Racing fans are being treated to a day of top quality racing at both Ascot an Haydock. Although the Betfair Chase is the highlight of this weekend’s action my attention if firmly fixed on Ascot where the renewal of the Amlin Chase has easily provided me with my best bet of the day!
Unfortunately for the organisers, this important Grade 2 race has only attracted the three runners, one of which hasn’t won since 2011. Nevertheless, the race does offer fans the opportunity to see one of last season’s most promising horses reappear.
The card is headed up by last year’s winner, Captain Chris (6/4 Ladbrokes). Twelve months ago he readily beat another small field of runners in very testing ground off bottom weight. He went on thereafter to finish second in the King George at Kempton (loosing by a quarter of a length to Long Run) and to finish second to Cue Card back at Ascot in February. He ran in both the Cheltenham and Punchestown Gold Cups later on in the year but failed to make any great impression at that level. He is versatile in his running style, he can comfortably sit in the rear off the pace as well as stalking the lead at the front. His trainer is in impressive form recently and Captain Chris returns to Ascot as the highest rated of these three runners. He should put up a bold show but should find one too good.
My selection comes in the form of the throughly unexposed AL FEROF (5/6 bet365). This Paul Nicholls trained horse was a mightily impressive winner of the Paddy Power Gold Cup last year before suffering an injury which curtailed his season. He won the Paddy Power of top weight giving away 16lbs to the second who he comfortably beat by three lengths going away. Prior to the injury this horse was being touted as a leading player for the King George and possibly even the Gold Cup. Paul Nicholls has taken his time with this horse and this race as long been the aim for his reappearance, he will be primed and ready to run well. His jumping style is accurate yet fast and he seems ideally suited to ground with give in it. Conditions should be ideal, the small field shouldn’t prove too much of a concern and he has already experienced the demands of Ascot. There is a lot to like about this horses’ chances!
The trio of runners is completed by French Opera (9/1 Ladbrokes). As previously stated this horse was last victorious in 2011 when he won the Grade 2 Celebration Chase at Sandown. Since then he has failed to cut it in this grade and it is difficult to see him change that on this occasion. Arguably best suited on ground with not to much give in it, this horse doesn’t have particularly good record fresh and it isn’t difficult to see why he’s the outsider of the three. He does have the benefit of receiving weight all round but it would be a thoroughly disappointing result if he were good enough to win this.
It’s no real surprise to see me tip up the favourite in this contest. Some might argue that my selection is a little too obvious but I'm here to find winners and to advise on what I perceive is the best bet of the day. Al Ferof is an intriguing horse as he clearly has the potential to be very smart performer. It is a thorough shame we didn't get to see him for the rest of the 2012/13 season however i’m confident that he will make amends and pick up this prize on his way to better things. Paul Nicholls farmed this race with Master Minded and he will be hoping that Al Ferof can pick up where that horse left off. Im sure the price will put many off but for me this is as sound a bet as you could possibly ask for.
AL FEROF (WIN) (5/6 bet365)