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Cue Card to steal the show on Saturday

| 18.02.2017

The standout picks at Ascot

Ascot tops the bill on Saturday afternoon’s busy schedule, with a thrilling seven-race card getting started at 1.15pm. The Grade One Ascot Chase stands as the jewel in the crown, and Coral punters can back their winner here.

We take a look at the main event, in order to help uncover a profit, and also put forward a next best designed to boost up your returns.

Cue Card our ace

Due to post at 3.35pm, punters witness the renewal of the ever-popular Ascot Chase, a Grade One affair battled out over the two-miles five-furlongs trip. A tightly-packed six-runner field is expected to dispute Silviniaco Conti’s crown, with Nicholls and Fehily teaming up to good effect 12-months ago.

2013 winner Cue Card goes as the big name of the race this time out, and he has been supported by the early betting to continue his preparation for the Cheltenham Festival in March with another impressive win.

Colin Tizzard’s show-stopping 11-year-old returns to action following a runner-up finish behind Thistlecrack in the King George at Kempton on Boxing Day. Well beaten on that occasion, this represents a bit of a gamble by the yard as he steps back in trip, having run over three-miles for much of his recent career.

The team will be looking to sharpen Cue Card up for another crack at the Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase on the Friday, where he is expected to again lock-horns with rival Thistlecrack, who currently heads the ante-post betting for that spectacle. He fell three out last year, when going well, and they will be eager to fix that. A straight-forward win is expected here.

Nicky Henderson can also gain success with Lough Derg Spirit at Ascot.

Henderson looking to defend

Earlier on the schedule and the Grade Three Novices Chase, off at 1.50pm over two-miles seven-furlongs, looks a puzzle well-worth solving. Nicky Henderson banked the prize money last year with Vyta Du Roc, and that was the trainer’s third success in the last seven renewals.

He looks to defend through Laurium, who has already proven his worth over this trip. Last seen winning on his penultimate start at Exeter, trailing a chasing pack led by Sykes home by an impressive eight-lengths over three-miles, the drop-in trip shouldn’t worry. He should go at a decent price, and give backers a run for their money.

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Frank Monkhouse