Ascot money back special might not be needed with this Fry duo

The fact that three favourites have finished second in each of the last two years on today’s Ascot card might not sound that significant, but it may mean that Ladbrokes’ Friday offer rewards plenty of those siding with the shorties.

Half of the jollies finding one too good in 2013 was even more significant when you consider that only four favourites were runners-up in the quartet of jumps meetings at Ascot prior in that year.

So for those who like to follow the betting it could be a day of second chances at the Berkshire track when you bet with Laddies.

The bookmaker will be refunding all stakes, as free bets up to £25, on all horses who finish second on the card.

If you’re not interested in blindly backing favourites, Ladbrokes News are on hand to pick out a couple of chances to side with.

The maiden hurdle (12:50) that opens the card has seen a couple of winners that have gone on to do good things in their later career in the past few years.

Winner of the 2014 Bet365 Gold Cup Hadrian’s Approach took the contest in 2011 and Nicky Henderson followed up that win with Royal Boy two years later.

That one may have disappointed in his two starts this year, but he did go on to take the Grade 1 Tolworth Hurdle on his next start.

But we are avoiding the runner from Seven Barrows in favour of Harry Fry’s He’s A Charmer.

The five-year-old has finished second on his last two starts, both coming at this venue, though both have been over a shorter trip.

The form of the latter’s win over hurdles has taken a couple of knocks since, but there was still plenty to like about the performance of the four-year-old.

He was found wanting when it came to finding an extra gear when it mattered, but did plug on well in the latter stages, suggesting that this slightly stronger test of stamina could be up his street.

His trainer is in excellent form of late, operating at a 46 per cent strike-rate in the past fortnight, and can be expected to have his charge fully wound up here.

Harry Fry's stable are in excellent form

Harry Fry’s stable are in excellent form

Later in the day Junction Fourteen bids to give two and four pounds to his five rivals in the Noel Novices’ Chase (14:30).

He could struggle, as while he is two-from-two over fences so far, he was the lowest rated of the sextet over hurdles, so could be vulnerable to an improving type.

That could come in the form of Thomas Brown who was very taking in the way he won over a shorter trip at Ascot on his chasing debut last time out.

He was thought highly of enough to be pitched in at Grade 1 level twice over hurdles, and while he didn’t quite reach the top level over the smaller obstacles, he looks a natural over fences.

He dominated from the front a month ago at the Berkshire venue, quickening up nicely when asked by Noel Fehily to score by nine lengths and justify favouritism.

This is a marked step up in class, but with his ability to stay this trip in no doubt, he looks one to be on in this Grade 2 race.

Thomas Brown put in an excellent round of jumping on chasing debut

Thomas Brown put in an excellent round of jumping on chasing debut

We’re siding with that Harry Fry duo to do the business on Friday, but whoever you back remember that you are covered by Ladbrokes’ Money Back offer if your selection finds one too good.

*For full terms and conditions click here.

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Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.