With the Cheltenham Festival less than a month away, Ascot Chase Day was the last chance for Prestbury Park hopefuls to get their final preparations ahead of the four-day meeting. With anticipation at an all-time high as racegoers are set to return to Cheltenham Racecourse for the first time in two years next month, all eyes were on the Berkshire course, and not even Storm Eunice could ruin an exciting day of racing at Ascot.
Of course, there have been some major changes in Racing betting on Betdaq following the card, so let’s take a look at some of the market movers. Read on to find out more!
Does He Know – National Hunt Challenge Cup
It has been an interesting year thus far for the Kim Bailey-trained Does He Know. The seven-year-old beat Threeunderthrufive by over five lengths on his seasonal reappearance at Chepstow on October 8th and made it two wins in quick succession when he won a Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham by a comfortable 12 lengths around two weeks later.
Paul Nicholls’ Threeunderthrufive struck revenge back at Prestbury Park at the November Meeting, winning by just over four lengths, but Does He Know was straight back in the winner’s enclosure on his next outing at Ascot Chase Day — winning the Grade 2 Reynoldstown Novices’ Chase by 14 lengths.
The seven-year-old is now at odds of around 8/1, having previously been a 25/1 outsider, and with just one defeat all season he’ll certainly be well backed in the National Hunt Challenge Cut. However, he will face fierce competition from the likes of Stattler, Run Wild Fred, and the aforementioned Threeunderthrufive — who has since won successive Grade 2 contests.
Good Risk At All – Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle
It has been a case of so close yet so far for Good Risk At All, for the most part, this season. The Sam Thomas-trained horse went second in all three of his races prior to Ascot Chase Day, but it felt like that first win of the season was coming when he was beaten by only the neck of Barrichello at Warwick last month and he finally broke his duck at the royal racecourse in Berkshire.
Still fancied as the 6/4 favorite for the Handicap Hurdle despite being unable to prevail on his short-priced odds three times already this campaign, it was a fantastic run from the six-year-old and jockey Charlie Deutsch as they went clear on the run-in and stormed home with ease — beating Christopher Wood by a comfortable nine lengths in the two-mile, three-and-a-half-furlong race.
Trainer Thomas and jockey Deutsch, who only landed his first Grade 1 winner with L’Homme Presse earlier month, have never won a race at the Cheltenham Festival, so it would be great to see Good Risk At All romp home in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle. Slashed from 33/1 to 10/1, the six-year-old will face some seriously strong competition in day two’s opening race — with Sir Gerhard, who recently won the Ireland Novice Hurdle the one to beat.
Fakir D’oudairies – Ryanair Chase
Pundits and punters alike have been screaming out for some competition for Allaho in the Ryanair Chase and Fakir D’oudairies may have just proved that he can finally push the Willie Mullins-trained horse to the wire on St. Patrick’s Day as he held off Two For Gold to win the Grade 1, Ascot Chase, by almost two lengths.
The Joseph O’Brien-trained horse moved to 11/4 from around 12/1 after that success in Berkshire, but the hype of that Grade 1 victory might have played a major part in that shift as it’s worth noting that Allaho has thrashed Fakir D’ouadairies in their previous three encounters — winning by 12 lengths on two occasions, including in last year’s Ryanair Chase, and eight lengths in the Punchestown Chase in December.
It’s no surprise really that now the dust has settled on that top-grade triumph, the six-year-old has already moved back out to around 8/1. He, nor any other entry in the Ryanair Chase for that matter, will get anywhere near Rachael Blackmore and Allaho as they defend their Festival Trophy with ease.