hat trick. however, he is steadily rising up the weights again. Kilbricken Storm is top weight and has not run since April at Aintree and so will likely need this run. Falco Blitz runs for Nicky Henderson but does need to step up on his previous form. Dan Skelton runs the last time out winner No Getaway off 10st 7’lbs and he looks a big danger.
1.45 Doncaster, Jordan Gill Next Generation Handicap Hurdle (Class 3) (0-140 3YO+) 2M 3F 88Y Good to Soft.
Saint Leo is trained by Sandy Thomson and will be ridden by Henry Brooke in this race, his regular pilot. He won five times in his native France, mostly on soft ground, before being purchased to run in the U.K. He has taken some time to come to hand on this side of the channel but still has time on his side, as he is only a six-year-old. Off of a mark of 127 he may well be well handicapped at present.
His seasonal debut over an inadequate distance would have served as a pipe opener. His trainer will be looking to pick up some races in the North with him this season.
Of his rivals in this race Linger has won two of his last three starts, falling on the other occasion. He steps up in class in this race but may well still be improving and so is a danger. Mr Scrumpy goes off here as joint bottom-weight and won last time out, winning a class three handicap in good style. He looks the main horse to contend with for the others.
With there being only seven runners in the race a win bet is the preferred option. Now upped in distance Saint Leo can be more competitive than last time out and at 7/1 or better is considered a value win bet.