Teaplanter previews Saturday's card at Ascot and his bets include the Henry Candy trained Perestroika and David Wachman trained Torcedor.
Ascot 2;30 - Perestroika
Sign of a Victory is all the race for this handicap and there are clear arguments to be made that he is well handicapped on the flat off a mark of 88 compared to his hurdles rating of 150. However he has not exactly been exciting in top company over hurdles this season and we are certainly being asked to assume that he is quite a bit better than his rating if we are to take 15/8.
Duretto has solid course form and could improve again this season, but the ground might be on the fast side, while both Forever Popular and King Bolete looked to be in the grip of the handicapper last season, although clearly the former has scope to improve and is very much respected.
We will however side with the Henry Candy trained Perestroika. This daughter of Sir Percy was kept away from top handicap company last season and gradually learned her trade in Class 5 and Class 4 contests at Windsor. She was then asked to compete in the Shergar Cup and off a rating of 84 she ran an absolute blinder to be beaten just under a length by Shell Bay after being set a huge task coming widest of all around the bend and being asked to come from the back of the field. She has been raised 4lb for that effort, but she has plenty of scope to improve and her trainer has been banging in a few winners recently so the stable form is a positive. Her rider is reasonable value for is 5lb claim as well and she looks a decent each way bet here at 12/1 with Betway.
1 point each way Perestroika at 12/1 with Betway
Ascot 3:05 - Torcedor
Oriental Fox heads the betting for this contest, but the trip of 12 furlongs looks some way short of his best and he makes limited appeal.
Scotland was last seen when finishing 6th in the Ascot Gold Cup and this may well be acting as a warm up for that contest, even if he is a far from certain stayer in the Ladies Day showpiece event.
Elite Army still has the scope to develop in a pattern performer, but has to confirm he retains his ability after being off the track for nearly a year and the horse that we like at the prices is the David Wachman trained Torcedor. The son of Fastnet Rock was a progressive handicapper last season and ran very well on his final start when he was just denied by Zannda at Leopardstown in October. He made an encouraging reappearance when he ran as though the race was needed at Limerick last month. He was settled at the rear of the field for much of the race and did not enjoy the clearest of passages in the home straight, nor was subjected to the most vigorous of rides. That run should have brought him on plenty and with the ground not likely to pose any problems and with doubts about many of the field in terms of well being and the trip, he is worth a small interest here at 9/2.
1 point win Torcedor at 9/2 with Paddy Power, Bet365 and Skybet