Ascot tips for Saturday: Consul De Thaix and Fletchers Flyer among value bets
Coral horse racing experts give their Ascot tips for December 17, Long Walk Hurdle and Silver Cup day; with Consul De Thaix odds, In The Rough each-way, Unowhatimeanharry and Fletchers Flyer bets all fancied this Saturday.
Consul De Thaix odds say he’s weighted to strike in Wessex
Consul De Thaix ran a stormer when runner-up on seasonal reappearance, so looks decent value to go one better and land the valuable Wessex Youth Trust Handicap Hurdle on a cracking card at Ascot (15:35).
This gelding finished runner-up at Auteuil on his sole outing in France and ran really well on debut for Nicky Henderson when third of six to Protek Des Flos in a Grade 2 at Cheltenham.
After being held-up in touch, he made headway two from home and held every chance on the run-in before being unable to find any extra and beaten three lengths.
The form has a strong look, as the runner-up Clan de Obeaux is now rated 139 over hurdles and 152 over fences and the fourth home Who Dares Wins is now rated 149.
Consul De Thaix then found the Grade 1 Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival too hot to handle when finishing 10th, but the fact that he was pitched into that contest on just his second start for Henderson shows he is clearly held in high regard.
Further improvement on the cards
The four-year-old was allotted a handicap mark of 132 on the back of those efforts, and shaped as if ahead of it when a second of 10 to Brain Power at Sandown two weeks ago.
After a bad mistake at the first, Consul De Thaix made stealthy headway from off the pace to close all the way to the line and be beaten just 3/4 of a length.
It was a cracking effort and he now meets the winner on 4lb better terms.
That should be enough for Consul De Thaix to turn the tables and, although now 3lb higher in the weights, he remains unexposed and open to any amount of improvement for a yard going great guns at present.
In The Rough each-way an appealing play
In the Rough disappointed last time out, but looks worth another chance to show he is on a handy mark in the 2m 2f handicap chase (13:50).
The Jonjo O’Neill trained seven-year-old was a useful hurdler rated 140 at his peak, who is able to race off a chase mark of just 135.
In The Rough is also unexposed over the larger obstacles after six starts, winning on his final outing last season before shaping with plenty of promise on return to action when third of 12 to Carrigdhoun at Carlisle.
He travelled strongly into the latter and held every chance at the before being unable to find any extra to be beaten just over five lengths.
It was an effort which suggested In The Rough was ahead of the assessor and, although pulled-up last time out at Newbury that run was too bad to be true, the stable is now in better form. At the odds on offer, In The Rough looks worth an each-way punt to bounce back.
Unowhatimeanharry to floor Long Walk Hurdle rivals
In the Grade 1 JLT Long Walk Hurdle (14:25), the ultra-progressive Unowhatimeanharry looks a worthy favourite to land the 3m contest.
Trained by Harry Fry, the gelding was a revelation last season when unbeaten in five starts and looked better than ever on return to action when landing the the Grade 2 Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury.
Unowhatimeanharry is a leading fancy for the 2017 World Hurdle on the back of that success and looks to have a perfect profile for this contest. Read more about his credentials in our individual race tips piece.
Fletchers Flyer bets best for the Silver Cup
Fletchers Flyer progressed well throughout last season and looks worth a bet at the price on offer to make a winning return to action in the valuable Silver Cup Handicap Chase (15:00).
The Harry Fry trained eight-year-old shaped with plenty of promise to make the frame in his first three starts over the larger obstacles before rounding off the campaign with a cracking win in a valuable and ultra-competitive 17-runner handicap at the Punchestown Festival.
Fletchers Flyer raced prominently throughout and, after leading at the last, dug deep and found plenty for pressure to beat Forever Gold by 2 1/2 lengths.
It was a most taking performance and, although now 8lb higher in the weights, the gelding remain unexposed after just four starts over fences.
A revised mark of 146 should not be beyond him, given that he was rated 143 over hurdles when finishing runner-up in a Grade 2 contest.
Ascot tips for Saturday, December 17
12.40: Wylde Magic
13.15: Top Notch
13.50: In The Rough (E/W)
15.00: Fletchers Flyer (NB)
15.35: Consul De Thaix (NAP)