Medinas good value to claim Zarkandar scalp at Ascot

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Christmas (and the King George) may be just around the corner, but it would be foolish to neglect the wealth of racing blessing our screens on the final weekend before the turkey is served up.

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Here are Ladbrokes News’ Ben Stones trio to watch out for…

Ascot 2:25 – Medinas

I’m taking a chance on Alan King’s 2013 Coral Cup winner to upset the likely favourite Zarkandar, with that one facing the longest trip he has tried in his long career.

Medinas is in top form this season, most recently smashing the highly progressive Cole Harden and World Hurdle winner More of That at Haydock last month.

His form over 3m on a surface with plenty of give, is rock solid and with the yard going well, is fancied to run a big race.

Haydock 2:40 – Run Ructions Run

James Reveley rode Special Catch to victory in this race last year and has a smashing chance to double up here.

His mount this time round has put in some very good performances in 2014, the highlight when snatching victory in a Listed handicap at Newbury back in March.

He made a very respectable comeback over course and distance four weeks ago, 1 1/2l ahead of subsequent winner Dawalan, and will be primed for this.

With his figures on soft or heavy ground reading 21212, expect him to go close.

Ascot 3:00 – Houlon Des Obeaux

Channel 4 racing and a Venetia Williams winner goes hand in hand like ham and cheese, Bovril and cold winter nights at the football and Barry and Paul (Chuckle), and their tough old sort here has a great chance to provide that success.

The seven-year-old took this contest 12 months ago, and although he is 9lbs higher in the handicap, proved his well being by running a super race in the Hennessy Gold Cup to finish second.

With conditions ideal, he can make a real test against some very doubtful stayers at Ascot.

All Odds and Markets are 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.