14:30 Ascot

For those of us clutching decent ante-post dockets about Le Brivido, everything looks set fair for a big performance. A little edgy in the preliminaries according to some good paddock watchers before the Lockinge at Newbury, it could pay just to monitor his antics beforehand this afternoon, as he wouldn’t want to be wasting any vital energy prior to going down to post. Just in case he does do something crazy, it therefore may pay just to have a little insurance up our sleeves on something else and the one who makes the most appeal at a big price is ONE MASTER (best price 25-1).

Since landing a listed prize over seven-furlongs here two years ago, William Haggas’ mare has gone from strength to strength and following a breakthrough success in the Group 1 Prix De La Foret she’s settled down nicely into life at the very highest level. Unlucky in the Breeder’s Cup Mile at Churchhill Downs, the five-year-old was unsuited by how the race panned out in the Hong Kong Mile at Sha Tin and she was then put away for a winter break. Back into the fray at the Curragh a month ago, the daughter of Fastnet Rock looked like playing a big role in the finish until her absence took its toll late on and she faded in the last 100yds to finish a close-up fourth behind stable mate Beshaayir. Hopefully all the better in every department for that outing, she should arrive here at fever-pitch and with unbeaten record of three wins from three runs when there’s been plenty of give underfoot, any further easing in the ground due to the forecast showers would greatly increase here chances.

One Master - 0.5pts e/w @ 25/1

15:05 Ascot

As ever, some pretty smart juveniles on show who’ve already shown they have the requisite skills for a race of this nature, none more so than ARIZONA (best price 3-1) who impressed with the way he went about his work at the Curragh last time out.

Setting his own fractions right from the start, Aidan O’Brien’s colt kept increasing the pace and going through the gears as the race developed and with nothing able to keep tabs with him in the closing stages, it became a pure time trial of him against the clock. Posting a winning time and backend sectionals accordance to the visual impression of the display, the son of No Nay Never marked himself down as a live candidate for this contest and with a long, raking stride one of his main assets, genuine good ground and the galloping nature of the Berkshire venue should really play into his strengths.

Of the others to have clocked a smart time figure, GUILDSMAN (best price 13-2) is another to consider and he makes plenty of appeal in his own right or in the ‘without the favourite’ markets. Well-touted before his debut at Goodwood, things didn’t look too great after a furlong due to a poor start and being hampered for good measure. Quickly regaining his poise, Archie Watson’s inmate arrived on the scene going well two furlongs out and from that point he really kicked in the turbo to pull readily clear to the tune of six lengths. Although he probably didn’t beat a stellar field at the Sussex venue, his numbers suggested he’d run to a fair level, and even though he encounters totally different conditions here this afternoon, he left the impression he won despite the ground on debut.

Arizona - 1pt @ 3/1
Guildsman - 0.5pts e/w @ 13/2

15:40 Ascot

Potentially, a fascinating battle between the Battaash and Blue Point and with the big two in the betting drawn either side of each other in stalls 1 and 12 respectively, which part of the track they end up racing on could have a huge significance in the eventual outcome. At his very best, the former is undoubtedly the better of the pair, but there is just an underlying and nagging doubt as to whether a really stiff five-furlongs is ideal and at his relatively short price, he just isn’t worth the risk.

Although beaten fair and square in this race last year and by Barry Hills’ speedball at Haydock, MABS CROSS (best price 8-1) is never one to totally discount out of hand in a race like this and with some firms offering four places as a nice safety blanket, the consistent mare rates the percentage each-way call at the morning odds. Not as quick into her stride as many of her counterparts, the backend of her races is where Michael Dods’ mare really comes alive and that trait was seen to full effect in last season’s Prix De’Labbeye at Longchamp. Flat to the boards at halfway, the daughter of Dutch Art seemed an unlikely winner, but coming with her customary late thrust she managed to surge past many flagging rivals, including her old rival Battaash, to get up in the dying strides. Unsuited by Haydock’s flat track last time out, a return to a more suitable stiffer course should prove ideal and having yet to finish out of the money in all 15 outings, it’s unlikely she will ruin that stat under ideal conditions.

Mabs Cross - 1pt e/w @ 8/1
Mabs Cross Top 3 Finish - 2pts @ 6/4

16:20 Ascot

Another real ‘Clash Of The Titans’ affair with Irish 2000 Guineas rivals Phoenix Of Spain and Too Darn Hot going head-to-head 24 days on from their previous encounter, but if there is to be a joker in the pack to spoil the party, it could well be KING OF COMEDY (best price 13-2) providing a lid can be kept on his exuberant nature.

Brilliant visually and on the clock when scoring at Yarmouth on his seasonal debut, John Gosden’s colt was a warm order to take the step up in class in his stride in the Group 3 Heron Stakes at Sandown last time out, but after acting the goat going down the Rhododendron Walk before he eventually came onto the track, his bid for glory looked like being derailed. Once down at the start and during the race itself, however, the son of Kingman consented to play ball and the way he quickened to leave his useful rivals for dead inside the final furlong was one of the features of his classy performance. Clearly capable of great things providing his temperament doesn’t get the better of him, King Of Comedy is one of the few in the field with the necessary qualities to beat the main two in the market, and at the prices, he’s worth a roll of the dice to follow the same path as stable mate Without Parole, who took this prize after landing the very same Sandown heat twelve months ago.

King Of Comedy - 0.5pts e/w @ 13/2

17:00 Ascot

Not the strongest renewals by any stretch of the imagination and that means a lightly-raced type from the National Hunt sphere such as Buildmeupbuttercup could take advantage. That said, whether she quite has the profile or qualities of some of Willie Mullins’ previous winners such as Simenon, Clondaw Warrior and Thomas Hobson is open to question, so with that in mind, the percentage call is to look elsewhere in the direction of COEUR DE LION (NAP) (best price 7-1) who can boast plenty of previous in races of this nature.

Desperately unlucky in this race twelve months ago, Alan King’s gelding arrives here via a similar route having taken in competitive staying contests at Newbury and Chester respectively and both his two performances suggest he’s better than ever. Unlucky to bump into the well-handicapped Coeur Blimey at the former venue, the six-year-old gained quick compensation with a relatively straightforward success on the Roodee last time out and with conditions this afternoon likely to prove more suitable than the good-to-firm ground he encountered last year, hope is high that he can better his sixth-place finish at the very least.

Coeur De Lion - 1pt e/w @ 7/1

19:10 Sligo

TEDDY BOY (best price 9-2) must have driven connections up the wall throughout his relatively short career and it’s easy to see why they’ve decided to opt for the headgear in an attempt to try and get his head in front for the first time.

Now 0-11. One could easily make a strong case for him being a wallet-emptier, but it’s probably better to look at the cold hard facts of some of his defeats and pick out the good points. Beaten on merit by Takachancejimmy at Navan two starts ago, Edward Lynam’s four-year-old went back to the scene of that effort a week later and although he could only manage to finish sixth of the 16 runners, that doesn’t tell half the story. Caught up in traffic with nowhere to go approaching the business end of the race, the son of Dandy Man came home with a good deal of purpose once out in the clear, leaving the impression he would have been involved in the finish with a clear run. Hopefully the visors on for the first time will help his levels of concentration here this evening and from a favourable low draw, a clear run through tonight should see him bang on the premises in a race of this fairly modest nature.

Teddy Boy - 1pt e/w @ 9/2