The Grade-1 Ascot Chase (Saturday 3.35) was first run in 1995, and is currently run over 2-miles 5½-furlongs and 17 fences.
Winners in the last 10-years have been aged between 7 and 12, whilst no trainer or jockey has dominated the race in recent years, though Philip Hobbs and Richard Johnson teamed-up with Captain Chris to win the 2014 renewal.
3 horses have won the race twice, Tiutchev (2001 and 2003), Monet’s Garden (2007 and 2010) and Riverside Theatre (2011 and 2012) – and this year Cue Card is aiming to become the fourth dual winner.
6-runners are set to go to post for the 2017 Betfair Ascot Chase.
The 2013 winner is 9lb clear on the ratings and, at his best, he would eat this lot for breakfast. However, the fact he has won just once going right-handed from his last 8 attempts is a big negative, and that included a lacklustre run in the King George last-time. He also hasn’t raced over a trip this short since April 2015.
Was receiving 4lb when proving over 3-lengths too good for Cue Card in this season’s Charlie Hall Chase, though Cue Card often needs his first run of the season. Has form over this trip going right-handed, and could put it up to the favourite even though he would prefer better ground.
Runs better at Ascot that anywhere else and, despite being well-beaten in last year’s renewal, his win from Kylemore Lough and God’s Own here earlier in the season means he demands respect.
Ready winner of a Cheltenham Handicap this season off a mark of 149, but could only manage fourth off 156 when returning there last time. Another who would prefer better ground, and doesn’t look good enough on the balance of his form.
Taquin De Seuil
The second highest-rated horse on 161 after winning the BetVictor Gold Cup off a mark of 156, and plenty of horses in behind that day have franked the form. This trip on soft ground should be his ideal conditions and, though he’s seldom been asked to race right-handed, he did run My Tent Or Your to 1¾-lengths here over hurdles once (giving him 5lb).
Beaten pointless by Altior over 2-miles at Newbury last week, but easily forgiven that run after 13-months off the track. Definitely has possibilities on his close third in last season’s Clarence House Chase over 2-miles here, though you’re gambling on him having the sufficient stamina for this test.
2017 Betfair Ascot Chase Summary
Victory for the classy Cue Card would come as no shock, but his form going right-handed and the drop back in trip might just leave him vulnerable. Taquin De Seuil looks a worthy second favourite and, with trip and ground ideal, he could just give the favourite something to think about with the Jonjo O’Neill stable looking like it’s about to burst into form.
2017 Betfair Ascot Chase Tip
Taquin De Seuill – Each-Way @ 8/1 (Bet365)