Another fantastic weekend of horse racing is upon us and the highlight comes from the seven race card at Ascot starting at 1:20pm.
Four of the races from the royal track will be covered on ITV, including the feature Grade One Betfair Ascot Chase. Here, we’ll preview those four races that are being broadcast live on national television and provide our expert opinion to try and find the most likely winners.
Keep reading for our Saturday 18th February preview of Ascot races.
1:50 – Bateaux London Reynoldstown Novices’ Chase
The live action at Ascot kicks off with this fascinating Grade 2 chase run over 3 miles. Nicky Henderson saddles the market leader Bold Endeavour for this one and the 7 year old has a pretty decent chance going off his straightforward wins at Leicester and Doncaster recently. The most likely challenger comes in the form of Dan Skelton’s 7 year old bay mare Galia Des Liteaux who, despite being officially rated better than the market leader, is 2lbs well in thanks to the mare’s allowance.
2:25 – LK Bennett Swinley Handicap Chase
A very trappy looking 3 mile handicap chase is the second televised race from the royal race course and it’s an interesting puzzle to solve. Fortesque won this last year, however he’s done little since to suggest he will replicate that performance. Sporting John showed some great promise early on, but has never managed to live up to expectations. Danny Kirwin is one at a short price who also looks likely to be in the frame for trainer Paul Nicholls. While, near the foot of the weights, Cap Du Nord could be well enough in to land a decent prize.
3:00 – Ascot Racecourse Supports Box4Kids Handicap Hurdle
A wide open handicap hurdle could go the way of Irish Hill. The Paul Nicholls trained 5 year old has put in some really good efforts and comes here on a hattrick. Homme Public has run into some useful sorts of late, but was still able to get his head in front at Huntington last time out and comes here on an upward trajectory. He’s had the reopposing Whizz Kid and Too Friendly behind him recently and poses a decent threat here. Thibault is the rank outsider of the field, but returns to the trip that saw his last win in May 2022, he could worth an each way punt at a hefty price.
3:35 – Betfair Ascot Chase
Six runners line up for the 2023 renewal of the Ascot Chase and it’s Fakir D’oudairies who heads up the market for Saturday’s feature race. Joseph O’Brien’s 8 year old won this race 12 months ago and aims to retain his crown before having a tilt at the Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival next month. The one entry that really catches the eye is the mighty Shiskin. Nicky Henderson’s superstar has not been his best this season, but a win here could galvanise him just in time for next month’s festival. It’s going to be a fascinating renewal as two of the best two milers clash.