A Grade 2 novices' chase with six runners is the main race of the day at Ascot and was won by the highly regarded Ptit Zig last year.
Junction Fourteen for Emma Lavelle has taken to chasing really well and comes here hoping to complete a hat trick of wins. He won on his chasing debut at Uttoxeter and followed that up with an impressive win at Wincanton beating Arpege D'alene by over four lengths. That form took a bit of a knock when Arpege D'alene was pulled up at Newbury yesterday, however this is still a horse that looks to have plenty going for him.
Harry Fry runs Thomas Brown who was a comfortable winner on his only chase start thus far. He was heavily odds on that day and it doesn't appear that he beat great deal with the three rivals he faced. This will be a big step up in class for him, although he did jump really well from the front that day and he has the stamina to staying further than today's trip, therefore if he gets an easy lead the others may find it hard work to peg him back.
Our Sam won a couple of hurdles races before being deemed good enough to run in the Albert Bartlett at Cheltenham in March. He fell that day half way around so not much could be gleaned from it and then followed that up with a reasonable sixth placed finish in a competitive hurdles race at Carlisle where he was the clear favourite. He makes his chasing debut today and on his best hurdles form he would have a chance. His jumping is sure to be really tested though and any mistake will be compounded if the pace set by Thomas Brown is a generous one.
Killala Quay won a beginners chase at Uttoxeter when odds on before finishing a very distant fourth in a good novices' chase at Newbury. He led for quite a bit of the race that day before fading away rather quickly so the drop back in trip today is sure to help. Today will be his seventh start over fences with just the one win and I think he may find a few of these too strong for him.
Amore Alato has had two chases so far and on what he has shown in both of those he would have an awful lot to find to even be involved at the business end of proceedings.
Paul Nicholls saddled the winner last year and I fancy him to do the same again today with Le Mercury. He was a useful enough hurdler and was well supported in the Martin Pipe at Cheltenham in March where he finished seventh. He made his chasing debut at Plumpton in November where he was a very easy winner and the extra two furlongs here today look sure to suit him even more given the way he finished that race. He is an exciting addition to the chasing ranks and as a five year old there could be an awful lot of improvement to come, therefore I think he is the stand out bet today and should take this race comfortably.
Ascot 14:30 - Le Mercury - 3 points @ 9/4 (Most firms)