The Grade One Long Walk Hurdle headlines the Saturday card at Ascot, while there is some further good action up at Haydock to get stuck into.

Our resident tipster, Nick Luck, is back with his thoughts and selections…

Ascot

SULLY D’OC (7/1) might be the safest answer to a tricky question for the first TV race at Ascot on Saturday (1.50pm). This is a track that has brought the best out of this horse in the past, notably when an excellent third here two starts back on similar ground. The key today is a return to this intermediate distance that could well squeeze out a pound or two more. Newbury was a bit of a non-event last time, but most of his best form has come right-handed and he’s just eased down the weights a few pounds this season.

PAISLEY PARK is too big a price at 13/2 in the Long Walk (2.25pm). I can understand entirely the notion that he’s on the downgrade, but he has not really had a chance to shine this season: he was clearly badly in need of his first run at Wetherby, while cheekpieces had an adverse effect at Newbury: he raced too enthusiastically on a sharp pace and ran his race upside down. A tongue tie replaces pieces here: clutching at straws, perhaps, but this sterner test has proved his bag twice in the past and I am keen to swim against the tide for one last hurrah.

GRAND SANCY makes most appeal in the Howden Silver Cup (3.00pm) at 7/1. To my eye, he has been crying out for a proper trip for a while, and his run at Newbury only encouraged that thought. In addition, he was one of the only chasers at that meeting to make any significant ground from off the pace, and he did so under a fairly circumspect ride behind a runaway-winning stable companion. This is a fairly exposed bunch, and I fancy Cloth Cap and Checkitout might give him most to think about.

DROP THE ANCHOR makes a bit of each-way appeal at 14/1 in the finale (3.35pm). There are several progressive possibilities here – and I’d even entertain Goshen if the ground softened a bit – but the selection ran a lovely race behind Belfast Banter at the Festival last season off the back of victory in the Ladbrokes at the Dublin Racing Festival. The hurly burly of a race like this clearly suits very well, he looks perfectly well handicapped, and came back with a lovely spin on the Flat that should have put him spot-on for this.

Haydock

STELLAR MAGIC should be very competitive in the first TV race at Haydock (2.05pm) at 3/1. He travelled like a very smart horse when winning a deep race at Taunton last year, after which Cheltenham aspirations were entertained. The wheels fell off completely at Warwick when slightly uneasy in the market, bit this is a very realistic level to be returning at and he warrants maximum respect.

ENQARDE is a speculative suggestion in the Tommy Whittle (2.40pm), a race in which he was moving pretty sweetly when unseating his rider last year. He made no mistake at Ascot off this sort of mark next time, but has been pretty hit and miss since. That said, he hasn’t really had conditions to suit, and a return to something genuinely testing makes him a much more interesting proposition at 11/1.