Our resident pundit has four bets, including a two-point nap at Ascot.
Some very promising types going forward in this intriguing novices event, but the form horse by a mile is LASER LIGHT (NAP) (best price 13-8) and he’s strongly fancied to follow up his impressive Chepstow success. Winner of a bumper at Towcester on his only start last season, Alan King’s charge began this campaign and his hurdling career in the best possible fashion by lowering the colours of a useful field in the manner of horse who has a big future. In staying on strongly in the latter stages (still green under pressure), the son of Kutub clocked a fast speed figure in victory and with the second, third and fifth all going on to advertise the form subsequently, the performance rates a totally believable one.
AURILLAC (best price 9-2) left the impression he should have won at Chepstow on his chasing debut and he’s given the vote to put that notion to the test off what looks a workable mark on handicap debut. A useful hurdler last season, Rebecca Curtis’ inmate just going too late on his first start over fences 41 days ago, but he did more than enough to suggest a bright career awaits him in this discipline and a sound round of jumping here can reap instant rewards.
OSCAR KNIGHT (best price 3-1) won with quite a bit to spare at Galway last time out and although the handicapper hasn’t missed him, he looks up to defying that significant hike. After momentarily looking in trouble going down to two out at Ballybrit track, Thomas Mullins’ inmate soon snapped back on the bridle coming up the hill and needing only to be nudged out hands and heels, he was clearly way too good for the opposition on the day. Given that was his first outing for 215 days, the son of Oscar is entitled to come on for the run and having plenty of previous back-class at today’s track, it all adds up for him to figure prominently.
ROYAL REGATTA’s (best price 14-1) two best performances last season came over today’s C&D and he is worth a shy at the stumps at a big price to find out whether a return to the Berkshire venue will allow him to be competitive against this kind of company. Impressive in the first-time blinkers when slamming Mala Beach in a graduation chase back in December, Philip Hobbs’ charge did nothing wrong when just touched off by the well-weighted Dare Me back at the same track at month later and although he was ultimately well beaten by Silviniaco Conti on his final outing of the campaign, he probably paid for trying to force a very strong pace from the outset. Looking as though badly in need of the run when slightly below-par on his seasonal return against similar opponents to today’s 27 days ago, the son of King’s Theatre has conditions in his favour to out-strip his double-figure quotes.