The pick of the prices in the Ascot Chase....

Last Updated: 16.02.2018

16th February 2018

The pick of the prices in the Ascot Chase….

It is not very often that this column focuses outside the handicap division….

But we are nothing if not flexible and pragmatic….

When there’s value available in a conditions race, and nothing really appealing in any of the handicaps, we will focus on the conditions race – and make no apology for doing so….

We go where the prices are and tomorrow the price we like is found in the Betfair Ascot Chase at Ascot (3.35)….

A field of 7-runners goes to post for the G1 2m5f contest on ground described this afternoon as soft.

We’ll get to my selection for tomorrow’s race in a moment….

First a quick word on an additional value bet I’ll be placing tomorrow….

  • The value in the Grand National trial….

Blaklion is all the rage for tomorrow’s Grand National Trial up at Haydock….

Last year’s 4th in the Grand National returned to Aintree in December to win the Becher Chase in impressive fashion and he’s currently the jolly at 10s for the big one back at Aintree in April....

He’s done nothing but progress for 12-months and more, he’s got the numbers logged in the book and – despite having to give plenty of weight all round tomorrow – he’s the one to beat....

But the role of ATC is not to put-up the obvious contenders or to follow the market money. Our job is to find the horse at the wrong price. Tomorrow we’re taking on the money-horse with one poised to outrun a big price....

You can get immediate access to this extra bet on the website when you take a FREE 14-day test drive of my Against the Crowd service….

Pick up my value bet for tomorrow’s Grand National Trial....

  • The pick of the prices….

The bet I like in tomorrow’s target race is Paul Nicholls’s FRODON at 10s with Ladbrokes….

Nicholls has little option but to pitch his 6yo into his first G1 assignment with the horse having gone up to a mark of 164 following a 17-length victory in a G3 handicap at Cheltenham….

It was a coming-of-age performance – accomplished despite carrying top weight – and the  horse is clearly in the form of his life….

Tomorrow he gets two variables that are very much in his favor – testing ground and an Ascot track where he’s produced a couple of good performances….

The time before last at the track, he was beaten 10-lengths by Top Notch who re-opposes tomorrow and trades at no better than 2s….

On the evidence of that run, Frodon has plenty to find. But my feeling is that the horse has improved markedly since then. And that improvement coincides with Bryony Frost taking the ride on the horse.

She really got a tune out of the horse at Cheltenham and she gets the ride again tomorrow. She can’t claim her 5lb allowance in a G1 but her presence in the plate tells you something about the faith Nicholls has in her.

Stepping up to G1 out of handicaps is never easy. But if the horse reproduces his Cheltenham performance, then he’s in the mix. If he progresses again, there’s no reason he can’t prove himself a proper player at the top table.

There are no guarantees. It’s a hot race. But the 10s is a fair price about a young chaser who has found his feet and might still have more to show.

In tomorrow’s Betfair Ascot Chase (Ascot, 3.35)….

FRODON @ 10s (Ladbrokes)

Place terms of 1/4 1-2 make no appeal to me. I’ll be betting win only. But if you want to play for the place, don’t let me put you off. Your call.

Get the latest odds here >>

  • In case you missed it….

A few tidbits to keep you occupied between races at the weekend….

  • So, farewell to Liam Treadwell who retires form the sport aged 32 – having lost ‘a bit of purpose drive and ambition...’  His last 3243 rides produced 326 winners at 10.1% and a 490.3-point loss for backers. His big moment came in 2009 when riding 100/1 shot Mon Mome to victory in the Grand National. Enjoy that race again here....
  • ‘Bet now!’ said bet365 ambassador Ray Winstone. But he won’t be saying it again. The bet365 adverts urging punters to throw good money at bad value bets will live on but the language and tone must change. So say the Committee of Advertising Practice. They’re concerned betting isn’t the urgent pre-requisite bet365 and Winstone believe it to be. Details here....
  • On publication of the Grand National weights, punters expected more words between Michael O’Leary and BHA handicapper Phil Smith. It didn’t happen. ‘I’ve gone through the weights and they are as they should be. Unlike last year we have absolutely no complaints,’ says O’Leary. There’s clearly a first time for everything. Get the Grand National weights here....
  • On my ATC service, we’ve been digging into all the angles and pointers that might bear fruit in the handicaps at next month’s Cheltenham Festival. We’ve been looking at yards and riders to follow along with potent field-splitting stats from the historic record. One specific field-splitter is of particularly significance. Get the lowdown….

That’s all from me this week. Enjoy your weekend.

P.S

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Nick Pullen

Against the Crowd Extra