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Novice Zig to show elders the way in Ascot Chase

13 Feb | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Novice Zig to show elders the way in Ascot Chase

Paul Nicholls' future star can follow in the footsteps of Kauto Star

The Ascot Chase on Saturday looks a top quality contest even if we only have 6 runners to go through and given there are so few going to post the betting actually has a relatively competitive look to it.

There could be an interesting battle for favouritism on Saturday in this race with Paul Nicholls’ Ptit Zig at 2/1 just edging things over night from 3/1 shot Balder Succes.

The pair are the only two runners to come into this off the back of a victory however Balder Succes’ last victory was his first this year whereas Ptit Zig is unbeaten in all 4 starts this season.

Ptit Zig is well suited by this course having recorded a win and 2nd here and it’s hard to fault any of his impressive victories this campaign. Drying ground might be a slight concern for this extremely promising novice but overnight rain on Friday should ensure that isn’t a problem and Ptit Zig does have the look of a solid betting proposition here.

Balder Succes hasn’t quite lived up to expectations this season but still comes into the race as the highest rated runner.

He won an uncompetitive race over this sort of trip last time out but has done most of his running over shorter. If he continues to prove better over this trip than 2 miles then he could be a big threat in the Ryanair at Cheltenham but Ptit Zig has so much untapped potential it is hard to oppose the favourite here.

Ptit Zig has only 3lbs to find with Balder Succes on official ratings which is impressive when comparing a 6yo to an 8yo.

Ballycasey and Ma Filleule, both 4/1 shots, will have their own little battle going on for third favouritism and if the overnight gamble on the former is anything to go by Ballycasey is more likely to be challenging for second favouritism than dropping to down to be fourth favourite.

Connections of Ma Filleule are hoping the mare develops into a Grand National contender and she’s not short of stamina so a relatively small field contest over this trip might find her out. Ballycasey is very talented but has serious questions to answer after a lifeless display last time out.

The return to this trip will suit but he’s short enough in the betting. If the money continues to come he’d be more interesting.

That leaves unfancied pair Rajdhani Express (18/1) and Theatre Guide (33/1). The latter has more than 10lbs improvement to find in this company and there is little evidence that he’ll find that from anywhere whilst Rajdhani Express would have a squeak on last year’s form but he’s shown next to nothing this term.

No prizes for originality but Ptit Zig looks the most likely winner with Balder Success likely to give him most to do over this longer trip. Paul Nicholls hasn’t dominated this race like many others in recent years but it’s worth noting that his last winner of the race, in 2008, was none other than Kauto Star.

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