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Ascot Chase best bet (15:36): Pic D’Orhy to give L’Homme Presse a run for his money

As seems to be the current trend, just four runners line up for the biggest Grade 1 prize of the day, but nonetheless the Ascot Chase could well provide us with plenty of racing drama.

15:36 Ascot: Betfair Ascot Chase (2 miles furlongs)

Odds-on favourite L’Homme Presse was quickly into his stride this term, returning from a 13-month break to finish comfortably clear of Protektorat to land the Fleur De Lys Chase at Lingfield a month ago.

That was the seventh win in eight completed rides for Venetia Williams’ lightly-raced nine-year-old, and he holds strong claims to use this as a stepping stone for a tilt at next month’s Gold Cup. 

Standing in his way is the very capable Paul Nicholls-trained Pic D’Orhy, who has finished behind just two rivals in seven outings since October 2022, the first of which was Shishkin in this very race a year ago.

Suggested best bet: Pic D’Orhy in the 15:36 at Ascot

 

The nine-year-old went on to Grade 1 success in the Marsh Chase at Aintree a month later, and made a successful start to this campaign when landing a Grade 2 chase over this course and distance in November.

Pic D'Orhy was last seen finishing a close-up second behind Banbridge in the Silviniaco Conti Chase at Kempton five weeks ago, and he certainly has the class to upset the favourite’s Gold Cup plans, especially under the presence of in-form Harry Cobden, who has landed four winners from his last seven completed rides, including two at Fakenham on Friday. 

WATCH: Harry Cobden previews his seven Ascot rides on his Planet Sport Bet blog

Of the other two runners, Ahoy Senor appears to be the only one capable of splitting the favourites, and it should not be forgotten that he was running and jumping well in even stronger company in last year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup before falling five out. 

Excuses could also be made for his last outing three weeks ago when a serious tack issue did him no favours when finishing fourth in the Cotswold Chase, although even with Derek Fox returning to the saddle, Lucinda Russell’s nine-year-old will struggle to live with the two market principals if they are on song. 

Last and probably least, while it’s never wise to discount a horse from the Skelton camp, it’s hard to make any kind of case for Sail Away, and with not even an each-way place up for grabs it would be brave bettor who puts win-only money on his 50/1 price tag in this company.

READ MORE: Saturday ITV racing tips: Best bets for Ascot, Haydock and Wincanton on February 17

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