Stick With Harry At Ascot
Ascot treats us to some top class pre-Christmas fare on Saturday afternoon and a big handicap to finish it off where one apprentice will try to replicate his master.
Murphy calls on Jack
Hunters Call will make his debut for Olly Murphy in the concluding Racing Welfare Handicap Hurdle and for me he is a fascinating inclusion in the race.
Murphy has graduated from being Gordon Elliott’s assistant for a number of seasons to making a fine start to his own training career.
While this is the biggest challenge he has faced yet in winning a race of this nature,
Hunters Call could actually be a horse that has a nice low weight and could outrun his odds of 14/1 with Jack Kennedy a notable jockey booking.
Given Kennedy’s position with Gordon Elliott you could imagine that Murphy was on the phone early to his old boss to secure the services of the rider. While Murphy’s opening few months have produced plenty of winners with horses from other yards, this is a notch higher again but he didn’t go around with his eyes closed in Co. Meath and you can be sure that Hunters Call is ready to run the race of his life.
Last time out at Sligo he ran a fine race behind the throw-in Ben Button and there’s pockets of form there to suggest that he’s up to this sort of grade off this mark. A 14/1 shot would be nice before Christmas indeed!
Stick with Harry
One at a much shorter price at Ascot today is Unowhatimeanharry and I think it’s best side with him to win even though he is only 15/8 for the Long Walk Hurdle.
At the start of the season I’d have suggested that he’s still the best three-miler around but there’s no doubt that he blotted his copybook and probably proved that he’s not up to the standard I’d have believed when going down to Beer Goggles
but I still think he can come out on top here.
The Worlds End never looked like taking advantage of a nice handicap mark at Haydock last month. Lil Rockerfeller has to turn around four and a half lengths with Unowhatimeanharry from this race last year although he did finish in front of the selection at Cheltenham but was comprehensively beaten at Punchestown.
Thomas Campbell is progressing but this is a major step up and it would be a surprise if he can follow up his win off a lenient mark at Cheltenham last time to beat some of these battle hardened campaigners.
There’s holes to be picked in most of the nine runners but Unowhatimeanharry is still left with the best of the form and should be trusted to come out on top.
Unowhatimeanharry (7/4) – 2.25 Ascot
Hunters Call (14/10 – 3.35 Ascot
*Prices correct at time of publication