7 go in this Maiden hurdle race at Ascot. Complete Unknown for Paul Nicholls goes into this race as market favourite currently. Placed in his 2 starts under rules so far this season will have more race experience than a few of these and that is probably why he is currently favourite. I think he could get caught out by one of the newcomers and Nicholls record at Ascot in recent seasons is patchy to say the least. Although slightly better this season.
City Chief was bought for £210,000 For Nicky Henderson after winning his point in May hard to tell what he beat that way as nothing in that point to point has come out and won anything or placed of anything to note. Of course, could also need the run.
Nicky Henderson has another runner in this race in The Queens colour in Kincardine was seen last time out at Newbury although well beaten may strip fitter for that run. I just believe Kincardine will want a further trip.
The horse I like purely because it's a slightly bigger price and I feel has a bit of value to is Jamie Snowdown Soldier Of Destiny money has come in for Soldier Of Destiny was 10/1 in places and at time of writing is around 15/2. So has been backed in a fair bit. Soldier Of Destiny won his point to point by an impressive 20 lengths recently in November and changed hands of the back of that. Also ran at Punchestown last season in a race with Cape Gentleman who hasn't turned out to be a bad horse running and winning races in good company.
Jamie Snowdown had a winner this week after a horse changing yards for him. So, he knows how to get a horse ready first time out under him. Soldier Of Destiny is reasonably race sharp albeit in a point-to-point race and it is a step up to what he is facing in recent times. But I don't think is without a shout at an each way price.
A really competitive looking race and you could make a case for a every horse here.
Jonbon is the short price favourite unbeaten 2 in 2 under rules. But will have questions to answer today as this is much bigger test to his Supreme Novice Hurdles credentials. There is lots to like about Jonbon at Newbury making pretty much the running from the far end of the track to the winning line.
I believe you'll see the best Jonbon over fences and has had it all his own way so far in his races. You always want to see what a horse has got when under a bit of pressure and were yet to see that. I just think at the price he is worth taking on.
Knappers Hill faces his biggest test to date. Impressive and Wincanton and Chepstow this season. will certainly run his race and its hard-to-find fault with a horse that has won 5 out of 5 under rules goes into the race with a massive chance and between Knappers Hill & Jonbon I think Knapper Hill holds more value.
I Like To Move It is another unbeaten over hurdles and has won a grade 2 to date this season. Certainly, looks a big each way price around 9/1. The only Mare in the race Elle Est Belle a listed winner last time out at Newbury is up against the boys this time out and hasn't done that to many times before. Although she does get few pounds off all her opponents today This is the first time she goes on a right-handed track.
My selection though would be Colonel Mustard the Irish raider comes over to Ascot to face some really tough rivals but arguably has the strongest piece of form finishing 2nd in a grade 1 over in Ireland to Echoes In Rain who faced some tough company already this season. wasn't far behind Echoes In Rain that day and Colonel Mustard certainly has a big win in him.
Colonel Mustard was last seen winning at Galway couple months back so won't be lacking any race fitness. Just think it's very interesting Lorna Fowler to bring Colonel Mustard over here and the price looks quite big at nearly a double figure price at the time of writing. Whoever wins here will certainly shorten up in price for the Supreme Novice Hurdle come March so its an interesting race to watch.
written by Luke Tucker