Think it’s a powder dry weekend in all honesty. The handicaps aren’t exactly over subscribed and the Graded races look trappy, as ever for this time of the season. For what it’s worth, I think Ma Filleule could be the best thing of the day for connections that have won the race before. As for the Charlie Hall, Cue Card is there to be taken on with Many Clouds and Ballynagour but small stakes all round. The staying handicap chase is worth a go and Ned Stark, Le Reve and What A Warrior are right up on the list. The latter has shortened since the market opened but still represents a decent bet given he should get an easy lead. He is up 5lb from when winning this last year but that’s still within him and he won first up last term at Ludlow. He was taken on up top at Cheltenham and that put paid to his chances but hopefully he’ll be left alone here on ground that will suit.
Also at Ascot and also form the Skelton yard is Bellenos who was fancied for this race 12 months ago. A course and distance winner, he had a disappointing season but the summer break may have done him good and he looks well treated. Hopefully he’s ridden with a little restraint as there is pace on and that's seen him off in the past when racing prominently. His mark looks handy and he’s well worth chancing at a decent price. I thought he travelled well last time, if a little keen, before an error 4 out ended his race and the pace on here should help him settle.
14:40 Down Royal
This could be silly but Roi Du Mee might just spring a surprise at Down Royal at a lofty price. Rocky Creek is unlikely to be fully wound up and Gordon Elliott’s 2nd string is very much 2nd best of the field on the day for me. He’ll have to go some to reverse Punchestown form with Don Cossack but I like Ruby as a jockey booking and he could pile it on up top. If Cossack makes an error, and it's a big if, Roi Du Mee may take some catching at a course he likes. He'll likely get beat but I think he’s overpriced given how the race should unfold.