Ascot preview: Ladbroke Handicap Hurdle (15.35)
David Metcalf | December 18, 2015
Jolly’s Cracked It has an excellent record at Ascot and can take advantage of what looks a handy mark to further enhance it with victory in the Ladbroke Handicap Hurdle (15.35).
The Harry Fry Trained gelding started last season in fine form when landing a brace of contests over course and distance in good style, despite making some novice jumping errors on both occasions.
Jolly’s Cracked It then chased home the very smart L’ami Serge in the Grade 1 Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown, before running a blinder to finish fifth of 23 to Violet Dancer in the ultra-competitive Betfair Hurdle at Newbury off a mark of 140.
Punters who pile on Jolly’s may have Cracked It
The six-year-old also ran better than his finishing position suggests when ninth of 21 to Killultagh Vic in the 2m 5f Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap at the Cheltenham Festival, challenging two from home before weakening over a trip which was clearly too far.
Although Jolly’s Cracked It was then not at his best on the final start of the campaign when a well-beaten fifth in a Grade 2 contest at Aintree, that may have been one run too many and the son of Astrabad shaped really well on seasonal reappearance last month when staying on strongly to finish a 3/4 length third to Nabucco over course and distance.
Jolly’s Cracked It was gaining all the way to the line, and it was an effort which suggested his current mark of 141 was exploitable.
That run should have put him spot on for this and, with Noel Fehily in the saddle, everything looks in place for a huge run.
Sternrubin is a shout, Massagot could be the Winner
There are plenty of dangers in a wide-open contest, and Sternrubin and Winner Massagot look big players.
The latter has always been held in high regard by trainer Alan King and was very impressive when scooting clear to beat Rayvin Black by 2 1/2 lengths over course and distance last month.
Winner Massagot has been hit with a 12lb rise for that victory, but the four-year-old remains unexposed after just five starts and looks the type who should have plenty more to offer.
The four-year-old won as he liked on his final start of last season at Exeter and picked up where he left off at Newbury three weeks ago when making all to score easily by four lengths in a decent class 1 contest.
A 6lb rise in the weights looks more than fair given the manner in which Sternrubin got the job done, and the gelding looks sure to make a bold bid to land the hat-trick.
Coral’s top tip: Jolly’s Cracked It has plenty going form him in a fiercely competitive renewal of the Ladbroke, so looks worth a wager to enhance his fine record at the track.