14:00 Ascot

This is a competitive field but with no real star quality among this year’s line-up, I quite fancy CREATIVE FORCE (best price 13-2) to go close in the Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes with the presence of William Buick in the saddle. 

William Buick will need all the ammunition he can get to win the jockey’s championship on the final day of the season but this three-year-old has flourished this term, who completed a four-timer in the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot. You can forget his last run in the Sprint Cup Stakes as he stumbled leaving the stalls and that clearly magnified in a race of that calibre as it surely took a lot out of him having used up a lot of early petrol to get himself back into contention. He was still in with a chance at the furlong pole, however, so it was a great effort regardless of that incident and he’d earlier rattled home to finish fifth in the July Cup when hot on the heels of the consistent Dragon Symbol. He’s been behind Art Power on a couple of occasions but the combination of this ground allied with a stiffer track should play to his strengths and he’s entitled to be involved in the finish with five places on offer, though both Brando and Dragon Symbol are feared.

Creative Force - 0.5pts e/w @ 13/2

15:20 Market Rasen

I always find that experience of this circuit, allied to the ease in ratings can prove beneficial at the Lincolnshire venue and, with that in mind, CASABLANCA MIX (best price 4-1) jumps out of the page and is worth an interest for the Nicky Henderson team. 

Her form figures at this venue reads a solid 121 from three outings including when she won the Summer Plate over today’s course-and-distance by a staggering eight-lengths off this mark in 2019. She was then second on her reappearance at Chepstow and matched that form when second on return to this venue. She was a little disappointing when last spotted at Doncaster but is a much better mare going left-handed as her form figures this way round reads 21F22312 in addition to right-handed venues which reads 43901144 (both wins were weak events). She tends to race very lazily but providing Nico can keep her interested and build up ahead of steam when the race begins to take shape, the assured stamina from this classy nine-year-old might come into effect at the business end of the outcome. 

Casablanca Mix - 1pt @ 4/1

15:20 Market Rasen

GORTROE JOE (best price 15-2) is another one who likes it around here and looked as good as ever when runner-up three weeks ago over today’s course-and-distance, where he was only worn down late on by a well-handicapped rival when well clear of rest. Fergal O’Brien’s charge is only one of a couple with a run under his belt and, from only a pound higher mark, the nine-year-old gets a strong each-way vote to potentially make it win number three at the Lincolnshire venue. 

He has built up a good association with claimer Liam Harrison, as the pair teamed up to win twice last year and this capable sort had well back over hurdles to finish second at Perth behind subsequent winner, Minella Trump, and was then an excellent second by Evander before resuming here over fences last time when only collared late on having jumped well and travelled like the best horse in the race for a long, long way. He saves his best for good ground with form figures on the surface reading 3122F1322 and, granted similar-positive tactics now that he’s fully tuned-up, this course-specialist may go one better and looks great each-way material. 

Gortroe Joe - 0.5pts e/w @ 15/2

16:30 Ascot

Sunrise Major will take some beating, of course, but the Joseph O’Brien-trained RAISE YOU (best price 18-1) looks to have been aimed at this race for quite some time which is why we haven’t seen him in nearly three-months and has each-way possibilities at insulting odds especially if Dylan Browne McMonagle can navigate his mount through that mass field with six places available. 

He ran in the same Galway handicap as last year’s Balmoral winner Njord en route to this contest and would have finished a lot closer without a rough passage, too. He goes particularly well fresh which is another positive sign and I don’t think a high draw will inconvenience him, either, while he remains open to improvement on just his third outing in handicaps. With plenty of positives in his favour, his forecast price is more than fair from an each-way perspective in my view against the favourite.

Raise You - 0.5pts e/w @ 18/1

16:30 Ascot

The Roger Teal-trained KENZAI WARRIOR (best price 33-1), who was seemed good enough to contest last year’s 2000 Guineas in which he finished a creditable ninth, firmly got back on track when winning seventeen days ago and, although he’s under a penalty, this former Group 3 winner could go well at a huge price now that his confidence has been restored with six places on offer. 

He was a winner of both his starts as a two-year-old and was far from discredited when ninth of 15 in the 2000 Guineas. He failed to match the form in three subsequent starts but gets into this valuable contest from a workable mark despite incurring a penalty for his win on the all-weather at Kempton Park last month and will appreciate the ease in the ground with Hollie Doyle in the saddle. He shouldn’t be taken lightly considering this race should be run to suit and he’ll likely be coming home strongly which makes him an appealing each-way proposition in the finale. 

Kenzai Warrior - 0.5pts e/w @ 33/1

16:35 Ffos Las

A lot to consider in a typically-competitive renewal of the Welsh Champion Hurdle but I am drawn to the claims of both 2019 winner MONSIEUR LECOQ (best price 20-1) and Scottish Champion Hurdle fourth CALICO (best price 10-3) with four places widely available for the former. 

The price tag about the former, Monsieur Lecoq, significantly underestimates his chances here given he’d won this two years ago from a two-pound higher mark on seasonal reappearance and, although he was a distance third the last time he ran in this sphere, the seven-year-old’s form figures here read 112 so this track clearly plays to his strengths and he sneaks in here off a very light 10-6 when you take Chester Williams’ three pound claim into consideration. If aided by the cheekpieces’ he could prove dangerous at a price and makes more appeal than the odds would indicate in this given he’s established himself to be a smart hurdler at his best and is also the only course-and-distance winner in the field which should count for plenty for this former winner of the race. 

The Dan Skelton-trained inmate, Calico, impressed in winning twice during a light first hurdles campaign and he looks well-treated off a mark of 139 on his first run since wind surgery. He was sent off just 11/4 when a close-up second in the Grade 2 Sky Bet Dovecote Novices' Hurdle on just his second hurdling start and was last seen finishing fourth off this mark on handicap bow in the Scottish Champion Hurdle at Ayr when last seen in April where he would have probably finished second at the very least without two costly mistakes late on. This has likely been his early season target and given how well he adapted to his first season as a hurdler, this strong-travelling gelding by Soldier Hollow rates a fascinating contender, especially if those late errors have been ironed out. 

Monsieur Lecoq - 0.5pts e/w @ 16/1
Calico - 1pt @ 10/3