Ascot Racecourse will stage its 2020 Betfair Ascot Chase Day on Saturday 15 February (weather permitting) and the crowds will be hoping England’s highest-rated chaser Cyrname can win a second Ascot Chase.
Other notable races on the card include the Sodexo Reynoldstown Novices’ Chase and the Keltbray Swinley Chase. Check out our trends, analysis, and tips for Betfair Ascot Chase Day.
Sodexo Reynoldstown Novices’ Chase (1.50)
This Grade 2 Chase is run over 2 miles 7 furlongs and 180 yards and six interesting horses are entered for the 2020 Reynoldstown Chase. No mare has won the race in the last decade, but Alsa Mix is hoping to add her name to the role of honour, despite being the lowest-rated horse in the field.
Copperhead is aiming to be the second consecutive 6-year-old to win the race for trainer Colin Tizzard but he’s taken an unusual route to this race by winning two handicaps and needs to find more improvement.
Danny Whizzbang aims to give Paul Nicholls a third winner of the race in eight years but the forecast heavy ground is a worry for this nice-moving type. Pym also needs to prove he handles ground that could right bottomless by the off. Two For Gold will handle the ground and has to be respected as his stable has hit form and this resolute galloper looks likely to stay four miles in time.
Sam Brown has impressed most of all though with his ability to thrive in heavy conditions. He’s shown the speed to win over 2½ miles in such conditions and the stamina to win over three and is fancied to win another big race for the stable of Antony Honeyball that is having a great season.
Tip: Sam Brown @ 3.50 Unibet
Keltbray Swinley Chase (2.25)
This Limited Class 1 Handicap takes place over the same trip as the Reynoldstown, so clock watchers will be comparing times after the race. The last eight winners have been rated between 138 and 150 and weight has proved no barrier to success.
Having said that, the topweight Ballyoptic needs to defy a mark of 157. He was in excellent form earlier in the season, but four tough races may have taken the edge off him. This looks a big step-up in grade for the bottom four horses Jepeck, Like The Sound, Captain Drake, and Red Indian and they all need to up their games.
Domaine De L’Isle can’t be discounted after winning his last three on testing ground. He won last time at Ascot over shorter, but has won at this trip, and it’s just whether he can defy another 6lb rise in a higher grade. Valtor also can’t be discounted off just a 2lb higher mark than when winning over course and distance last season and he may improve now the Grand National weights are out.
Regal Encore has already done us one favour this season and I see no reason to desert him here. He’s won off a mark as high as 150 and he’s won twice and placed three times from 6 runs over course and distance. One of those wins came off a mark of 142 last time and 146 looks a mark he could win off again under his optimum conditions.
Tip: Regal Encore (Each-Way) @ 7.50 Unibet
Betfair Ascot Chase (3.35)
This Grade 1 Chase has a stunning role of honour and Cyrname will be looking to add his name to the list of horses that have won it twice. Just three horses are set to take him on and Gary Moore, trainer of Traffic Fluide suggested his horse should look at Cyrname’s backside at the start as that’s as close as he’ll get to it.
Janika won the Haldon Gold Cup first time out but he’s not looked as good as connections hoped he would be in two chases over two miles and a hurdle race since. The step back up in trip to 2 miles 5 furlongs and 8 yards should help, but it will be disappointing if he can topple the reigning champ.
Despite being rated 2lb less than Janika, Riders Onthe Storm is second favourite and that’s because the form of the 7-year-old has been on a steep upward curve this season. He won well over course and distance last time and it will be interesting to see if he can take this step up in grade in his stride before a possible tilt at the Cheltenham Festival.
Cyrname simply looks head and shoulders above his rivals and, though he needs to put a disappointing performance behind him in the King George, this is the course and distance over which he’s recorded some amazing figures. He front-runs and the others simply shouldn’t catch him.