THE Challenge Cup takes centre stage at Ascot on Saturday, but there’s Group and Listed action on the side too.
We’ve got you covered with a race by race preview, to help you grab those all important winners.
Race 1 – 1.50pm Duke Of Edinburgh’s Award Rous Stakes (Listed Race)
MUTHMIR is the class act in the field here and should take all the beating in my book.
The ratings have Mr Lupton higher, but with a rematch on the cards after their York exertions, I’m siding with William Haggas here.
His sprinter gets a 5lbs swing in the weights and has a much better Ascot record than Richard Fahey’s horse.
At a bigger price I like Mythmaker and a case can be made for Spring Loaded.
VERDICT – 1. Muthmir 2. Mythmaker 3. Spring Loaded
Race 2 – 2.25pm Stella Artois Cumberland Lodge Stakes (Group 3)
Only five runners to filter through here, but it’s hard to split the two at the top of the betting.
I came down on COMMUNIQUE who continues to go from strength to strength and makes more appeal at the prices.
He picked up his first Listed win last weekend and in theory this Group 3 doesn’t look much trickier.
First Eleven is another on the up though and has won over course and distance. He’ll run Communique very close.
Laraaib should be better than what we’ve seen of him so far this season, with the yard now in much better form.
VERDICT – 1. Communique 2. First Eleven 3. Laraaib
Race 3 – 3.00pm John Guest Racing Bengough Stakes (Group 3)
LIMATO has hinted he’s back to near his best recently. That’s no coincidence, as he’s been dropped back to his sprinting trips.
He’s won his two last starts at Listed level at a relative canter, and although this represents another slight step up he should be far too good again here.
Projection is due a win, but again is likely to to fall just short at this level.
Dream Of Dreams is better than he’s shown recently and could be in the mix again here.
VERDICT – 1. Limato 2. Projection 3. Dream Of Dreams
Race 4 – 3.35pm Challenge Cup (Heritage Handicap)
Ascot specialist RIPP ORF can land another big handicap at the Berkshire track.
The horse loves the stiff finish at Ascot and again teams up with Jason Watson.
Cape Byron is another due a big pot but sneaking up in the weights he may just fall short once again.
At a bigger price Above The Rest looks the wrong price back in a handicap and could be a sneaky one.
VERDICT – 1. Ripp Orf 2. Cape Byron 3. Above The Rest
Race 5 – 4.10pm Neptune Investment Management British EBF October Stakes (Listed Race) (Fillies & Mares)
Come on EIRENE. Dean Ivory has his filly back firing and she travelled beautifully through her last race at Doncaster.
That was a solid effort in Group company and another run like that and she won’t be far away.
Aim Of Artemis is clearly well thought of, having been pitched into Group 1 company on her fourth start. She ran respectably there and could be of huge interest with any support in the betting.
Red Starlight has improved all summer and deserves another crack at a race like this.
VERDICT – 1. Eirene 2. Aim Of Artemis 3. Red Starlight
Race 6 – 4.45pm McGee Group Handicap
HOLMESWOOD looks the ace in this closing handicap for sprint king Michael Dods.
He gets his preferred quicker ground and his form behind El Astronaute gives him a huge shout in this.
Mountain Peak won last time he raced at Ascot and only up 5lbs looks a threat.
Royal Brave has found another lease of life at seven and if continuing his good form will be right in the mix at the line.
VERDICT – 1. Holmeswood 2. Mountain Peak 3. Royal Brave