Hot Threesome For Ascot

Muirhead looks pure gold at 8s

Muirhead did us a favour when winning the Munster National last time out and looks worth sticking with at 8/1 to follow-up in the feature race at Ascot today – the United House Gold Cup (3.40).

Noel Meade’s gelding won what on paper was a competitive contest with consummate ease, jumping well throughout before challenging on the bridle after the last and striding clear by 1 1/2 lengths from Bideford legend without being asked a serious question.

It was a top class effort given that it was just his fourth start over fences and a 15lb rise in the weights is unlikely to stop him going in again in race which should be run to suit.

He was not far off the best over hurdles and rated as high as 158 and his new mark of 147 over fences means that he is still potentially very well treated in that sphere.

The gelding clearly has bags more to offer, and given that he had enough class to chase home Khyber Kim at Aintree in 2010 and then finish fifth of 11 to Champion Hurdler Hurricane Fly at Punchestown in the same month it would be folly to ignore his outstanding claims in this contest.

His handler is also in terrific form, and there is plenty of guaranteed pace in the race which should set things up nicely for him to come from off the pace and pounce late on.

At 8/1 he looks an each-way steal.

Daily Sport recommended bet: 2pts each-way Muirhead (8/1 betfred – BOG, totesport)

 

9/1 Fontano worth a flutter

Fontano looks nicely treated in the opener at Ascot (1.55) and makes plenty of each-way appeal at 9/1.

Emma Lavelle’s five-year-old was a decent bumper horse and shaped with plenty of promise in his first season over hurdles when twice finishing second to useful types.

He ran a blinder when beaten 2 1/2 lengths by First In The Queue at Huntingdon back in March and then chased home Current Event at Newbury.

Although beaten 18 lengths that day the winner is an above average sort who is now rated 134 and the form reads well in the context of this race given that the selection gets in on a mark of 115.

That certainly looks workable to me, and the gelding shaped well on his comeback run when keeping on nicely to finish fifth of 10 to Dragon’s Den at Wincanton six days ago.

He was very keen that day but was not knocked about once it was clear he would not be winning, and the run will have blown away the cobwebs and put him spot on for this.

I had him priced up at around the 7/1 mark, so at the 9/1 available he looks tremendous value.

Daily Sport recommended bet: 2pts each-way Fontano (9/1 generally available – BOG firms)

 

Luz looks lovely at 8s

A Media Luz looks on a decent opening handicap mark in the 3.00 at Ascot and is definitely worth siding with at the 8/1 on offer.

Nicky Henderson’s filly was a decent sort on the level and finished 6th of 9 to Sarafina (beaten 11 1/2 lengths) in a Group 1 at Chatilly on her final start in that sphere.

She ran far too free when seventh of 12 to Sam Winner on her hurdling debut, but then put in a really solid effort when chasing home stable companion Grandouet at Newbury.

In her next race at Kempton she was travelling strongly and looked sure to collect when tipping up at the second last, and she made amends for that mishap when belatedly opening her account at Huntingdon on her next start.

She travelled really well that day and after leading three from home quickened clear without being asked a serious question to win easing down by 18 lengths.

Her inability to settle then resurfaced when she disappointed in graded races at the Cheltenham and Aintree festivals, but she clearly has bags of ability when things do go right and her opening mark of 132 could be on the lenient mark if connections have cured her tendency to pull.

She certainly couldn’t be in better hands and her astute handler has done well with her type in the past.

With Barry Geraghty in the saddle she looks good value to make the most of the lumps of weight she receives from the well-fancied Topolski and Kumbeshwar and get her season off to a winning start.

Daily Sport recommended bet: 2pts each-way A Media Luz (8/1 generally available – BOG firms)

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