Nicholls expected to sweep up Ascot’s Faugheen sideshows

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Willie Mullins’ unbeaten hurdler Faugheen will be the undoubted star of Ascot’s Channel 4 Racing offering.

However, with the joint-favourite for the 2015 Champion Hurdle crash diet-skinny at 1/4, the news.ladbrokes.com tipping team are looking elsewhere on the TV card for kicks.

Nap: Al Ferof to win the 2:05 at Ascot @ 5/2

The presence of Ruby Walsh in the saddle is an encouraging factor in backing Paul Nicholls’ grey ahead of the resurgent Wishfull Thinking for the white-hot Phillip Hobbs operation.

Walsh steered the nine-year-old to glory in the 2012 Paddy Power Gold Cup, but has been largely an absentee since while connections have unsuccessfully tried the nine-year-old in the best 3m chases.

Returning to a more favourable 2m3f he should be tough to beat in a race his trainer has nabbed in three of the last four runnings.

NB: Ulck Du Lin to win the 3:15 at Ascot @ 9/2

Another Paul Nicholls inmate, the incredible Ulck has been a frustrating animal to follow, but proved his liking for today’s trip round Ascot off an extremely charitable mark last time out.

Granted his ideal conditions (soft) once more, he’ll take the world of stopping off 8lbs higher.

Having won with a 1lb steeper mark without the aid of the 7lb claimer who’ll accompany him here over course and distance in 2012 the requisite improvement should be forthcoming.

Longshot: Christopher Wren to win the 3:15 at Ascot @ 11/1

Nick Gifford’s chaser is hardly a prolific winner, having pouched the laurels just twice in 16 runs over the larger obstacles, but he’s weighted to be on the premises on his third to Ulck Du Lin at Ascot earlier in the month.

A handy 8lbs better off with the Ditcheat dweller for what was an eight-and-three-quarter-length deficit, he’s medalled in all bar one of his four runs on soft ground and rates an interesting each-way contender from the bottom of the handicap with three places to shoot at.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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