There’s some fantastic racing on Saturday with Ascot hosting a top-class card, including the Grade One Ascot Chase. At Haydock, meanwhile, the feature is the William Hill-sponsored Grand National Trial.

Nick Luck has previewed the best of the action as well as the Saudi Cup in Riyadh for us.


REMASTERED is the one I like in ITV’s opening race at Ascot on Saturday (1.50pm) at 9/2. Although he’s run plenty, he looks to have a nice future over fences judged on this season’s efforts, where sound jumping and stamina have been strong suits. Bad ground seems to be fine for him and I’d be inclined to take a positive view of his win in a Wetherby match, where he dispatched a pretty useful rival very easily first time after a breathing op.

YALLTARI can reward each-way support at 9/1 in a handicap chase (2.25pm) that is very hard to fathom. There is any amount in here that could spring to life without warning, but I’d prefer to stick to what I know, which is that Venetia Williams’s horse is gradually cycling back to form, is running at a track he likes, and is starting to look quite well-handicapped. I like the booking of Daryl Jacob with a fresh approach to the horse too.

MALAYA is a rather unpredictable mare, but I thought she ran quite well at Kempton last time, while leaving the impression that the track was too sharp and the ground a bit lively. This stiffer track and softer ground should suit in the handicap hurdle (3.00pm) and she’s been dropped a couple of pounds into the bargain, which looks quite generous. The stable jockey is back on and she gets the vote at 10/1.

MASTER TOMMYTUCKER can have his big day in the Ascot Chase (3.35pm). To my eye, he is one of the most exciting and talented chasers in training when he gets it all right and, although we know he can get a fence spectacularly wrong, there’s no doubt he’s still on the up. His time was sparkling at Kempton last time and, if anything, a greater test of stamina will suit, as will softer ground. His pedigree suggests he’ll gallop forever and if he gets into a rhythm, I suspect we might see something quite special here at 11/4. Expect him to let Cyrname know he’s in a race, which might be enough for Cyrname to give best.


THE TWO AMIGOS is a truly splendid animal and can gain due reward for his consistency by winning the Grand National Trial at Haydock (2.40pm) at 9/2. He had the misfortune to run into the best handicapped horse in training the last twice in Secret Reprieve and is quite lucky to have been raised only two pounds for that typically sterling effort in the Welsh National. James Bowen is a positive.


TACITUS has suckered me in one final time in the Saudi Cup in Riyadh (5.40pm). A thoroughly infuriating performer at the top level that invariably finds a way of getting beaten, he nonetheless represents some each-way appeal here at 12/1. First, there has to be a strong chance that he’ll benefit from the likely war between Knicks Go and Charlatan on the front end. On any normal day, I’d fancy that pair to stretch their speed at this distance, but the slow-mo finish of this race last year encourages me that a closer can prevail on this track. Furthermore, Tacitus looks a physically stronger and more imposing horse this season and can be right in the mix even if he improves only a shade on his creditable fifth last year.

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