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15:00 Ascot – Aldaary
This is the toughest test of his career but there’s plenty of signs that Aldaary could be better than a handicapper as he enters that company after two wins in novice stakes races.
He steps into handicap company off a rating of 93 after two easy wins on heavy ground. The softer ground at Ascot should also suit as his pedigree suggests. The second of those wins at Leicester was impressive on the clock too, so we know he’s plenty of ability even if he hasn’t beaten much.
He steps up to a mile from 6 furlongs, which could eek out even more improvement and despite only seven declared, three of them are likely to set the pace.
Aldaary has all the attributes of a horse who should be competing in far better races by the end of the season and I’ll be surprised if he can’t take this handicap en route.
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15:30 Ascot – Marly
Marly is worth taking a swing at again despite a very disappointing run on her last start at Newmarket but returning to a big-field handicap, but I’m willing to forgive her that.
This course and distance will suit her as she wants a strongly run six or seven furlongs to be at her best and the stiff nature of the finish at Ascot should suit her too. She’ll like the rain-softened ground and any more rain that arrives will help her chances.
She can tack over from stall 10 and follow the pace at to give her a good tow into the race while a couple of the protagonists who are drawn high may have to do all of the donkey work.
Her mark has come down 5lbs since arriving from France at the start of the season and she’s more than capable of running of a big race under these conditions.