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No runners yesterday as a result of the bad weather we are experiencing in the UK. Redcar went ahead, but nothing really stood out for me, so I decided to leave it.
Ascot 1:50 – Run To Freedom 25/1 (0.5pt EW Bet365 4pl)
Over the years this race has been open to a few shocks, so I wouldn't discourage anyone from backing an outsider in this race. I've not looked at the odds at the time of writing, but I do think Run To Freedom will be decently priced and I think he goes to Ascot with a nice chance with the rain surely being in his favour.
He was 2nd in this race last year and has since finished 2nd in the July Cup, both times there has been juice in the ground. He is best seen to effect when the rain gets into the ground, hence why I'm happy to ignore his runs on faster ground in between. He did manage to win a Listed race on fast ground this year, but I think he can get away with that type of level on ground he doesn't prefer, but at the top level he has to have things spot on for him to have a chance, and thankfully the rain has come at the right time. This race would've been the main aim since the July Cup, as he managed to finish 2nd in this race last year at odds of 150/1.
Kinross is the one to beat based on his known form and recent form, he has been a superb horse for connections and on soft ground it allows him to run well over 6f, when his ideal trip is definitely 7f. As for the rest of the field, it's wide open as to what has the next best chance, I believe that is Run To Freedom.
Ascot 2:25 – Jackie Oh 7/2 (1pt)
For this race it has been best to side with the 3yo's as they have a tremendous record in this race, winning 8 out of the last 10 renewals and the last six in a row. There are some very solid older horses in this, but Jackie Oh really catches the eye on her first attempt over 12f.
I've always liked Jackie Oh, but I never thought she was going to be a Group 1 horse so to see her prove me wrong when she battered my selection in a Group 3 in July and then to see her finish 2nd in a Group 2 and Group 1 since is nice to see. Her best run was undoubtedly last time out at Longchamp when she finished a strong finishing 2nd to Blue Rose Cen who is arguably my favourite horse in training. That was a huge performance and it boded well for the future over further trips like today. She seems best on testing ground, so the ground will be ideal for her today, it's obviously an unknown this trip, but she is by Galileo who we know stay very well and are battlers, so I think she will find the improvement needed over this trip to win her first Group 1 race for Aidan O'Brien and Ryan Moore.
Ascot 3:05 – Nashwa 4/1 (1pt Bet365)
When the Gosden's decided to drop Nashwa down to a mile many thought it was last chance saloon as she seemed to had lost her way and many doubted it, but she put in a career best performance in the Group 1 at Newmarket in July when smashing the field by 5L. For some reason, they decided to put her back up in trip and though she has run well in defeat, I thought they might've kept her over a mile, but I guess they were trying to avoid clashing her with stablemate Inspiral.
I'm glad she back over a mile for the first time since that Group 1 win as she can be keen in her races and that doesn't suit her running over longer trips, she stays the trips out well but her final run to challenge for the win often cuts out because of her early exuberance, so the drop to a mile seems best for her as she can travel through the race and have that finishing kick. She has a very nice turn of foot as well, whether she can show that on soft ground, I'm not sure, but I definitely believe she handles this surface as she was 2nd over 10f in a Group 1 last October on soft ground and her pedigree is perfectly fine with the ground being by Frankel and out of a Pivotal mare.
Ascot 4:25 – Migration 10/1 (0.5pt EW PaddyPower 5pl)
We're going to need plenty of luck in running, so I'm hoping they just run down the middle of track so it leaves plenty of chances for Migration to get through the pack.
Going for the top weight in a race of this nature, when he's carrying 10st 1lbs and the ground is going to be like a swamp come the final race might seem a bit ridiculous but this horse has the class to win this race off his current mark. He has been lightly campaigned this year by David Menuisier, but I know for a fact the yard think highly of this horse and he showed that he is very capable of winning handicaps off huge weights when he did it at the opening meeting of the flat season at Doncaster under Benoit De La Sayette. The ground was heavy at Doncaster and he powered home under Benoit, and I'll be hoping for something similar, albeit, it will be tougher in today's race as he is running off a lot higher mark, but him hitting the frame is definitely not impossible.
Ascot - 1:50 pm
25/1 @ Bet365
Ascot - 2:25 pm
7/2 @ PaddyPower
Ascot - 3:05 pm
4/1 @ Bet365
Ascot - 4:25 pm