Drumacoo to enhance his Cheltenham Festival claims at Ascot

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The likes of One Man, Inglis Drever and Kauto Star have taken some of the biggest races this weekend in the past, but we’ll have to wait and see if any of this year’s victors go on to be quite so special.

Nevertheless, there looks to be some quality animals on show at Ascot, Haydock and Wincanton on Saturday, with ample opportunity for a winner or two.

As always, if your selection in any of the seven live Channel 4 races finds one too good, Ladbrokes will give you your money back as a free bet! (For full T&Cs click here).

We’ve picked out a trio that hopefully won’t leave you needing our offer. Here are our best bets of the afternoon.

Drumacoo – Reynoldstown Novices’ Chase – Ascot 13:50

It was hard not to be impressed with Drumacoo’s chase debut, returning from over a year off to win decisively at Huntingdon in December.

He had Fletchers Flyer 38 lengths behind that day and with that one just six lengths behind second favourite here Onenightinvienna, Ben Pauling’s horse should potentially be a stronger favourite, especially receiving weight from a couple of his opponents.

You can expect there to be more to come from the seven-year-old who beat the then-Michael Hourigan-trained Roi Des Francs over hurdles, a horse that has since won a Grade 2 over fences.

Pauling’s novice chasers are going fairly well this season, with a 31 per cent strike-rate none-too-shabby for the Gloucestershire trainer.

Were he trained by the likes of Willie Mullins, he would surely be a shorter price than the 20/1 currently on offer, a price that could look huge come two o’clock on Saturday.

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At Fishers Cross – Rendlesham Hurdle – Haydock 14:05

A solid second place behind Alpha Des Obeaux (who is 7/1 for the World Hurdle) on reappearance will have been a more than satisfactory return to the track for trainer Rebecca Curtis.

That performance, as well as the nine-year-old’s fourth place finish at Cheltenham last year hints that the problems that plagued him during the season previous are a thing of the past.

His awkward jumping habits were present when he was beaten favourite in this race last year, but at around 4/1 is worth taking a chance with.

He gets eight pounds from favourite Reve De Sivola, effectively making him the best off at the weights, and is fancied to run a big race and potentially force the traders to clip his odds of 33/1 for a World Hurdle triumph next month.

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Harry The Viking – Grand National Trial – Haydock 14:40

A really competitive renewal of the Grand National Trial, but despite the vast majority of the eight entrants having a major chance, there is no reason not to have a few quid on last year’s runner-up.

He looks well treated compared to at least a couple of these at the weights. The 11-year-old had Gas Line Boy 19 lengths behind 12 months ago and is only six pounds worse off at the weights, so looks value with Jim Best’s nearly half the price.

Last time out he was only three lengths behind Rigadin De Beauchene at Haydock but takes him on again on six pounds better terms.

The conditions will be spot on for Sandy Thompson’s charge and although he hasn’t won since December 2011, the veteran so often runs a big race and looks a great each-way bet.

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All odds and markets correct as of the date of publishing.

 

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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.