The heavy ground and continued rain at Ascot has had an obvious bearing at Ascot, but Cash And Go is one horse who should appreciate conditions and therefore looks the one to beat in The Ladbroke.
There are three other televised races from the course, with Roberto Goldback looking to enhance his ante-post Grand National credentials.
13:30 – Solix @ 5/6
Solix is the course and distance winner in the field and has been shaking off any summer rust with some spins over hurdles in France.
His poor jumping came to the fore on more than one occasion last season and it is hard to know at this point if a move from Nicky Henderson to Ian Williams will have helped in this regard.
He looks 8lb well-in on ratings and perhaps most importantly has form on the ground.
Which is in contrast to his only logical challenger Cedre Bleu from the team of Paul Nicholls and Ruby Walsh, who was beaten by over 100 lengths on his only previous start on soft ground.
14:00 – Trustan Times @ 11/4
With Big Buck’s ruled out, suddenly the Long Walk Hurdle has become far more open and Smad Place is a worthy favourite based on the fact he likes Ascot and has 8lb in hand on official ratings.
French-bred horses have also won nine of the last 10 renewals, which bodes well for Smad Place.
However, Trustan Times has done nothing but improve all season and winning a Grade Three at Haydock last time when conceding weight to the field was an impressive effort.
He is capable of further improvement and has already been nibbled at for the Ladbrokes World Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
14:35 – Roberto Goldback @ 3/1
Roberto Goldback is the current ante-post favourite for the Grand National and was still travelling comfortably in the Hennessy Gold on his only start this season before falling.
Hold On Julio went on to take fifth in this race and re-opposes Roberto Goldback on 4lb better terms here, which makes him a serious threat if the race did not take too much out of him.
Hey Big Spender should also not be ruled out, but he may be using this as a preparation for the New Year.
15:10 – Cash And Go @ 8/1
Cotton Mill was initially our strong selection for The Ladbroke, but as he is now a non runner, attentions turn elsewhere.
The poor record of four-year-old entrants rules out Ranjaan, Balder Succes and Lyvius towards the head of the betting.
Meanwhile, a horse proven on heavy ground looks a must, with Cash And Go fitting the bill from the favourites and Double Ross at 16/1 for those looking for some each-way value, who is sure to force the early pace.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date