Value At Risk to bounce back from chasing disappointment at Ascot
Ascot and Haydock both hold stellar cards on Saturday with plenty of handicaps for punters to get stuck into
The Ascot 2:25 is the most hotly-contested race of the afternoon with 18 runners set to go to post.
Selection for the race goes to Value At Risk, who looks to bounce back from a disappointing start to his chasing career.
He was seen as one of the hottest prospects for top novice chasing honours, but that has been put to one side after falling in both chase starts.
He comes back over hurdles on Saturday and looks well weighted. He runs off a mark of 142 which could underestimate him. His final run in novice hurdles came in the Albert Bartlett, when he finished a very respectable fifth.
With only three starts over hurdles he could still have room for progress. He has previously won over two miles and three furlongs so this distance should hold no worries.
His main challenge could come from Richard Johnson’s mount, Rock The Kasbah. He has only ever been outside of the first three once under rules.
Rock The Kasbah started the season with a good second in a good handicap at Chepstow. Saturday’s race is a similar event and this experience will hold him in good stead.
He then went on to win impressively at Haydock last time out and he appears to be on the up. He seems ground versatile so Saturday’s soft conditions should pose no problems.
Side with Salubrious in Ascot 3:35
Salubrious has only had three starts over fences and has recorded victories in two of them.
His other run came at Ascot last month in a tough handicap where he eventually faded into sixth. That run still warrants plenty of respect, though, especially when looking at the horses he competed against.
When combining the fact that he has been dropped two lbs in the handicap for that run and that this race appears weaker than the previous one, he looks to have a solid chance.
He competed over three miles last time out and faded near the finish. He is dropping back to two miles and five furlongs on Saturday which could be another positive. He has previously shown some very good hurdles form over this distance.
Another horse who could provide competition in this race is Minella Reception. He has only had two starts over fences and looks unlucky not to have a 100 per cent record.
He made a winning debut at Ffos Lass in August 2014 before missing the rest of that season. He returned at Haydock last month and looked to be travelling very well when falling three from home.
He runs off only 10-01 on Saturday with Jamie Bargary using his five lbs claim. He could run well from near the bottom of the handicap and provide Salubrious with competition for the main prize.
Peter Marsh Chase to go the way of Fingal Bay
Fingal Bay has put in a succession of solid efforts this season and could finally get his head in front at Haydock on Saturday.
He is becoming slightly expensive to follow with only one win over fences, but if everything goes right he is more than capable of winning a good prize.
He is currently 5/1 to bag that prize on Saturday and his form ties in with another leading fancy in the form of Virak.
Virak finished three quarters of a length ahead of him last time out and was also giving him 2lbs. However, Fingal Bay receives 10 lbs in weight on Saturday and that should be enough to see him finish on front of that rival.
Fingal Bay has also put in solid efforts in two more races this season including the Hennessy Gold Cup.
Another challenger on Saturday could be Reve De Sivola, who is is currently a 4/1 chance for Saturday’s race.
We have become more accustomed to seeing him over hurdles in recent years and his last chase race was in 2011.
If he can convert some of his top hurdles form to fences then he looks very well handicapped. He runs off a mark of 139 on Saturday which is 21 lbs below his current mark over hurdles.
However, the length of time since his last run over fences would be a big worry.