1st April 2012, 1:46am
Ascot Betting: Cois Farraig can keep Webber's run going at Ascot
Ascot 4.05: AP Security Handicap Chase (Class 3) (2m3f)
Only seven runners line up for the Class 3 Handicap Chase at Ascot on Sunday but six of them can all be given a chance in this competitive little race. Cool Friend is just the market leader at 3/1 with Bet 365 but to be honest any of four could start favourite by off time.
Cool Friend came back to form last time out and you can see why he's fancied to follow up, he was second to the very useful Hunt Ball at Kempton and then won at Sandown from Aldertune and now races here off just 5lbs more and is clearly in good heart at present for trainer Jeremy Scott. My only slight doubt would be the track, he's a galloper and sometimes you need a bit of pace around here on good ground.
Top weight is Fix The Rib, he's been tumbling down the handicap at an alarming rate and started the season on a mark of 146, he races here off just 129 and has performed well at Ascot twice previously. He's a front runner and didn’t run too badly at Kempton in January before flopping last time when he couldn’t get the lead, that run is best ignored and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him up there in this company. Ferdy Murphy sends Riguez Dancer down from the North and he has booked AP McCoy to ride him which is an interesting combination, his last three runs have been over longer trips and hasn’t been competitive. On his best form last season he has every chance but he's not for me in his present mood. The same remark applies to Schindlers Gold, he hasn’t troubled the judges since last June and was well beaten at Cheltenham last time.
Colin Tizzard's Inside Dealer is a consistent sort and his handicap mark hasn’t really changed in the last twelve months as a result, I can see him running well once again but needs a little respite from the handicapper to get his head in front and is on a losing run of eleven now. Safari Journey is getting plenty of help from the handicapper as his rating has dropped 18lbs since November, he's also on a long losing run and last won around here back in October 2010. He will certainly like the conditions but whether he's in the form to take advantage of it is another thing. The last one to look at is Cois Farraig trained by the in form Paul Webber, he's the least exposed of the runners having had only three handicap races and started the season off by running over three miles, last time out he was stepped back in trip and was sixth to Cool Friend at Sandown beaten 24 lengths, he's only 9lbs better off so has to improve but has time on his side being a 7yo and will like the ground.
It's a real puzzle and the form horse is definitely Cool Friend but at the odds I would sooner take a chance on Cois Farraig to turn the tables and he represents a bit of value. Fix The Rib has been given every chance here and could come back to form and is worth a saver.
2pts Cois Farraig 15/2 Paddy Power
1pt Fix The Rib 4/1 Bet365
Author: Graham Sarson