WAITING PATIENTLY (3.35) faces his acid test when going to post for the Betfair Ascot Chase.
Ruth Jefferson saddled her first winner since taking over the licence from her late dad Malcolm when Cyrus Darius romped home in the Morebattle Hurdle at Kelso on Thursday and Waiting Patiently deserves a crack at Grade 1 company following six straight victories.
He has something to find on official figures with Top Notch, Cue Card, Coney Island and Frodon, but Waiiting Patiently remains a seven-year-old with untapped potential.
KILDISART (3.00) boasts a course and distance success and should be nice and fresh following a 53-day break.
His last run came at Kempton on Boxing Day when chasing home Golan Fortune over 2m 5f. He was attempting to concede 10lb to the winner and Golan Fortune came out and won again. Ben Pauling has his yard in cracking form following a mid-season lull and Kildisart should run a big race.
BLAKLION (3.15) can go one better than last year and land the Betfred Grand National Trial at muddy Haydock.
He ran into a bang-in-form Vieux Lion Rouge 12 months ago and races off a 9lb higher perch. However, Nigel Twiston-Davies’s gelding arrives in great nick having fairly sluiced through the Aintree mud to land the Becher Chase by a wide margin from The Last Samuri.
The Dutchman has been thumped by the handicapper following his course victory in last month’s Peter Marsh Chase, rocketing 13lb up the ratings.
Wild West Wind and Three Faces West both fell when bowling along in front on their last racecourse appearances but are usually sound jumpers.
Jefferson could enjoy a red letter day if BLACK IVORY (3.50) can continue his progression in the 2m 7f Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle.
The six-year-old beat a solid yardstick in Sykes over 3m 1f at Warwick and lowered the colours of Le Breuil at Aintree on heavy ground back in January. Black Ivory remains on a feasible mark and Jamie Hamilton takes off 3lb.
De Rasher Counter was in the process of running a stormer when coming down at the last flight in a hot novices’ hurdle at Cheltenham. Winner Santini and runner-up Black Ops are very useful but to run salt into his wounds, De Rasher Counter has been raised a whopping 16lb by the assessor.
Nicky Henderson is usually the man to follow on a Saturday and CHEF DES OBEAUX (4.25) will be very hard to beat in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle.
He strolled home from the Paul Nicholls-trained favourite Secret Investor at Kempton over three miles early last month and is one to follow.
- Ascot 3.35 – Waiting Patiently (9-4, Ladbrokes)
- Ascot 3.00 – Kildisart (7-2, William Hill)
- Haydock 3.15 – Blaklion (5-2, Stan James)
- Haydock 3.50 – Black Ivory (3-1, Paddy Power)
- Hasydock 4.25 – Chef Des Obeaux (6-5, Betfair)
Johnb's Saturday Tips
- Ascot 2:25 – Gold Present 9-4 NAP/NB (double stake)
- Ascot 3:00 – Dieg Man 3-1
- Lingfield 3:30 – Reflektor 10-3
- Ascot 3:35 – Coney Island 4-1