16th February 2018
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….
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….
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.
A few tidbits to keep you occupied between races at the weekend….
That’s all from me this week. Enjoy your weekend.
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