Saturday 15:35 - Ascot

Focus on the favourite

Politologue (11/8)

Politologue heads the market and the Timeform ratings having posted impressive, wide-margin wins in the Champion Chase and the Tingle Creek on his two most recent outings.

Politologue did not win a strong Champion Chase – Altior and Chacun Pour Soi were notable absentees, while Defi du Seuil flopped badly – but it was still impressive how he went about his business, putting in an excellent round of jumping and dominating his rivals from the outset on his way to a nine-and-a-half-length success.

The Tingle Creek was also a weaker affair than is often the case – Altior was again a late absentee – but Politologue posted a likeable performance on his reappearance, typically jumping well and putting stablemate Greaneteen, a progressive handicapper, in his place by seven lengths.

Politologue may now be a ten-year-old, but his efforts in the Champion Chase and Tingle Creek show that he is operating at the peak of his powers. He has won on two of his three starts at this venue, handles testing ground well and trainer Paul Nicholls is in superb form, so it's difficult to pick holes in his chance.

An outsider to consider

Fanion d'Estruval (16/1)

Fanion d'Estruval is rated 15 lb behind Politologue and has never contested a Grade 1, but he is the only runner in this line-up with the Timeform 'p' attached to his rating, which means he is considered capable of showing improved form.

Indeed, Fanion d'Estruval may be rated higher had he completed in the Peterborough Chase last time as he was poised to deliver a serious challenge when coming down at the third-last. Fanion d'Estruval impressed with how strongly he travelled last time and, after only four starts for Venetia Williams, has not yet shown everything he has to offer.

A stat to note

Waiting Patiently's career-best rating was achieved over two miles

Waiting Patiently finished strongly in the King George VI Chase over three miles last time and his only Grade 1 success was achieved over two miles and five furlongs at this venue. However, the versatile Waiting Patiently certainly has the speed to make an impact over this sort of trip as he produced his best effort on Timeform ratings when a close-up third to Defi du Seuil in last season's Tingle Creek Chase over two miles.

Waiting Patiently's combination of speed and stamina could be a useful asset on this testing ground.

The Verdict

Politologue will take plenty of stopping if in anything like the same form as when landing a second Tingle Creek last month. He doesn’t have Harry Skelton in the saddle, a rider who has got such a good tune out of him the last twice, but Harry Cobden is an excellent replacement. With doubts about the current form of Defi du Seuil, the obvious threat is King George runner-up Waiting Patiently, who showed he has the speed for two miles when third in last season's Tingle Creek.

Timeform weight-adjusted ratings:

  • 183 Politologue
  • 182 Defi du Seuil
  • 181 Waiting Patiently
  • 173 Duc des Genievres
  • 169 First Flow
  • 168p Fanion d'Estruval

Politologue - 1pt @ 11/8