* All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.
A small field of four runners are declared for this maiden hurdle at Ascot where CASCOVA can score for Nicky Henderson and Nico de Boinville. The six-year-old finished down the field behind Envoi Allen in the 2019 Champion Bumper at Cheltenham and has finished second twice in four starts over hurdles.
The son of Casamento is rated superior to both Manvers House and Sopran Thor with the entire field running off level-weights. His second to Good Ball at Newbury over Christmas was a good performance and he comes here having finished in the same position at the Berkshire track earlier this month.
Elsewhere, Manvers House was second to Chantry House last season, while Sopran Thor has been knocking on the door following recent starts at Sandown. It might turn into a tactical affair with Nico de Boinville waiting patiently out the back to strike late for the Seven Barrows team.
The opener at Carlisle has been an excellent novice hurdle for favourite backers with four of the last five managing to win since 2015. This year’s renewal looks a match between HENRY GONDOFF for Jonjo O’Neill and Royal Arcade from the Nicky Richards stable, who race off level weights.
However, the son of Great Pretender is rated 6lbs superior following victory at Wetherby back in January and looks the one to side with again today. The further the six-year-old went the better he looked over this trip at Wetherby, with several subsequent winners enhancing the form in recent months.
Royal Arcade won easily at this track earlier this month, but perhaps the opposition wasn’t the strongest on that occasion. Both stables are in good form at present, but the stamina of Henry Gondoff should come to the fore with the extra few furlongs an unknown for the Richards runner.
There has been plenty of change ahead of the new turf season with the sad passing of both Khalid Abdullah and Sheikh Hamdan, along with the first official winner of the new father and son team of John and Thady Gosden on Friday.
ALPHA KING represents the Gosden pair for the Juddmonte team following two second place finishes on the all-weather with cheekpieces applied here. The son of Kingman was second on debut at Newcastle with both Haveyoumissedme and Tara Iti subsequent winners.
The three-year-old has the fitness edge over most of his rivals in this following his recent second at Lingfield earlier this month. Elsewhere, Benoit De La Sayette takes a valuable 7lbs off the David Menuisier-trained Chateau d’If, while Knowwhentorun looks the main danger to my selection. The Roger Teal-trained runner was second at Leicester and Newbury last October, while Lexington Knight, Artorious and Carolus Magnus should all fight for a place.
- CHECK OUT OUR BRAND NEW SNAZZY RACECARDS FOR EVERY SINGLE RACE TODAY
- … THEN GET ALL THE WINNERS BEFORE ANYONE ELSE WITH OUR FAST RESULTS